Tuesday, September 30, 2014

A Gift from Maine

I know many of you already know what this is.  I have looked and looked down here where I live and have not been able to find it anywhere, lots of thistle but no Burdock.  I so remember this growing up, walking through the field and come home with them tangled in my hair, or tangled in the dogs coat, stuck to my clothes.  OUCH!  But now that I want some I can't find it.  So knowing I was making a trip to Maine, I made it my mission to find some and bring back the root with me to tincture.

My aunt helped me find this on her property.  She joked as we were looking that she has been working hard to eliminate it.  I guess we will help with that and take these two roots home with us.  Along with some of the seed pods we found, I will let the seed pods dry completely and harvest the seeds.  And yes Nancy, I did cut one root in half and saved one half for you.

If you want to learn more about burdock just do a google search and you will find lots of information.

Monday, September 29, 2014

If Money Were No Object.....

This is a question Nancy shared, so we will be blogging about this today:  "If money were no object, what would you do and what would you have done."

My mother shared something with me early on in life, that money (or the lack of) will not hold me back, that if I can think it, dream it, then it will happen, we will find a way.   She was speaking more about college at that time, but the philosophy has never let me down.  When college came around and I was deciding where to go, (at the time we had no money for college) she told me to pick the school I "wanted" and the money would come from somewhere, we would make it happen.  So I chose a private college, the tuition was high but it was the best at my major and proved to be the right choice.  We worked hard, I studied hard, received many scholarships and made it work.  

So I carry that philosophy with me everywhere, there have been times in my life when I have been poor and times when I have lived comfortably.  But money was not the object.  So there is nothing I would have done differently if I had all the money in the world, and nothing I would be doing now if I had all the money in the world.  Money isn't the driving force, *I* am.  

I had put off writing about this until almost the last minute. I  had to think about it, but once I started thinking about money, the answer was clear.  Thank you all for reading.

This is a cooperative blogging exercise I am experiencing with a friend.  So if you would like to read what Nancy has to say on this subject, visit her blog, A Present Moment

Friday, September 26, 2014

Friday Reflections

We have been home for three days now.  So the first part of the week I spent in Maine.  Listening to the waves crashing against the rocks, such a wonderfully comforting sound.  Sharing all that is my home with my boys, watching them enjoy the beauty of the Maine coast, getting to know my family a bit better and having fun.

I miss my family so much, but I love where I am and I know this is the place I am meant to be at this point in time. I do know that I need to get back home more often.

Right now it is 6:00 I am listening to the silence of another Friday morning.  Love the mornings.  Thinking about what I will make for breakfast.

I am currently reading She , this is a book that I found in my stash from my mom.  It was so brittle that I couldn't read it, the pages just fall to pieces, so I have been using pages in my art journal.  Well I decided to download it onto my tablet and actually read the book.  It sounds so interesting, but so far the first 100 pages are less than impressive.  I am going to give it a bit more time to grow on me before I put it down. We shall see.

Much of the latter part of my week has been catching up on "home stuff", paying bills, opening mail, answering e mail (or deleting e mail), planning homeschool activities for the next few months and just generally getting caught up.  I think I am back on track now and next week should be an easier, smoother week for me.

I will say that with this vacation we made an effort to be back to the cottage relatively early, by 7 or 8 in the evening and on several nights we rented a DVD to watch.  This was so helpful in staying connected with my boys.  Generally on vacation we are busy, having fun yes, but busy.  Just so much stimuli that we don't stay as connected as we are at home.  This usually leaves me feeling uneasy.  I don't like that feeling of disconnect.  And it takes time when we return from vacation to restore that equilibrium.  This time was different.  That extra effort in staying connected during the vacation really has made a difference in our return home.  It made for a much gentler transition.  I am going to remember this and make that effort with vacations in the future, just taking time each day to stay connected, the four of us.

Hope you all had a wonderful week.

View from the top of the Pemaquid Lighthouse

Thursday, September 25, 2014

My Big Brother

Back to more scenery later on, now I want to show off my big brother.  So everyone, meet Jeff.  He is a wonderful brother and I wouldn't trade him for the world.  He has had some struggles in his life but takes the punches and pushes on through, coming out stronger than before.  If only he would believe he is as great as I know he is.  Love my Bro.

