Friday, December 30, 2011

This morning.....

......we woke early, Lucy and I. She was wet through, needed a complete change. I was reasonably rested for 5:45am, which, these days, is a gift. After all was dry, we sat, she and I and gazed at our pretty tree. It was her idea and it was a good one. We sat quietly and looked, perhaps, more closely, then we had through the busy holiday season. She wiggled a little, I sat with a calmness I've felt seldom recently. I looked at this pretty tree, that we will take down tomorrow in preparation for the new year and all that it will bring, and felt what I always do when I contemplate the transient nature of this life of ours. The rich bitter-sweetness of it fast it all is. Her little hands folded and unfolded and sometimes grabbed my fingers and I felt intensely grateful for that small, sweet moment with my smallest daughter. 

Wishing you joy in all of your moments, big and small, as 2011 draws to a close....

Sunday, November 27, 2011

With Thankfulness

What a year this has been....

I spent the last 3.5 days unplugged from regular life, from phone (no cell service), computer (didn't bring or borrow one), from day to day responsibilities except cooking and cleaning up after (and laundry, since our washer broke, we brought some). We packed up and headed to my family home and gathered together with family (only brother Steve was absent, but we'll see him soon) and some dear friends, ate, drank, and were thankful.

In the midst of a 3 day house party, I had some time to reflect on how very full this year has been. So much goodness, so much intensity, so very MUCH has filled this last year. In review:

  • We have a new family member, Luciana, who was conceived, carried, and born all since last Thanksgiving
  • My mama was diagnosed with, treated for, and is now just about in remission from breast cancer...just a bit more to go there, but all is looking so very good.
  • Patrick's fledgling new business celebrated one year in operation in October, and it was a very respectable first year.
  • We broke ground on a new garden and had just a few, but some amazing crops. Next year we'll be planting so much more.
There is always more that could be wanted, but really, in counting my blessings, my cup runneth over. We have stood beside loved ones and grieved with them their struggles and losses, some running so deeply, and can count ourselves lucky that this year we gained so much and lost so little. Not all years are like that, but for this one, I am truly grateful. Grateful to hold my loved ones close and grateful that I'm wise enough to be grateful for this.

I realize too, how lucky I am that going home to my parents is a peaceful, joyous thing. That it is sweet, and restful for me. I know not everyone is this fortunate.

Wishing you all a holiday season in which your cups too, runneth over.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Taking a breath, taking stock, and a full moon......

Waxing moon, November 6, 2011

I woke up this morning feeling a bit sorry for myself...I'm loath to admit this, I, who abhor drama (except on the stage and screen, then I love it), was indulging in a bit of internal woe is me.  

Then a simple comment about loss  from a loved one via facebook reminded me of how very richly blessed I am, how little I have to ever complain about, and I'm better again. Thank you, dear cousin, for the reminder.

Thank you also Amanda, for the reminder to sit and just breath once in awhile...I do still have time for that, within my very full days.

I will be 40 in two days, and for just a brief bit I chose to look at my accomplishments (or lack thereof, really, is what I was focusing on), and sigh and start a small pity party. But the gentle reminders mentioned above have me back on track, so I've decided to focus instead on the triumphs of the last 10 years, and here is a short list, in somewhat chronological order:

- Left my home town and established a new life on the opposite side of the country, complete with amazing friends and new work in an unrelated field.

-Started a family with my wonderful husband: we now have to gorgeous girls. I can't take a lot of credit for them, they are amazing in their own right, but I blessed to be part of their journey and it's a wonderful part of my life now.

-Harnessed my underfed creativity and channeled it into something that fits well into my life right now: cooking. I was an adequate cook 10 years ago, now I'm a great cook, and unafraid to adventure into uncharted cuisine territories.

- Started writing again...this blog is my main outlet, and I love it, though I don't land here as often as I like. I love to write, and it feels great to do it after little writing time for years.

I could probably add to this list, but this is good for now.

The icing on the cake is that I get a full moon for my 40th birthday. Diana was the roman goddess of the moon and of the hunt, so it seems somehow appropriate.

Do you have any accomplishments you'd like to celebrate?

