Wednesday, September 28, 2011
Ruth upcycled our old chest of drawers. The handles are extras from our kitchen and I think added the perfect finish.
Her 1920's wrought iron bed. I love the original light. Notice the picture by Slovly.
Another upcycle project. This was a plywood work table we picked up at a garage sale. She decoupaged the top and added a bright coat of paint-or two.
Our friend, and legendary tattooer, Terry Tweed painted this for her. She was the tattooed lady in a parade when she was 4. (Her middle name is Magnolia.)
This represents a new era in parenthood for us; teenager. I am surprised to discover I actually enjoy and relate most to her at this age.
(We told her she has to cover the bong with a sticker or something.)
So there you have it, Ruth's room.
Saturday, September 24, 2011
I have been wearing this dress a lot this summer. It has been my summer 'go to' dress, cool and comfy. What I'd like to share with you is this; a dress is the absolute easiest thing to wear and gets the best results. I'm a busy and sometimes lazy mama, so for me there is nothing better. I took the above picture when I got home from the grocery store. I have on no lipstick and my hair is simply in a pony tail. BUT while at the grocery store (3 times in 4 days) someone complimented me. They didn't compliment my dress (it wasn't this one each time) but instead told me I looked beautiful. My point is not to brag- (I know it was the dress they noticed not me) my point is to show what a difference a dress can make.
There is another funny thing. One of the stores I was at is one I refer to as a self esteem booster as I am usually one of the few not in pajamas.
So just a little reminder if you have a dress-wear it!
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
This is me 5 minutes before guests arrive. Our house is shoe free so I really should invest in a cute pair of slippers.
We don't serve alcohol at our parties. But I always like to have a glass before everyone gets here. shhh, don't tell.
Tofu skewers in rooster sauce marinade.
The rain caused us to move the bbq from the soggy yard to the driveway.
Our girls baked and served dessert-Pie shop style
I snatched these off my niece's instagram. Love the candidness.
The kitchen is where it is at.
The Deluxe Tattoo Parlor bbq. We want the guys and their families to feel like a part of ours and food and opening our home is the best way we have found.
Monday, September 19, 2011
My girls always want to help in the kitchen. They are never too young.
Dotty came in while I was making dinner and I needed to come up with ways she could work along side of me.
Adding cucumbers to the salad
Buttering bread for toasting (notice the bites)
This was my favorite and completely spontaneous-breaking spaghetti noodles and putting them in a bowl
Sunday, September 18, 2011
It is rare that I post about food gone wrong. Is this because it doesn't happen? Nope. It happens. Often. The above are two recent examples. The first is a lemon meringue pie. We made two, one for the picnic we were invited to and one for my mom. We are pictured on our way to deliver the pie to Grandma. Good thing we cut a piece for my mom because it saved me from taking the runniest filling ever to the picnic. It was like slime. So we ran by the market and picked up a dessert to take. Not exactly what I like to show up with after hours in the kitchen but...
The second was from today. We had a BBQ for the guys who work for us at the shop. I thought 'salsa', I'll make salsa. After all I have a wonderful food processor I got for a Christmas gift. Can you say "over processed"?! It was more like a Mexican take on gazpacho. I had made A LOT. So I hand chopped a few tomatoes added some of the 'salsa' to them and it was a go-although the flavor was quite weak. Let's just say no one complimented me on it.
My point is, when it comes to cooking I win some and I lose some. It wouldn't be fair to only share the winners.
Friday, September 16, 2011
My Gracie is such the poser!
It is beginning to feel like Fall. If you know me you aren't surprised my favorite part of each season involves food. We jumped right in and baked pumpkin bread last week as the perfect back to school breakfast treat. This is a family recipe that just happens to be vegan. (which does not translate healthy) I LOVE this bread! It may well be my favorite all time food. Many have baked pumpkin bread for me once they learn of my pumpkin crush. I always feel bad because it never even compares to ours. Family recipes are like that aren't they?
4 cups sugar (we started using raw for our favorite vegan)
1 cup oil
5 cups flour
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. cloves
3/4 tsp. salt
3 tsp. baking soda
1 large can pumpkin (I prefer the consistency of canned to fresh for baking. Libby's is the brand to use.)
You can add raisins, craisins, nuts and our personal fave chocolate chips
Combine sugar and oil
mix dry ingredients and add alternately with pumpkin to sugar and oil
Bake at 350 degrees for 1hr and 15min. or until toothpick comes out clean
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Papa and I go out for coffee often. We love our local and independent cafe that has coffee tables, couches, and games for the girls. It is like the comfort of home with friends popping in and out to say hello. Here I am one day last week going out for coffee.