Here we are with my boys, Dallen and Phillip

These pics are of our matching tattoos.  While I was home we decided to get matching DNA tattoos.  The artist used the same pencil drawing for both tattoos, mine is on the inside of my forearm, and Jeff's is around his wrist.  He chose to add some red to his tattoo and add his initials on the inside of his wrist, mine is straight.  You can see we just had them done the day before and they are a little red.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

I'm Back and the Pemaquid Lighthouse

The trip to Maine was wonderful and I do have things to say about our trip.  But right now I am settling back into being home, catching up, sorting and thinking.  So I thought over the next few days I would share some photos from our trip.  Hope you enjoy, these are from our trip to the Pemaquid Lighthouse.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

How the Live and Learn Conference Changed Our Lives

I think I have talked about the Live and Learn Conference in the past.  Our first ever homeschool confernece was the Live and Learn Unschooling Conference.  Jackson and I had read Mary Griffith's Unschooling Handbook, and really believed in the philosophy of child autonomy.  At that conference I really became cemented in those beliefs, I found friends, I found like minded people, I found my confidence in not only my parenting but in my ability to host conferences myself.  My children also found a passion.

It started with that very first conference when my boys won some table top miniatures, they became so passionate about table top games and Warhammer 40,000 in particular.  They so love reading about the game, reading novels based on the game, watching videos about the game, watching videos about painting the miniature, playing the game and painting their own miniatures.

It is so nice to sit down at the dining room table to paint, and there beside me are my boys painting miniatures.  It really reminds me just how special that first conference was, where it has led us.  How my boys are such unique, wonderful individuals because we read that first book, attended that first conference and decided to not only go against the grain by homeschooling but go REALLY against the grain by letting our boys make decisions about their own lives from the beginning.  No school for us, no replicating school in the home, but really reaching outside the box and letting them be truly autonomous.  Autonomous in a loving family and community.  Autonomous with so many adults there to lean on, ask questions of, brainstorm with, try ideas on, grow with, reach for, build with and really thrive.  I am amazed at where life takes us and takes the boys, where their interests go, where their passions live.  And every time I see these wonderfully painted miniatures I remember once again, and hope others were so touched by the Live and Learn Conference as well.

Miniatures hand painted by Phillip

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Crocheting for ME

I have taken a break from knitting Christmas presents and knitting items for my etsy shop.  This project is for me and I am really enjoying watching it come together.  It is a series of patterns really, but crocheted one on top of the other with a beautiful cable and knurl pattern in between each section. I am about 3/4 done.  Need to finish up this one section, add on the cable pattern and then crochet the beautiful boarder, which will add points to the ends of the patterns.

I so wanted to crochet this with some beautiful wool yarn but that would make it the MOST expensive project I have ever crocheted, so instead chose a soft acrylic yarn.  The pattern is from the redheart site. Called Basketweaave Diamond Throw and Pillow, although I am not making the pillow just the throw.  It is an easy pattern, there are a couple of stitches I had to think about first before jumping in but overall I think it is pretty easy and I may make another when I finish.  I will show you a finished picture in another week or two when I have it complete!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Coming Home to a CLEAN House!

One of the top things on my "what a great feeling" list is coming home from a vacation to a clean house.  It doesn't always happen, but when it does I just love that feeling.  I know it is the same amount of work if it gets done before I go on vacation or when I return.  And yes it really only matters to me, my boys really don't care.  But I like coming home to clean sheets on the bed, floors vacuumed, swept and mopped, basic dusting done, all dishes clean, laundry all washed and things picked up and put away.

I know that our husky, Sugar, will have plenty of fluffy fur balls just hanging around when we get back, but that's OK.  I know I can come home, dogs will be happy, I can set my luggage down and sleep, or unpack, or whatever.

So today has been a "cleaning day".  My todo list was long, and I still have a few more items to check off before I go to bed tonight.  But things are looking OK around here.  I don't want to say perfect as my house is never "really" super clean, just clean enough for me and my comfort level.  I can relax a little on vacation, let things go and know those are tasks NOT waiting when I return.

Monday, September 15, 2014

What's On My Nightstand

This is another cooperative bogging post. And, again, an idea I ran across searching the web.

What is on my nightstand...actually not a whole lot, but what is there is important to me. You can see i have the remote and a small lamp. That blueberry lamp is one that Jackson and I picked up in Maine years ago, love it! The organizer tote holds the body butter I made for me feet, smells so floral, and is part of my daily routine. Ever since I fractured my ankle a few years ago, I have been so grateful for how many miles my feet carry me, so I bless my feet and thank them daily with a foot massage and fabulous cream! Also in that tote are massage oils, pens for journaling, beautiful hair clips, scissors and a few other odds and ends.

