Sunday, August 22, 2010

Ready for Fall

I never thought I'd say it, but I am ready for a change of season.  Although work calls, it allows me to be uber-creative which is always fun.  Even Pip and Sprout are ready for school.  Sprout is entering kindergarten this year and joyfully announced to me to day, "I gonna learn EVERYTHING!"  It's so exciting to see their enthusiasm for school, which up to this point has been a very positive experience.  I'll keep my fingers crossed as Pip enters first grade.

It has been a difficult summer for outdoor activities.  The heat was just not an inconvenience; it was dangerous.  We spent brief amounts of time outside, but nothing like last summer. With September will come cooler weather, so hopefully we can make up for lost time!

Me, Reflecting on Fall
One thing I would like to accomplish is painting our living/everything room (we have one room in our house for "living" other than the kitchen).  We have dark woods, which I love, but combined with our  walls painted in Beeswax, it makes for a gloomy, shadowy room when the sun rises late and sets well before we are ready to turn in - any suggestions?

I successfully made Mary Beth's recipe for Everyday Granola - it is totally yummy mixed in with Greek yogurt.  I am looking forward to doing a lot more baking and cooking this year now that I have completed all of my classes (yippee!) and will have more time to spare.  What recipes are you looking forward to making, now that it won't be painful to have a 400 degree oven on in the house? : )

Friday, August 20, 2010

Blasted Blarmy Heatwave!

Well, I don't even know if Blarmy is a word, but that's the one I'm using to describe this continuing heatwave.

It's a Code Orange day today, meaning dangerous heat and humidity.  According to my sources, it is this year's 54th day of 90+ degree temperatures, which is very unusual for these parts (kind of like, um, this year's blizzard!)

So what do you do on excessively hot days?  The movies?  The pool?  A museum or two? 

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Television and Other "Issues"

Pip and Sprout are "into" television these past couple of days, and I have to admit that I have given in to their requests more frequently than normal.

Maybe because I know that in just a couple of weeks it will be back to our school daze routine:  no television during the week and bedtime right at 8:00.  But I still feel guilty about not "engaging" with them every minute of the weeks we have left.  Am I too selfish, too lazy, or what?  Why is it that I forget about all the things we *do* do together (our vacation to the farm, the beach, trips to the park, collecting the acorns now falling, exercising our hermit crabs, going to the pool, having playdates, trips to the craft store, reading books on the front stoop, checking out books at the library) and remember only my "failings"?  Sigh. 

Some days I feel like the kids when Pip says, "This is the best day ever."  Other times I feel a little less than a Good Mom when Sprout says, "If you died Mom, we'd still have Dad.  That would be okay because he's awesomer.  He throws us in the pool and jumps of the diving board with us."  Need I remind you, dear daughter, that I have been the ONLY mom at the pool who has gone off the diving board.  Hurumph.  And never mind that dead part.

Do you ever have these feelings - television-related or not?  

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Book Review: My Teenage Werewolf

When I was contacted by Viking Press, offering me a free review copy of My Teenage Werewolf (disclosure, disclosure, blah, blah, blah), I responded immediately with a "Yes!"  Probably because my then four year old daughter (she has since turned 12...I mean, five), had just slammed her bedroom door on me or rolled her eyes at me or told me:  "You don't know STUFF, MOM!" (Four...FOUR!), I thought to myself that even though I don't have a teenage werewolf right now, I can tell one day I will.

Then, though, as I waited for my copy, I began to regret my enthusiasm.  I had just finished two classes and had enough of behavior and classroom management with a twist of brain-based learning strategies.  Why oh why had I set myself up for another academic read, I thought?

Then I received the book and couldn't put it down.  True, author Lauren Kessler takes us along on her pre-book research ride, covering her delving into developmental stages and myelin-forming studies and theories, but really this is a memoir of the 18 months she followed her 12 year-old daughter, Lizzie.  It is also, of course (how could it not be) a self-reflective piece, the author motivated by her own cold relationship with her mother that she wishes not to repeat. This roller coaster ride of emotion ends on a high(er) note, and we almost wish for a "sequel" to see how Lizzie is getting along.  We are rooting for her (and mom) all along.

Because I have an older friend with whom I spent many a coffee date going over the hurt and heartbreak and small victories of mothering teenage girls, I knew that so much of what Lauren writes about is true.  And there were so many small moments in the book that I have meant to internalize and that I feel I can touch upon when loving my daughter at any age. 

One of these points had to do with power, and how giving your child some power, something to make them feel that they are not powerless important in building their self-confidence and self-identity (these are my words, not hers, but this is what I took from the book).

Second, was something that has certainly stuck with me - an arm around the shoulder is more beneficial to a child than a finger in their face.  So true.

And finally, the third point that I remember from the book is that boys usually have a rite of passage, a passing of the torch if you will, with their fathers that involves something physical.  The day they beat their dad at hoops, or a race, or hit the ball farther.  Girls don't have these same rites of passage, and if they do, it usually involves beauty.  I intend, when the time comes, to provide a different sort of rite of passage for my daughter that involves strength and courage.

My Teenage Werewolf is a riveting read, made all the more poignant by the fact that someday, G-d willing, my daughter and I will be at this same threshold.  I hope we will cross it holding hands together...

Friday, August 13, 2010

Today is Chilly & A Couple Pictures from the Farm

The Kiss of the Sun for Pardon

My gosh, the temperature must have dropped at least 20 degrees.  It's overcast and rainy, which after days of sun, high temperatures, and humidity, I call cozy.

Could it be that summer is winding down?  Here are a few posts I have planned  for Gift of Green this week:

Checking in with SaltandChocolate.  She always has good ideas for transitioning to/from work between the seasons.

A review of My Teenage Werewolf by Lauren Kessler.  If you have daughters you'll want to read this, what I call, memoir of the author's daughter's middle school years.

Do you have any Teenage Werewolves at your house?

A Welcoming Path

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

We Went to the Beach...

And I forgot to take pictures.  But that's a good sign, isn't it?

When we returned from our vacation our fridge was dead.

Until our new one arrives, what  are your favorite recipes that do not require refrigerated ingredients?  And leftovers, please.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

We Were There

in all this greenness, just yesterday.  

Beautiful Afternoon on the Farm

Monday, August 2, 2010

Join Sew, Mama, Sew's back to school sew-fest!

I've recently discovered (or maybe re-discovered) the fabulous site Sew, Mama, Sew!  Join them (and me) for a month of fabulous tutorials, pattern give-aways, and ideas for getting back into the swing of school...even if it's just the school of life!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Bring Back my Mailbox!

I live in a fairly urban area and I realized today that there aren't any mailboxes within walking distance of my house!  I just hopped in the car in search of one.  Any mailbox request hotlines, United States Post Office?

On a bright note, I used these to stamp my letters:

Snail Mail Love

There is something nice about snail mail.