Do you notice anything unusual in the above picture? I am wearing earrings! That is very rare. I had my ears pierced when I was younger and whenever I left my earrings out for more than a day or two the holes would close. Having to basically re pierce my ears each time I wanted to wear earrings was a hassle and I soon gave up. So now it is the occasional and uncomfortable clip on pair. The necklace and earrings were my moms when she and my dad met- early 60's.
I also wanted to show you this adorable charm bracelet I purchased on our recent trip to Laura Ingalls Wilder's home. There is a charm house for each one she lived in with the city name on the bottom. I just love it. The green bangle is bakelite that Papa bought me because he thought it matched my eyes. I love it for that reason more than it's beauty.
Saturday, September 10, 2011
I have found a wonderful much more positive time sucker-Pinterest! I am having a lot of fun there. It's similar to Tumblr, minus the porn, and -bonus! you can easily pin from anywhere you are online. Best of all, it is just me and eye candy- so it never brings me down. If you are there, you can find me here. I don't have much pinned yet and I'd love to see what you have.
Friday, September 9, 2011
Our oldest daughter being fourteen means we have had our kitchen set up for children for quite awhile. So long I no longer think about it, until someone comes over and begins looking for a plate. The first thing I recommend in creating a Montessori friendly kitchen is to remove any unsafe tools from a child's reach. Sharp things, poisonous things, things you would be devastated were they to get broken. As you see the children are allowed to use sharp items with supervision and we have red tape marking a 'do not enter' space in front of the stove.
Next create a space for the items your child uses, silverware, plates, bowls, cups etc.. and place them on a low shelf or drawer. Do the same for food items, table setting needs and tools the child needs for clean up. You can see in this picture the cups are next to the water dispenser (yes, I have an earthen ware one, but we prefer Hello Kitty) On the next shelf is everything the girls need to make pancake batter, another time it might be muffins. On the bottom shelf are the cloth napkins for setting the table.
Washing dishes is another favorite toddler activity. (Again remove all the knives.) We really love our learning tower stool for this as the sink is too high to reach with a traditional step stool. Although our children out grew the tower by about 3 years old I still think they are a good investment. You can check them out here http://littlepartners.com/
Remember when your child washes dishes you more than likely will need to rewash them. Please do this when your child isn't present.
I will talk more about kitchen preparedness is future post.
Wednesday, September 7, 2011
Not only is Blueberries for Sal one of my favorite children's books, the mother in the story has a style I love. As fall approaches I begin to think of cardigans, Pendleton skirts and loafers as perfect mom attire. I plan to hit up a few thrift stores here in town to freshen up my fall wardrobe.
Written in 1948, it reflects classic timelessness. If you haven't had the pleasure of reading this book I highly recommend you check it out. Here in the Pacific Northwest blueberries are everywhere this time of year making it the perfect time to re-read Blueberries For Sal.
Tuesday, September 6, 2011
It occurs to me that I haven't answered the question of why I homeschool our children. Not only have I not answered it on my blog, I have always had a hard time putting it into words. I am going to attempt to do that now.
First let me tell you what homeschooling is for us. The activities of our family are the foundation of our girl's education. This education that began at birth fostered in an environment of love and caring (for oneself and the world). Our home environment is carefully prepared, created to be rich artistically, culturally and scientifically. The world outside of our door was also created to foster curiosity and if you yield to that curiosity and spend time exploring it, education happens. Education that is not forced but rather is a result of living. Living and learning should not be separated. I in no way wish to recreate school in our home.
I have yet to find my niche within the homeschooling world. Some people think I homeschool because we follow Jesus. No. That doesn't make sense to me because as Christians we are to live in the world not create our own little bubble. I do not use 'curriculum'. (the stringent time schedules and demands of certain popular curriculum sets I believe is the downfall to many a homeschooling moms) We are not unschoolers in the truest since of the word. My children attended Montessori preschool. Having children attend preschool isn't the homeschooling norm-I am actually surprised at the amount of blogs dedicated to homeschooling preschoolers. My oldest daughter chose to go to public school in the 6th grade. We compromised on this because she was accepted into a small, wonderful, arts magnet school very close to home. (Another time I will address this transition for her.)
Okay so why? Why do we homeschool? We chose to homeschool because I have no faith in the public school system. I do not agree with 'No Child Left Behind' or what it has created in its' wake. I put very little on standardized testing-although state law requires my children to be tested each year. Historically public schooling is a relatively new concept begun with wonderful intentions, but it has gone off track. It is my belief that parents are genetically designed to nurture and educate their children and children to learn from their parents.