Monday, October 31, 2011

$400 grocery challenge review

I was hoping to do a weekly check in this month, but life has a way of, well, being life! I came down with mastitis (kicked it quickly, thankfully), Helena got coxsackie (not so fast to get rid of that one), and I blinked once or twice, and here we are at the end of the month.

I just finished tallying receipts, and the verdict is...$511.55 for the month. So we did not keep within the $400 mark.

 Here's where we went awry:

- I bought 3 jars of almond butter on sale before the start of the challenge for a total of nearly $30.00
- I bought $17.00 worth of olive oil on sale at our coop...I knew this would contribute to pushing us over, but went for it anyway, since it was good price on good quality olive oil.
- I sent Patrick to the store several times without a complete list, and he had to wing it...this always results in more spending.
- Since Helena was sick and her little mouth full of blisters, so we splurged on Popsicles and soft, out of season fruits we would not otherwise have purchased.
- I didn't plan ahead for Patrick's birthday, and we needed some  birthday meal items I could have budgeted in better had been more organized.

However, this brought us in a good $200 under our normally monthly expenditure, so, in the spirit of celebrating the small victories rather than focusing on short comings, I'm considering this quite a success.

Some things that helped us cut corners were:
- Using what was available...lots of vegis still from the CSA, and therefor lots of soups and stews that made more than one meal.
- planning meals ahead and sticking to the plan as much as possible.
- Cutting back on meat a bit...Patrick felt ready to relax on the no yeast diet after being fairly stringent for awhile, so we did more vegetarian meals, and bulked up the meat meals with more vegis..and we both agreed we feel better with this balance.
- I did try to use some of what was on hand in the pantry, but made a point not to try to live mostly off what was there and drain our reserves, so to speak.

One thing that would have helped a lot would have been to incorporate more legumes, which I love, but am avoiding at the moment, since they seem to bother little Lucy's tummy when I eat them. We'll try adding them back again in another month or so as her system develops, and see how it goes. I miss them, especially this time of year.

This was a great exercise for me, and one that I will continue to work with. It feels good to tighten things up and be more mindful in this way, and it wasn't hard to do. 

Heather has some great ideas in her weekly updates, and there are some great ones in the comments as well. 

Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Simply Ten

Simply ten...ten simple things to be thankful for, inspired by Amanda Soule.

- Nearly a week of sun, after so many dark days.
- Good Coffee, mmmmmm
- Having the quiet house to myself for a bit (shared with a peacefully sleeping Lucy)
- Refrigerator stocked with CSA and garden bounty
- The beginnings of a meal plan, once again, after a long hiatus..ahhhh
- My favorite leftover soup for lunch
- My body, heading back to normal, after pregnancy and birth
- The image of Lucy falling asleep on Helena's chest (so grateful that the have each other)
- Wrapping up a big project before the sunny weekend=outdoor family time!
- Healthy,  growing baby girl (3+ pounds and 3 inches in 4 weeks!)

Wishing you a wonderful weekend! Do you have a Simply Ten List? Post or link to it in the comments, I'd love to take a peek!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

$400 for the month of October grocery challenge

I haven't participated in any sort of blog-land challenge in all honesty, just writing here, given my busyness and sleep deprivedness these days is quite a challenge.

But I've been thinking along these lines already. Between maternity leave for me (unpaid, since I'm self-employed) and work slow down for Patrick (also self employed, it comes with the territory), it's a good time to tighten up the budget.

So we're joining Heather, at one of my favorite blogs, Beauty that Moves, for her October Grocery challenge.

$400 Grocery Challenge

You can participate or follow Heather's and other's progress by clicking the button above. 

I would say that, on average, we spend close to twice that amount, which seems crazy to me when I think of it. I can remember the days, back in San Diego (food was cheaper there, then, not sure anymore), when we could easily get by on about $200 or so. But we were a family of two working adults, and we worked in hotels (me in banquets and spas, him on the conference circuit) where food was readily available to us on the job. I never thought to calculate how much we saved in not buying food, but I would guess that eating for free at work easily cut our grocery bill in half or more.

But I digress (as a so often do). Now, we're a family of four...2 adults, a 7 year old, and an infant who doesn't eat food yet, but whose breast feeding mama eats like a horse these days....