You can also see, on my nightstand, a few stitch markers and a small notepad. I do occasionally knit in bed, and as any good knitter knows, it is best to be prepared. Just to the left of the lamp, and almost too small to notice, is a tic-tac-toe board my son Dallen made for me out of sculpey clay, many years ago.  To the left of the organizer tote are a stack of books. Just books I like to pick up now and again to reference. A couple of herbal books and a few on menopause by Susan Weed. As I approach 50, I can feel changes in my body and I want to know how to best naturally approach this wonderful part of my life. My mother had a hysterectomy prior to menopause, she handled this abrupt menopause beautifully, and had minimal symptoms. But she is gone now so I have no one, familial, to talk to about this. But will do as I have always done and gather all the information I can and do what feels right for me.

Also to the left of the organizer tote are my oracle cards, and on top, is my mantra for the year. Helpful words. My focus on this one card has helped with such inner growth for me. "Stay in your own skin." And last but not least, a picture of Jackson and Dallen. This photo was taken in Germany, when we lived in Augsburg, prior to the birth of Phillip. I should find a picture of all three of them, or maybe add a picture of Jackson and Phillip, I have so many to choose from.

There you have it, that is what is on my nightstand right now. If you decide to share what is on your nightstand, please leave a link in the comments here, I would love to visit your blog and see. If you want to see what is on my friend Nancy's nightstand, visit her at A Present Moment.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Friday Reflections or The Real "Mom's Night Out"

OK so before I give my opinion of the movie Mom's Night Out, let me start by reflecting more on my week.

It is right now 6:45 AM, and I just finished a 20 minute yoga session with Jackson, I purchased a new yoga CD and Jackson has been doing yoga with me in the mornings for about a week now.  It feels really good to be doing yoga in the morning, just stretching out before I start the day.

It is still dark outside and all I can hear at the moment are the keys clicking on the keyboard.  My quiet time.
This has been a busy week, we are getting ready to go on vacation to Maine, so everyone here is real excited about that.  It has been years since we traveled back to my home, the boys remember very little about our last trip to Maine, so we are busy making plans.  Also trying to get passports renewed and make travel plans for a trip back to Germany in November/December.  Not sure of the exact dates yet but we are getting closer to pinning it down.

Jackson and I did take an evening to watch the movie Mom's Night Out, this week.  Actually, "truth be told", we only watched 45 minutes of it, we just felt it wasn't worth wasting any more of our time.  So in all honesty maybe the last 53 minutes of the movie were awesome and we just missed it.  There was just no point to the movie.  It seemed to me that it was one exhausted mom and her string of stressful events, complete with two other "mom" witnesses.  Like the goal of the movie was to pack a series of stressful events together into 98 minutes and try to make them funny.  I just didn't see the point to the movie, many of these "funny" events weren't even funny.  They show here twisting her ankle in high heeled shoes as she walks down the sidewalk, supposed to be funny, (I can so relate, I don't think I could walk in heels any more) but then a minute later she is running across the parking lot in those same heels.

Well, I have been attending a monthly Mom's Night Out for about the past 12 years.  Yes every month. When my boys were younger these nights were so imperative.  It was time for me to be with other women (and over the years a couple of men) who understand where I am coming from, who know what it is like being home with the kids, running around to park days and activities.   I so enjoyed getting out without my children or husband and getting together like that, for even just a couple of hours.  We could talk about the husband and kids and our lives, and each other and our passions and hobbies..  We sometimes laugh so hard we are in tears.  We share our sorrows as well and support each other.  I have made some life long friends with the help of Mom's Night Out.  Which is why I still attend.  Not because I am not away from my children on other days, my boys are older now and more than capable of staying home alone.  But because of the friendships I have made, a chance to reconnect with these people, some I see on a more frequent basis and some not.  A chance to welcome other moms into the monthly ritual, and support those moms. It is nourishment for the soul.

I feel like that could have been a topic for such a great movie, with laughter and tears, sharing moments.  But it really fell short.  I was disappointed.

Now the sun is starting to rise, I can see light peeking in the window, so time to move forward with my day. I hope you all had, and continue to have, a wonderful week!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The Way He Looks at Me

Sometimes I like to hear the words that express how my husband feels about me but most of the time words aren't necessary, I can tell by the way he looks at me.

