Sunday, September 30, 2012

We all shine on...

Last night I took a solo drive to chase the gorgeous full Harvest Moon. It was a partly cloudy night and she kept hiding behind the haze, only peeking out now and then to reveal her silver glow. This time of year, when the moon appears larger, and often brighter, reminds me that we all have the chance to shine again. No matter what darkness we have walked through, the time comes again when we shine brighter than ever. Happy Harvest Moon!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Transition and Being Brave

Here we are in our second week of the school year...I have had these ideas for this post swirling around in my head for the past several days with no idea how to get them out...

Back to school time for a highly sensitive mama with a couple of highly sensitive kids is an adventure for sure.  My oldest has started second grade, and this sweet shy boy who cried every day for the first half of his first grade year now describes school as "amazing" and has told me that I don't need to wave at the bus as he rides away.  Could you hear my big sigh there?  Part melancholy, part relief...and not ashamed to admit I followed the bus the first few days.

My second son, my little creative superstar, started kindergarten and while he seems to not mind the actual time at school,  the morning separation has been rough.  He was so excited to take the bus the first day you would have thought it was headed to Hogwarts.  But when he realized that taking the bus meant that I would not be there, he froze.  This has been a source of anxiety for him so I am driving him for the time being.  This helps...a little...but kindergarten is such a big transition year that we still have a few tears as we say goodbye.  Yesterday when I picked him up at the end of the day he came out BEAMING!  His teacher told me he had read aloud to the class!  I was proud, he was was a good day.  We need many many more good days...

And the little baby twinnies...have started preschool.  It is only twice a week for two hours but for them, it is huge.  It was a leap of faith to start them in the program as I am still nervous about how their speech delay will manifest...or not.  Today was their first day there without me.  My little guy sobbed his way into the classroom while his sister confidently took his hand and led the way.  I walked past the outside windows hearing him cry and could not hold back the tears myself.

This time of year has always been my favorite.  I love everything about autumn, including that this season I will celebrate my 39th birthday.  The seasonal transition so closely mirrors what is going on in my family right now...letting go of old ways and embracing new, being brave with the unknown and finding comfort in the warmth of our love for one another.

So this brings me to the idea of being brave.  Hannah Marcotti wrote this gorgeous piece last week.  Several bloggers that I follow have taken up this prompt as well, and it seemed time to add a few of my own:

Being brave is admitting that being a mama is damn hard.  Like really, intensely hard.

Being brave is leading the way with how I handle my own emotions so my children can feel confident in expressing their own.

Being brave is standing at the bus stop smiling when it is taking everything in me to not follow right behind that bus!

Being brave is telling my kindergartener how much I love him and to have a great day and then letting go of his hand as he begins his own new adventure...

Being brave is admitting to myself that while I rock as a mama of preschoolers, I still have a lot to learn about parenting school-aged kids.  A lifelong journey indeed!

Being brave is looking within and recognizing that I need to step up my own self-care.

Today is a beautiful Michigan late-summer day.  The sky is a clear deep blue and the weather is cool enough for a light jacket.  The tomatoes in my garden are still ripening.  The twins and I took a nice walk after school and I was able to really enjoy being with just the two of them...something that has not happened since they were born.  I look forward to having more time with them at home and getting to know them in a new way.  I am looking forward to many lunch picnics on the living room floor listening to Dan Zanes.  I am looking forward to picking up my big boys from school later this afternoon and hearing about the day.  I am looking forward to this new adventure in being brave.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

"Be the kind of person you want your children to be."

The Wild Sister Manifesto took the place of a new moon vision board this month as it spoke to me so deeply. It hangs primitively with a piece of scotch tape between my bedroom window and the windowsill. I wanted to be able to see it when I opened my eyes every morning.

The one phrase that stood out to me most is "Be the kind of person you want your children to be.". This is a very humbling challenge if ever I heard one. I think as parents it is easy to lose sight of what we are modeling for our kids. Such a powerful reminder...I want my children to be joy-filled, to connect with their joy even when immediate situations or circumstances are not ideal. I want them to be be who they are and to feel what they feel.

Each morning for the last couple weeks I have looked at this phrase and set the intention for my day. Once again, they are my little buddhas, guiding me on my journey as I guide them on theirs. Amazing...

Z, accessorized!
The Wild Sister Manifesto
with my big boys
happy boy early morning

Monday, August 27, 2012

Daring Bakers August 2012 Challenge: Pate a Choux

 Kat of The Bobwhites was our August 2012 Daring Baker hostess who inspired us to have fun in creating pate a choux shapes, filled with crème patisserie or Chantilly cream. We were encouraged to create swans or any shape we wanted and to go crazy with filling flavors allowing our creativity to go wild!

Swans did not exactly happen here.  I had some extra helpers in the kitchen. ;)  But we did make some pretty delicious cream puffs!