We buy local foods as much as possible, whole foods as much as possible, and organic as much as possible, and we cook from scratch. We also try to buy in season as much as possible, but I find myself cringing and caving to the picky eating habits of my 7 year old daughter and buying things like pre-made snack foods (which, when you buy the healthier varieties,cost even more) and strawberries out of season and the like.

Also, Patrick is on a low yeast diet, which requires a considerable amount of meat, also pricey.

So this will be a challenge, but not, I think, impossible. My strategy, such as it it, is as follows:

- Better menu planning...this has gotten pretty loosey goosey lately, and I know we spend less when I have a plan. 

- Utilizing CSA veggies and gifts from my parent's garden in the menu plan, especially items from the "take as much as you can use" area.  We've been good about this, but, I think, with a bit more planning, could be better. I have a nice bag of summer squash calling for creative use.

- Pulling modestly from what's on hand....don't want to drain the pantry or freezer, per say, but taking a look at what's there and what's been sitting could be helpful.

- Making a few more things from scratch...especially snack foods. Helena bores easily of whatever we get too often, so mixing it up could be fun and cost effective....this could also be challenging, given how full my plate is, so we'll see how it goes....

I'll keep you posted, hopefully with weekly updates...

Care to join in?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


These first days with our new little girl, already a week old today.

breathing in the utter sweetness of these moments...

holding them close to our hearts, knowing how quickly it all changes....

reveling in all the moments, sleepy, sleepless, and utterly sweet, when she still seems half of this world, and half of another...

joyfully introducing Luciana, and deeply aware of how richly blessed we are.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Quick party recap...

How can  it be that weeks have passed already, since this post. I told you I'd let you know how it went....

And all was good. It did rain, for about half the day. There were tears from Helena, when, after 5 minutes, the pretty party streamers we hung indoors sagged with the intense humidity. But then the guests began to arrive, mayhem by-way of 12 children and as many adults crammed into our little home ensued, and the fun began.

The cake turned out just right...all thanks to daddy's decorating skills. I think she will remember these cakes and how much love he always puts into them, when she's grown :-)

 Sharing the birthday with "Papa" and having uncle Dave, home briefly from the Appalachian Trail (to recover from Lyme disease, and sporting a beard!), was a special treat.
Halfway through, the sun came out, the day became hot and bright, and the much anticipated water balloon fight ensued. And, thankfully, we were able to eat cake and ice cream OUTSIDE, quite a boon to this very pregnant mama. 

Through it all, someone or other, and one dear friend in particular, was on hand every time I began a sentence such as, "it's time to," or "I really should," or "I need to," to cut me off with, "OR YOU COULD DELEGATE." 

And so I did. And you know what? Despite the fact that I didn't manage everything and nothing was perfect, everything was just's that for a good life lesson in the form of a party?

As I lay here now, very pregnant and writing this from bed with a pinched nerve, not doing all those last minute things on my "before baby arrives," list, but resting as my body truly seems to want, I'm pretty sure that, whenever this little one chooses to arrive, no matter what's done or undone, everything will be just wonderful anyway.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Front Page Coverage!

As a follow up to This Post, Patrick is on the front page of the Ithaca Journal today!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Bragging Rights....Energy Auditor Training for Teens in Ithaca

Have I mentioned before how awesome my husband is. If not, let me do so now, and give you one example.

Two weeks ago, Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) and some other amazing and dedicated individuals, offered an Energy Auditing Training course for young people in our area (Ithaca, NY), with Patrick instructing (this is what he does).

14 young people, mostly high school age, but with one student in 8th grade and several being recent high school and college grads, took a week long BPI Building Analyst Certification Course, resulting in the opportunity for professional certification when testing requirements are met. The program was grant funded and all student were given 100% scholarships to attend.

The Building Analyst Certification will aid these students in entering the Green Jobs work force, and allow them to provide much needed auditing services in our area. We've already heard that one student who had been working as an intern, was offered a paid position in the field after completing the course.