My children are very social and can and do interact with people of all ages. Well meaning family members have asked how they will be prepared for the 'real world' with out school. It is a ridiculous question because the real world is not socializing with only people your own age in a competitive and rewards based environment that you have no choice but to attend. Public schooling focuses on social behavior where we focus on social development.
All this said the main reason I homeschool is that I want my children to be cared for and about. In turn I want them to care for and about others. I do not see much of that in schools. I read an article recently about the socialization of school age children. It was so bothersome to me! The article suggested peer rejection is caused by the rejected child's "social skill deficits" or "behavior problems" and gave parents tips on how to help their child become more socially accepted. It was basically coaching you on how to get your child to conform to whatever the norm happens to be. I disagree that most children which are rejected by their peers have something wrong with them that needs correcting. I do not want my child to feel the need to conform to another's standards. Why instead wouldn't we try to educate children that differences are okay. I want my child to be respected as a person should their actions merit it and I feel this is lacking in our schools, child to child, teacher to child, and child to teacher. In short public school would undermine the very qualities I hope to instill in my children. Confidence. Caring. Curiosity. Self motivation. Peaceful. Generous. Honesty. Humility.
I hope you don't think I am an over protective mother who shelters her children from life. The girls are exposed to a lot. They have seen birth-and know how the baby got there, watched death, lost loved ones to addictions and suicide, been exposed to the consequences of horrible accidents and cancer, we have travelled through out the States and Europe. They spend a lot of time in a tattoo shop. They know Chinese deities and Buddha, don't believe in Santa, believe in Jesus, are aware of Haiti and the recent oil spill, I could go on and on. I just want you to know we are all for them experiencing life along side of us. I just refuse to believe public school is "life".
And that is why I homeschool.
p.s. We also now unchurch, having walked away from institutional religion for very similar reasons.
Monday, September 5, 2011
I have big food issues. I just love it. Totally.
I hadn't told you that I returned to Weight Watchers. (I am a lifetime offender) That was 3 weeks ago. I lost three pounds the first two weeks. This was a disappointment because I followed plan to the T. (Usually the first week on program is a bigger loss.) Could it be as I inch closed to my 40th b-day the weight is just getting harder to take off? Yes, I know three pounds is an accomplishment. I, in true Coedith form, chose to celebrate my losing with lunch of french toast after weigh in. Of course I know I could have simply tracked it and kept to plan...but.....
Of course it didn't stop with french toast, or the fries, or the goat cheese with lemon curd and marscapone (to die for!) So I skipped my week three weigh in, ya know to get back on track before weighing in the following week.
No I will not be going this week either. I am officially off the wagon.
What to do?
All this is happening at the same time my squirrel mama instincts are telling me to stock up for the winter. I have been menu planning, recipe searching and discovering the world of cooking once and stocking my freezer with hearty homemade meals to be ready in a flash. I want us to eat real food, balanced food and enjoyable food.
Food is more than nourishment for me. I know that can be seen as an "issue". It is a way to bring people together, to connect, to share to give and to receive.
So that is where I am with food. Wanting to be a size 10, just not enough to give up french toast- or is it the love...
Friday, September 2, 2011
My great-grandparents Frank and Ethel Attaway (I am wild about her socks and shoes)
Me circa 1994, in my favorite socks and shoes, where I grew up in Woodlake California
You know that favorite dress you have practically worn out? The one with the stain, tear or missing button? Do not despair you can still wear it with an Okie flair. Here are 10 ways to incorporate true depression era fashion into your vintage attire.
- clothing doesn't fit just right-usually a little too big
- socks-not mates if you dare
- one button different from the rest
- dresses made of feedsacks
- mend and patch-get creative
- worn oxfords shoes
- clothing clean but worn
- layers-sometimes they had to wear all they had
- aprons- what dress you do have needs protecting
How awesome is this?! Here is an informative feedsack post by Vintage Viviant.
I haven't seen it (because I heard it was scary) but Carnivale appears to have wonderful costumes.
Also I have heard rumors of a Ghetto Gatsby picnic held in Southern California. Does anyone have any information about this event? I am intrigued.
Thursday, September 1, 2011
I set up a hand washing station for Dorothy (20 mos.) earlier this summer. I used her kitchen shelves-seen here before hand washing supplies.
She needed a step stool to be at the right height to reach the bowl. Here is what you need to set up a hand washing station.
- medium sized basin (bowl)
- small pitcher
- water source
- small dish with travel sized soap
- bucket for used water
- hand towel
Model this for your child