This was my first time making choux pastry.  I found it to be a much easier process than I expected.  I could see how some very beautiful presentations could be created, and I will link to some of my fellow Daring Bakers below.  But first, check out Kat's swans!  Seriously impressive, right?

For filling I chose to make a chantilly cream with honey.  It was quite delicious and had a more gentle sweetness than the usual pastry cream.  I added a dollop of chocolate frosting at the request of my little helpers.  They loved it, but I think if I make these again I will top with a maple honey glaze.  And cinnamon...yes definitely.

Here's a sampling of a couple others who took this month's challenge.  Thank you, Kat, for the sweet treat!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

New Moon Intentions: Gratitude and Abundance

I'm a couple days late posting my intentions for this new moon.  For this August moon I will be focusing on gratitude and abundance.  I found this fitting as the kids are about to go back to school in a couple weeks and I know it will be kind of chaotic as we get back into the swing of things.  As we are no strangers to chaos (that's how we roll!) I would like to spend the next couple weeks feeling grateful for our time together this summer and creating a peaceful haven for everyone to come back to at the end of the day.

I go into "creating a peaceful haven" mode quite often and while I am able to make small but powerful changes, it is hard to make them stick.  I often will flip back into "if only I could get these pillows or these chairs or remodel this or that..."  So as I do this during this month, I want to remember that I do not necessarily "need" to procure any more "things" to make our environment more peaceful, and perhaps acknowledging and showing gratitude for what we already have will go a long way in keeping to a more positive, more abundant state of mind.

I can't believe the new school year is almost upon us!  L will be in 2nd grade, C in kindergarten, and the twins starting a new preschool program.  Lots of changes for us here!  In the meantime we're going to enjoy the end of summer vacation and start preparing for the new with a grateful heart.  Many blessings!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012


Sometimes just looking at the day through a different lens puts things into perspective.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Vibrancy and Softness

Participating in another one of the always amazing Hannah Marcotti's Joy Up programs, I have been learning a lesson on how what we choose to focus on, we have the ability to create/manifest.

As an experiment, I chose to focus on the color orange. Orange is my favorite color, and it's energy really calls to me these days. It is a happy, life-giving energy that I find uplifting even on my worst days. Orange is also fierce and brave, the color of a just-lit flame.

As I started focusing on orange, I saw it everywhere, but not always accidentally. As my favorite color, there is a lot of orange in my house. The beautiful Anna Maria Horner voile that I drape everywhere I can, my throw pillows, my bedspread, my new favorite mala...apparently I've done a good job of bringing orange into my life, into my living space.

There is something kind of interesting that I began to notice as I was photographing my many orange things. I like to pair orange with a slightly softer, gentler yet contrasting color. As I thought about this I realized that softness and gentleness are two qualities I have been reaching for lately. While fun, our summer has been a bit crazy and I have been finding myself tense and irritable all too often. So I am choosing to focus on the softer palette that is a bit surprising along with the orange. Those soft blues, greys, silvers, turquoise, the luscious greens and the deep dark yet gentle purples. When I think about softness, when I visualize these colors, I think of a more calming, peaceful, quiet energy, which is what my soul would love to cultivate right now.

There is a quote attributed to Buddha, "What you think, you become.". The best part of that is that we get to choose!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Switching up the morning beverage

So...I decided last week that I needed to lay off the coffee. There were many reasons for this, and at the time I didn't really think I would be giving it up all at once. But, this is day 6 of no coffee...and wow, I miss it!

When I make up my mind to really do something I often need to just jump in with both feet. So in this case, it meant giving up coffee cold turkey. I am considering waiting another week or so and then trying decaf. But in the meantime, I have found it quite interesting how my morning ritual has been shaken up by something so simple as the absence of a beverage!

I never really thought of myself as someone who relies on routine (although it would probably do me a world of good!). But I do enjoy my morning rituals to get a good start on the day. In the absence of coffee, I've been adding some variations to my morning lemon, basil, strawberries, peach slices, cucumber slices or some combination thereof. Then I drink green tea throughout the day (still not ready to totally kick caffeine).

Habits are interesting. Have you ever established a habit or routine that seemed like an insignificant part of your day until you gave it up?

Friday, August 3, 2012

Once in a blue moon? Not yet, apparently!

So...I have thought that the definition of a blue moon is the occurrence of two full moons in the same month, which would mean we would have a blue moon this month.  While apparently this is a commonly held assumption, health coach & all around lovely lunar goddess Samantha Honey Pollock posted a link on her Facebook page to the Farmers Almanac/ Wikipedia definition of a blue moon, which is four full moons in the same season.  According to this definition, the next blue moon will occur in August 2013!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Full Wort Moon

Time has escaped me this summer, and sitting down to write this post I noticed that my last entry was on the new moon.