In brief, an Energy Auditor evaluates homes and other buildings for energy loss, and makes safe and cost effective recommendations (recommendations that will pay the homeowner back in $$ not spent on heating, cooling and electric costs, in a relatively brief period of time) for changes to the home to save energy. Safety is a key factor in the training, because when you tighten up the air space in a home, it's critical to determine that all combustion appliances (those that can produce carbon monoxide) are installed, functioning, and vented properly.

Many New Yorkers qualify for a free energy audit through NYSERDA's Home Performance with Energy Star Program. Look HERE for more information. Small businesses and not-for-profits may also qualify. Details HERE. If you live in another state and are aware of a similar offering, please let me know. I'm working on content for Patrick's newly launched website and would love to add information about programs that other states are offering to our links page.

Regardless of your thoughts and feelings on the state of our global environment, (and I won't pretend mine aren't strong) an Energy Audit makes sense. Why not make some improvements and pay less for utilities. It's greener, and who couldn't think of a better way to spend that money?

The program was a success, and there are plans to repeat and expand it. I had the honor of helping in a small way with some of the administrative details involved in pulling this training together, and it was an altogether lovely experience. And I'm ever so proud of this husband of mine and the gifts he has to offer.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

A Different Approach.....

Today we celebrate my daughter's 7th birthday, and my father's 70th. Her birthday isn't for another month, his, another week.

But there's a baby on board, and things are getting rearranged to accommodate this new arrival, due in just 4 weeks, give or take.

Part of preparing for this new little person to join us, well, in person, has been a significant amount of mental rearranging on my part. I'm not "all there yet," but moving in a good direction, I think.

This pregnancy has been very different than the first, but then my life is also very different, much fuller now, than before. My energy level is low, my body hurts, often. The baby, growing just fine, the mama, dragging along through the process with as much grace as possible. And, that, it seems, is the key. Moving through life with grace.

I've begun to think my real goal in life is just to move through each day, with as much grace as possible, despite whatever circumstances surround me. I've tried it the other, trying to make the circumstances okay, but that doesn't always happen. Working to be okay in spite of the circumstances is not always a simple task, and I don't always make it, but I have a much better shot at this, than at trying to control through whatever means, what is happening around me.

I cannot seem to control my fatigue with this pregnancy...resting more certainly helps, but doesn't seem to alleviate it significantly...I can currently fall asleep sitting up, in most locations, with very little notice. I can't control the fact that my mom is working through breast cancer, but I sure can be grateful that the treatments seem to be working.  I can't help that a good friend lost her mother this week, however the timely, and that I'm far away and cannot offer much comfort. But, I can offer what comfort I can and pray that some peace is offered there too. And be slow enough to breath through it all and be grateful, and learn to just be.

Today we're hosting an event for these birthdays, and inviting guests into our home. I love to host a good to cook, love to invite people into our home. I also love to make everything from scratch and have everything ready well in advance....haha! Not this time!

In seven years, it's never rained for Helena's party. This year it looks would think August would be a better bet for weather than September, and it's been a hotter, drier summer than average. Today it's going to rain, in all likelihood. Gone are the plans for the water balloons, the wading pool, and the with the new party, indoor crafts and games...

I bought food I could make myself, because I just can't this year. The house isn't as tidy as I'd like it to be...the guest list...somewhat incomplete as I barely got invites out on time, and missed some altogether. 

The handmade favors still need finishing....

The gorgeous CSA flowers need arranging.......

The cake needs frosting and decorating.....

 The cheesecake (for dad!), despite cooling in the oven slowly...cracked...a lot!

There's still much to be done today before guests arrive. Once upon a time I would have been up at dawn (I am, but not because I chose it today), dashing around frantically and getting "it all done." Not today. Today I chose to sip my tea, and sit and reflect on how I'd like to remember this day....

I'd like to remember the smiles, the people who came, just the right mix, somehow, and just enjoy them all.

I'll let you know how it goes...

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Summer Favorite: Linguine with Pecorino, Tomatoes and Arugula

I'm trying to remember if I've posted this recipe previously? My brother made it for us about 8 years ago, and it's become a summer favorite ever since. One can, of course, buy these ingredients at large markets year round, but there's something about using fresh, in season arugula and tomatoes that makes me want to save this one for summer only. 