I stopped by my husbands office yesterday, just a quick trip to show the staff something.  And as I was standing there, chatting through a window in the receptionist's office, he walked by from one room on his way to another, just stopping long enough to hand off some paperwork.  As he handed the file, he looked up and saw me standing there, he looked in one window across his receptionist's office and through the other window and caught my eye.  He just had that look on his face like he was so glad to see me, his eyes had a spark in them and he smiled.  He didn't pause long enough to say anything, but long enough to say everything.

He just looked at me with such love and caring in his eyes.  I haven't mentioned this to him, but that smile just lights up my world.  It makes me feel so cherished, and loved.  I hope he sees that same look in my eyes. We have been through a lot the past 21 years.  Deaths in the family as well as births, we have helped each other through some tough times, supported each other's dreams.  We continue to lean on each other when things around us seem to be going crazy.  We never get so caught up in what we are doing that we can't take just a second to look up and pause and remember where our center is, it is with each other.

He looks at me today the way he looked at me when we were dating, the way he looked at me when our boys were born, the way he looked at me last week.  And I will never get tired of the way he looks at me.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Wednesday is Doughnut Day

Well not at my house.  I have never made doughnuts.  While we were on vacation at the beach, a friend of mine brought two frozen, gluten free, dairy free, doughnuts.  She and I and her daughter shared the two doughnuts.  It made me think of my Grammy and I told her about my Grammy a bit and about doughnut day.

I am sure doughnut day changed days over the years, but growing up, Wednesday was always doughnut day at Grammy's house.  She was not an affectionate woman, not the "touchy/feely" type.  But she showed she cared by having baked goodies around her house all the time, and the one constant was doughnuts.  I always knew that in the Tupperware container, on top of the breadbox, to the right of the sink were doughnuts.  I could sit down and always have a doughnut and a cuppa tea.  She always had a percolator brewing with tea,  on the stove, ready to be mixed with sugar and milk.  Perfect to go with the doughnuts (or pie or cake).  

Reminiscing about Grammy also brought back the one time I remember my dad making doughnuts.  It was at a time when my mom was working night shift.  That didn't happen for long, but during that time of night shifts, I remember not sleeping well, knowing she was not at home.  One particular night I couldn't sleep, I think I was probably around 12, I came downstairs to get a drink of water.  My dad, who couldn't sleep either, was making chocolate doughnuts.  So we both stayed up.  I watched as he made the doughnuts, then we shared a few and went back to bed.  I don't remember my dad making doughnuts any other time, but at that time it was very comforting.

So in talking about my Grammy and my dad, with my boys, I decided I was going to make doughnuts, not her recipe but one I found on the Internet, a close second to Grammy's.  The boys have been looking forward to doughnuts, since talking about it.  I used my Grammy's bread board, much easier than cleaning up the counter after making the doughnuts.  You can see the wear mark in the front from her continued use. They turned out delicious.  I decided to cover mine in cinnamon and sugar, a bonus!  Not weekly, but maybe we will have to have more doughnut days in our house.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Sunlight Hits My World

I have never been an early morning person, this is a recent change in my life.  Maybe for the last 3 years or so I have switched gears and become an "early riser".  Such a different perspective. I get to see the sunlight, lighting up my world almost every day.  It is nice to sit here in the quiet, Jackson at work, the boys still asleep, the dogs napping.  I enjoy this time to myself, taking care of myself so that I can facilitate the lives of my boys, be here for them, present in this place in time.  That sunrise is so affirming...new beginnings, light and love, illuminating the world.  I enjoy seeing how that sunrise dances in our home, see how it shimmers and plays with the ordinary to create extraordinary, always amazing.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Home Again...Home Again

It is amazing how being on vacation just makes me love being home even more.  This last vacation was relaxing and energizing, but being home feels so connected.  Being on vacation my boys were occupied with their own activities, and I was busy reconnecting with friends, and having fun myself.  Bringing it all back home, I take with me all the energy I found on vacation and balance that out with reconnecting with my family, Jackson and the boys.  It is nice to hear them around the house as we settle back into familiar routines, seeing Phil next to me on his computer, while I am typing away at mine.

I have a new sense of drive toward accomplishing some of those unfinished projects around the house, inside and out.  I just feel so refreshed.

I don't have any cute picture today, no sunrise, although I was up and watching the sun peek up over the hills this morning.  I just feel very full, very loved, very present, and that feels very good.