I had set my intention to clear some clutter, and I am pleased to report on this full moon that I have made some excellent progress! Of course this is an ongoing goal for me, but it is so nice to look around and see...feel...some SPACE.

Yesterday I looked to find the name of tonight's moon. Different cultures have different names for each full moon, and I find this fascinating. So tonight's moon is known as, among others, the Sturgeon Moon, the Balsamic Moon, the Green Corn Moon, the Grain Moon, and the Wort Moon.

I was interested in the origin of the Wort Moon. Apparently "wort" is an Old English term for plant, herb, or vegetable. How appropriate, since my garden is overflowing with produce! Here in the Midwest we are starting to see a bountiful harvest.

I decided that my meditation for this moon would be on my gratitude for the herbs in my garden. I find it absolutely amazing and awe-inspiring that these plants that have been cultivated on our Earth longer than we have can flourish in the most unexpected places and beckon to us with their gifts...whether the gift of their aroma, their taste, or their medicine.

While we choose our favorite herbs to bring into our garden, there are others, volunteers, all around us, and I believe they can communicate something to us if we pay attention. I have wild red clover growing all over my yard. I have been researching its special properties and finding so many areas in which this herb could provide something that I specifically need.

I am grateful for the heady aroma of mint and lavender as I walk out my back door, and the comforting lemon balm that intensifies in the evening. I am grateful for the tulsi that makes a lovely tea to calm me when I am stressed and frazzled, and the basil that I have started to have in my morning lemon water.

The month of August this year will see two full moons ( this occurrence, if you didn't know, is the infamous "blue moon"). Two fabulous opportunities this month to reflect on all of these magical things...

Spending a few moments meditating on these things becomes extra important when you live with four children who seem to view the full moons as their personal holiday to drive Mama crazy...hence the origin of the word "lunacy". Just saying...

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Intentions for the New Moon

I woke up on today's new moon wondering what my intention for this lunar cycle would be.  For whatever reason I am not up to making a vision board, although they are quite fun.  My board from May is still very relevant and I am quite inspired by it, so there was nothing I felt like adding right now.  That very thought is what led to realizing what my intention could be...

There was nothing I felt like adding right now.  

Clutter and I go way back.  I have always struggled with the accumulation of STUFF.  I have a very difficult time getting rid of things and end up in a near constant state of chaos.

Over the past couple years I have really started to address this.  I have worked with professional organizers, lovely women, who held my hand and thankfully refrained from rolling their eyes while I hemmed and hawed about what I should keep and what could be donated or tossed.  But it never stuck.  Within a few months I would be right back to square one.

Back in February I participated in the lovely Hannah Marcotti's Making Space Cleanse.  Hannah's approach  led me to actually making real progress for the first time!  I took some baby steps that have lasted this long!  But still, it is a constant struggle in my life, and when I really let it get to me, it affects my husband and kids as well.

Hannah taught me about making space for the energy that I want in my life.  This goes far beyond STUFF...but includes how I take care of myself.  All of the clutter, all of the stuff that I was reluctant to part with, was causing me to stagnate creatively as well as with my health.

So...back to the Leo new intention is to only add what is necessary and to get rid of as much clutter as I make even more space.  Having the kids home from school this summer adds an extra challenge there, but I have seen how much they flourish when I am actually able to keep the house clutter-free.

Starting over on this new moon...getting rid of as much as I can and adding as little as possible...

Monday, July 16, 2012

A new project

Starting a new project is often very intimidating for me...but finishing is even more so! In the spirit of procrastination, I started knitting a simple lacy wrap to wear to my baby brother's 12 days. I was going to use a pattern I found on Ravelry, but in the interest of time and ease I have decided to freestyle it. I hope to have a finished product to post before July 28th!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

The Lady of the House

She was here when we moved in. She seems so much a part of the house, I have no intention of moving her. I love how she seems to be looking out onto the yard, I like to think of her as the protectress of my vegetable garden.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Shyness is nice...

"Ask" by the Smiths is on constant replay in my head this morning as I sent my shy boy off to his last day of nature camp.  His best buddy could not be there yesterday, so L was quite a bit apprehensive to go today, worrying that his friend might not come.  I can relate all too well to that feeling, that deep anxiety of "who will I talk to?" and "who will I sit with?".  As his mama I try to equip him with the tools he needs to work with these situations, and in doing so I often find myself building up my own toolbox.

I've learned to embrace my shyness as just another part of who I am. Even at 38 years old I still find my heart beating a bit too fast when it comes to "who will I talk to?" or "who will I sit with?" There is a lovely TED talk on the gift of introvertedness and plenty of amazing blogger folks out there who have recently written about their own shyness in support of one another.  It is really so reassuring to me to see people viewing shyness in a more positive light.