Arugula tends to bolt and go to seed when the temps get up there, and tomatoes don't ripen, generally, until it gets pretty warm. But there is usually, around here anyway, a brief intersection at the beginning of tomato season (and end, if you a did a second, later planting of arugula), where you have both ripening together, either in the garden or, as in our case, from our CSA. This is one of those weeks for us, so we had it for tonight's dinner. I meant to take a photo but we ate it up to fast :-)

I like to serve it with Italian sausage, sometimes garlic bread, and for those who can (since I can't at the moment), either, a lighter red wine, or, Patrick's current favorite, Monkey Bay Sauvignon Blanc.

Recipe found at Epicurious

Recipe Notes:

I generally don't remember to have shallots on hand, but have substituted all kinds of onions and even chives with good results. I increase the balsamic vinegar to 1/4 c (because we love it so much). Pecorino Romano is lovely, but rich sometimes for our budget at about $18.00/lb, so I often use traditional Romano at about 1/2 the price, or even Parmesan, with equally scrumptious results.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

a thought for a summer Sunday afternoon

Life is very full, and often, fast. But sometimes, in the midst of it all, I remember something important.

That it's all so fleeting, both the good moments, and the hard moments. In these rarer moments, when I can step outside of myself and remember this, it's easier, also, to remember to really revel in the good moments. To breathe them in, soak them up, and enjoy them fully. And not to dwell too much on the harder ones, angry, sad, or just stressful ones. For they too will pass in the blink of an eye.

Today was the birthday of both my paternal grandfather, who lived to a fairly respectable old age, and my dear sister in law, who passed way too soon. May we all remember to revel in the moments we have with those we love, not knowing how many precious moments will be given to us.

Happy Sunday, July 17th, 2011

Thursday, July 7, 2011

CSA Love...Sweet Land Farm

Someday, I'm thinking winter-ish, when the compelling need to be outside soaking up sunshine is past, when the baby has arrived (only 8-ish weeks now, holy cow!), when life settles down a bit (am I really thinking this will happen?), I may again post more frequently. There's so little time these days, and this pregnancy has not come with the burst of energy I got halfway through when carrying Helena.

Part of accepting that, has been scaling things back a bit. The large garden we planned hasn't materialized. We have kale we're harvesting, and a few odds and ends we got in that will bear fruit later in the season, and the ground will be ready for a more serious endeavor next year, but we're not going to be primarily eating fresh foods that we grew ourselves this summer. 

Instead, we are enjoying the bounty of a weekly CSA share. We did this once before, while sharing a home with my parents for awhile, and I loved it then too. Having a box of who knows what each week taught me to eat things I hadn't given much thought too before, largely greens other than lettuce.

A good friend recommended Sweet Land Farm, and we are really loving it. I've heard there are other great CSAs in the area, but this one really works for us. They have this wonderful set up where you show up weekly and fill your bag with your choice of what's available then. We love this, because we get to try a little of the things we're unsure of, and really load up on what we're craving (can you say cilantro! so much salsa these days!).

Also, they have a take as much as you like section, largely greens now such as kale, collards and chard, and you can take as much as you can eat that week (not meant for stocking up and preserving). This gives us plenty of the greens we love, and we've been putting them in everything.

Bounty from the first week
Finally, they have a u-pick section, some of which is unlimited (we loaded up on basil this week), some of which is rationed...strawberries and sugar snap peas...mmmm! Oh, and flowers. Did I mention flowers? You could easily spend the $20-ish dollars a week per share on the flowers we've been picking.

Wishing you all the delights of summer's bounty!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

A fun twist on Root Veggies

Another bit of silver lining on the new adventure in eating is that we've discovered some yummy favorites we might not have otherwise encountered.

We're all big potato fans in the house, and, of course, this is off the list at the moment. We often do oven baked fries, planks of potatoes tossed in olive oil and spices and roasted. Instead, we decided to try turnips this way, and liked them so much that we tried rutabagas as well, and I even threw in some beets. Patrick couldn't eat these, but Helena loved them as did I. Now our 6 year old is enthusiastically eating all kinds of root veggies that I didn't even try until I was an adult. 