My shy boy is actually a total extrovert.  It just takes him awhile to get to that point of comfort with people.  He makes friends easily, but doing so often makes him so nervous and unsure of himself.  It is my job and my goal to help him to see that this is part of who he is, and that's OK.  This can be part of his gift.  I have seen him channel his own shyness into empathy for other children who may feel the same, and making some really great little friends.

I came across this blog post this morning and felt compelled to share.  When I pick up L from camp I am excited to hear how it went today.  I am grateful to have a child who teaches me so much.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Lovely Lavender Lemonade

My parents have the magic touch when it comes to growing lavender. Each summer their yard is filled with the gorgeous fragrance and elegant flowers. It is probably because of that that I have such a fondness for this herb.

When I was in college a friend introduced me to aromatherapy, and I was hooked. It soon seemed, however, that I always came back to my favorite, which is lavender.

Therapeutically lavender is so beneficial and it's uses are endless. Culinary-wise, it provides a distinguished yet subtle flavor. Yesterday I made a lovely pitcher of lavender mint lemonade, and I am sipping it now as I type.

I made a lavender simple syrup, which is just sugar and water (equal parts) in a pot until boiling, then remove from heat and add fresh lavender flowers. I just eyeballed the measurements with what I had on hand, so maybe 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 cup water, and 1/3 cup lavender. Keep in mind I used fresh lavender, so the amount would be different if using dried. I let the lavender steep about 20 minutes in the syrup, then poured it into a pitcher. From there, I squeezed two lemons and added water to fill, and lots of ice. I then tore some mint leaves into small pieces and pressed them to the bottom of the pitcher with a wooden spoon, crushing them a bit to release their oils.

I thought this was the perfect summertime beverage. My kids on the other hand, not so much. They would have liked it sweeter. If I do make them a pitcher again, I will add honey. Honey makes everything better! Happy sipping!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Sore throat weekend

Not that anyone ever enjoys having a sore throat...but I really, really hate it. As a kid I would get strep throat at least once a year, and had what seemed like one long continuous cold all through elementary school. Thankfully as an adult I am much healthier! Yet something about a sore throat brings back those miserable feelings of "when will this end?" and "what did I do wrong?".

Having birthed four children I feel a bit ridiculous lamenting a sore throat! All in all, it really is not that horrible...just uncomfortable. Lack of comfort...moving beyond comfort...

What is the best way to handle moving beyond one's own comfort zone (speaking in a larger sense here, not just about my throat)? What does that physical feeling of discomfort try to tell is in our bodies? In my case, I am guessing it is my body's signal that I need more rest and more water. I am guilty of pontificating on the benefits of adequate hydration but then falling short myself. I suppose it is another one of those lessons...

When I re-frame minor discomfort I can see it for the gift, or lesson, that it is. Now major discomfort, whether it is physical or emotional, is a bit more difficult (at least for me) to re-frame. What is my body telling me, and why? I try to tune in, and listen.

Monday, July 2, 2012

On the Eve of the Mead Moon

A few years ago I discovered a lovely book, "Full Moon Feast" by Jessica Prentice. Part cookbook, part Moon lore, part locavore's diary, this book captured my imagination and my appetite. I have always had a fascination with the moon, and longed to be more "in tune".

I somehow lost track of the book, but just re-discovered it today, just in time for tomorrow's Full Mead Moon ( aka Full Thunder Moon, and many other names depending on who you ask). A feast involving honey...goodness, anything involving just my thing! My first prep task was to cut back my mint, which I think I will combine with honey (my favorite, from Risk's Apiary/Swarm Naturals) for a simple syrup. I'm going to have to look at Prentice's recipes and see what else I can come up with.

I am taking an online course from Samantha Honey Pollock called "Intuitive Moon Wisdom", and really enjoying it! It feels good to be "in tune", once again!

Friday, June 29, 2012


Getting the kids to bed in the summer months gives me the opportunity to witness many sunsets. When I was a little girl I was fascinated with the way the sky would turn into a parfait of color. This still calms me, and brings to mind the word that's been on my mind lately...grace. Everywhere I look, the word appears. Everywhere I look, grace appears. The day ends and we rest before another begins...we get this chance every day. There it is, grace.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Under Construction!

Apologies if this blog is looking weird, especially on your mobile device. I am working on it!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Calm down, calm down

Sitting with a 5 year-old who really does not want to sleep at 9:58 PM is an exercise in...something. Patience, maybe, futility, most definitely. We have watched the sun set, we have discussed many a question such as "why does Santa wear red?" and "what animals have eyelids?" and other brilliant inquiries that seem to flood his little mind at bedtime. I remind him to take a deep breath, to let his body relax, be calm...but the energy of an almost-Kindergartener is bigger than any of my tactics. Eventually there is space between the questions and for the first time all day, actual silence. This is my meditation. My little Buddha is asleep.

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Location:Calm down, calm down