I used this recipe,, and, for the sake of Patrick's restrictions, omitted the Parmesan (no aged cheeses for him). I used granulated garlic in place of the garlic salt, and added a bit of salt to taste. 

These are easy and yummy. 

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Some sweet things for the weekend

I took these photos last summer while driving a road I don't travel frequently....maybe I should more though, they left me with such a warm feeling. May they brighten your day as much as they did mine.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Meatloaf...low carb, low yeast

On our yeast free adventure, I've found it necessary to adapt some of our favorite recipes so that Patrick can continue to enjoy them, as well as seek out new ones. Here's an old favorite with a new twist.

Meatloaf, adapted from Betty Crocker's New Cookbook

1 Lb Lean (97% fat free) ground beef (I've been using grass fed, organic, and there's no comparison)
2/3 cup milk
2 tsp Bragg's Liquid Aminos
1 tsp dried ground sage leaf
1/2 tsp dry mustard powder
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp garlic powder (or 1 clove, finely chopped)
1 large egg
1/4 cup ground flax seed
1/4 cup finely chopped onion

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Mix all ingredients and pressed into an un-greased loaf pan. Bake at 350 for 50-60 minutes until internal temperature reaches 160 F.

Notes: It's a fine line between done and dry here, so watch carefully once you hit the 50 minute mark. The flax seed acts as a healthy binder without adding a lot of carbohydrate (and thus yeast producing,) content. 

Patrick is a gravy lover, and I find that some broth and a little fat cooks off this, which I can drain and make about the right amount of gravy for the meal.


Drippings and broth, add milk to equal 1 cup
1 1/2 TBSP Cornstarch dissolved in 1 TBSP cold water
1 tsp Braggs Liquid Aminos
Salt & Pepper to taste

Warm the drippings, broth and milk in a pan. Add Braggs, whisk in cornstarch/water mixture and heat to boiling. Simmer for a minute or two until thick. Season with pepper (and salt if needed, Braggs is fairly salty) to taste. 

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Hope & Nourishment of a Different Type

Our lives have taken an interesting dietary twist recently. 

Patrick has, intermittently, for the past decade or so, experienced some severe digestive discomfort. It's not often, usually less than once a month, some a little more frequently, sometimes months could go by without an incident. Medical Dr.s have not come up with an explanation or solution, other than some medications to manage the issue, but that didn't address healing it. Alternative practitioners have recommended other various courses of action, non of which have worked. 

Recently, he began seeing a new acupuncturist. This time, we went in with a list of all symptoms he experiences, a longer list than in the past, including an unexplained skin rash that various prescription and over the counter creams had not lasting affect upon. This practitioner, after a week of treatment took another look, called in a consult, and the verdict was......Candida.  Which, if your not familiar with the term, is an overgrowth of yeast. Basic info to be found here

Candida is controversial, in that, for the most part, M.D.s give it no credence. But, at this point, with no other explanation for what's been going on, we decided to latch onto the hope that this might, just might, be the answer. 

For the past month, he's been on a very restrictive diet. I've been on various kinds of diets in my younger years, and more recently have concluded that balance is good. Some protein, some carbs (of the complex, unrefined sort), and lots of fresh veggies seem to work well. I'm not a saint, we do use white flour and sugar here and there, but they're not staples in our home. 

The Candida diet is challenging in that you can basically eat meat, eggs, some nuts and oils, and non sweet, non starchy vegetables. That's about it, as far as the commonly agreed upon safe (non yeast producing foods). There are many conflicting opinions on what other items can be included, especially in the first phase, which is the detox phase where you really starve the yeast and cause it to die off. Once you get past this, the list of what's okay gets even more confusing....but we're not there yet.

So far....for the first week or so, Patrick's digestive symptoms actually increased, and he has a hard time digesting much of anything...then they faded, and it's just been getting better and better since. The skin rash is almost completely gone (and he's not using anything topically now), he's lost a bit of extra weight (he only had a little extra) but is not losing much more quickly, and mostly feels pretty good.

This has been an interesting cooking adventure for me, and I'll share some of the successes soon.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

For Fun and Vicarious Adventure....

My baby brother (we're 14 years apart, and I did change his diapers, thank you very much!), and his friend Jon are hiking the Appalachian Trail, the whole thing!

They're blogging periodically, via cell phone post (I think), when service is available. 

You can visit their blog here, if you  like.

These days, hiking from the basement (laundry) to the second floor (where most of it goes) is a pretty good hike for me, but I'm learning and having fun following their journey. "Trail Magic, " for example, is a new term to me, meaning when someone provides food on the trail for the hikers. Often this is done by past "Thru-Hikers," or people who have already hiked the whole trail themselves. They provide meals and other treats for those doing the trail now.

They left a month ago, and plan to be home sometime near the end of the summer. I wish I had done more of this sort of thing when I was younger...maybe when the kids are grown:-)

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Hope & Nourishment

This has been an intense month or so. About a month ago, my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. The prognosis is good, very optimistic. Treatments have begun, and, she's responding very well.

I cannot describe the range of emotions I have moved through in this last month, and continue to feel.  I won't try, it's all to ethereal, changing from moment to moment for me.

The practical side of me wants, as always, to do something, to take action. Positive loving thoughts are in my mind and heart as often as I can bring them forth, and I use them to push past fear.

But I am still a hands on person, wanting always to dig in some how and contribute tangibly.

So I cook. Blessedly, this news coincided with gradual cessation of my morning sickness and return of my appetite. I will admit, from weeks 6-11 or so of this pregnancy, I was not much of a cook, and my family was probably bored silly with my repetitive cooking of the few things I could stomach. But now, food, with a very few exceptions, is good again, which is a very good thing when you're trying to fatten up you're sweet mama a bit.

I made this Cream of Asparagus Soup, with homemade bread using the Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day Master Recipe.

I also made cream puffs for her...anyone who knows my mama knows she loves all types of whipped creams and custard. I used the recipe from my Betty Crocker Cookbook. The puff recipe I found here. The vanilla custard is not included in this link, but any from scratch vanilla custard would suffice. Or, you can use sweetened whipped cream, which is also quite good. 

Others have included my favorite Tomato Cabbage Soup, from this post. And Grecian Isle Stew. With bread, as always.

Although my first thought was to feed my mom, in the process, I'm also feeding my sister (still at home) and father, who are her main onsite supports right now, and that also feels wonderful. They too, must be experiencing some version of this range of emotion. My dad mentioned to me last week how much he's been enjoying the soups I've been bringing. It warmed my heart.

For me, action brings hope. I'm so grateful for something, anything I can do that is helpful. Grateful that this has all come about at time when medicine has taken such great strides forward toward more effective, less invasive treatments. So grateful too, that my mom is getting such good care, and that she feels so good about it all. Although at times I'm still SO scared, it's all really so very good.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Proof of Spring

March is a fickle month around here. It can be 50 one day, and 20 the next. We can have rain which melts most of the snow, and the next day....

Aha, says old man winter, I'm not done with you yet, and dumps another 15 inches....sigh.

But we've since had more rain, which has melted much of this, and despite a very gray weekend, and more snow this morning as I write...spring really will come.

Sometimes, oh faithless me, I need visual proof of this eventuality. So I went digging through some of last years photos....

It really is coming!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Breaking Radio (web, really) Silence with a Small Announcement

I have not been here much in the last month. Not here in this writing space, and not visiting other blogs much, either. 

It isn't that I'm not interested to read what others are saying, I always am. And it isn't that I don't have much to say, I always do!

But big changes are afoot here, and I have been more see, our family is expanding to add another person at the end of the summer, and I'm not quite myself these days. Or maybe more so. 

This journey into parenthood has been ever so interesting, with all it's beauty, wonder, and amazing twists and turns. Our daughter has brought so much richness into my life that it's difficult even to express it all. And now, another small person is growing quietly in my body, and everything is changing once again, and I can't wait to see who this person will be. What a gift, to be the conduit for new life.

I hope to be around here more often as things settle out a the moment I'm pretty well consumed with just managing the basics while eating nearly constantly, and trying to stave off near constant nausea. But for the moment, it's eat, rest, get a few things done, and dream.