Thursday, April 26, 2012

"I'm a Dish Washer!"

Sometimes the best activities are the most simple.  A little soap and water can take you a long way!   Serafin love's "washing dishes" and I consider it a nice way to teach her some responsibility. It's also a great way to keep the kiddo occupied while you chop up some veggies and put dinner together.  Here are a couple of fun photos plus a video of my little "dish washer" (please excuse the plumber's butt!).  

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Oh Sweet Neti Pot!

(My neti pot lives on the shelf in our kitchen)

  Well, I've talked about poop and vomit on this blog, it's about time I write about snot!  I have recently really discovered the wonders of the Neti Pot!  I've had one sitting around our house for years and used it only on occasion, like when I had a nasty cold.  In the last 3 months my sinuses have been totally flared up.  I hear allergy season is particularly bad this year and I'm thinking that might have something to do with it--a lot of people seem to be complaining.

After a phone conversation with my brother, another pro-neti pot advocate, I decided to give it another honest try.  I researched online to find a recommended saline solution and kind of came up with my own little concoction.  What's the kicker???  Apple Cider Vinegar!

I have been flushing my sinuses 1-2 times per day, . . .WOW what  a difference.  Little Serafin now now comes in and says, "Mommy, are you getting rid of your snot??"  It makes me laugh.  Here's what I've been doing, . . .


1)  Mix and grind up the following: 

    • 3/4 cups salt, non iodized, I used Black Diamond Koscher
    • 3 Tablespoons of Baking Soda

2)  Store in a sealed container.

3)  When you are ready to flush those sinuses, . . . .
          -Add 1/2 tsp of solution into tepid water.  

          -Stir so that salt dissolves.  

          -Add 10 drops of Apple Cider Vinegar (if you really want a zing, use 1/2 tsp of ACV,   
           it might sting a little, but your sinuses will thank you for it later.)


What I've noticed, in my experience, if it hurts or stings, you are less likely to do it!  So play with the solution and find what works for you.  This recipe is a good place to start, but don't forget, we're all different and what clears my snot, might not clear yours!  Don't give up though, once you are "clear" it will be worth it in the end!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Catnip teething pops!

Catnip isn't just for cats, it has quite an amazing impact on us two legged creatures as well!  While giving a handful of this herb to our furry friends makes them go a bit crazy, it has the opposite affect on us.  When I drink a cup of catnip tea I find myself winding down and getting sleepy.  It helps calm the nervous system and is an analgesic, pain reliever.  

Catnip has been given to children as a teething remedy for ages.  It is a very gentle herb.  I figured, since ice also helps numb the gums, I thought I could give Silas a double wammy and hit him with two teething tricks at once.  Henceforth we began making catnip teething pops!

They are simple to make, just brew some catnip tea, using a ration of 1 Tsp to 1 cup of water.  Once the brew  has cooled, freeze the tea in ice-cube trays.  When you child is driving you batty and needs something to gnash on, you can either put one in one in a mesh feeder, or, my more preferred method, put it in a cloth napkin, secure it with a knot or piece of string and let your child go to town.  If anything, it will give your kiddo something to do for a little while!  Poor little ones, teething is no fun!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Egg Shades

One afternoon I was looking for something for Serafin to paint and thought it might be fun to do something with an egg carton.  We go through so many eggs in this house and I'm always looking for creative ways to re-use them.  Todays project was a success!  We ended up painting and making some goggles!  Serafin had fun wearing her new shades as well as forcing them on me and Silas!

First, of course, Serafin tries them on, . . .

Then subjects poor Silas to them, . . .

And then me, . . . (SEXY!)

Then she wanted them back and wore them on her head for an hour before taking them off (after which she proceeded to stomp on them).  Whoot whoot!  An eventful day!

PS, . . . I just found this awesome blog that does these fun challenges and I thought I would partake.  This one was dedicated to egg cartons--go figure!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Spring time!

Spring is here, . . . sigh.  My favorite time of year.  Such an affirmation of life.  I love taking the dogs out and watching them go crazy with new smells and soft dirt to dig into.  

The wild flowers bloom more and more as the days go by.  Mother nature paints orange, yellow, purple and pink dots all over the hills.  So beautiful.  I find peace walking through nature.

I have to say, the trails up in the Oakland hills have been a refuge for me.  In times of hardship, somehow, the trees, the hills and the sky bring me warmth, even when it's cold and windy outside.  I have walked these paths for a number of years, I have walked them slow, I have walked them briskly, I have walked them at 9 months pregnant, with a child on my back, I've stopped and sat in the grass to breath, I've clambered up random pathless hills and rock climbed my way down the other side.  I can find my way around these hills in my sleep.

Mother Nature, . . . thank you for your gift of life and beauty!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Remembering Mom

April 6th, . . . two years since Mom passed.  I miss her so much.  Today I will light a candle, have a cup of tea, and think of her.  Lemon Balm will be appropriate.  She always loved that tea, plus it's a wonderful and tasty herb tea that helps relax the nervous system.  If you have a moment, please share some fond memories you have of her below in the "comments section".  Her memory lives on inside us.  

Remembering Mom, . . . 

There are so many memories, here are a few, . . .

Listening to her heart beat as she rocked me when I was a child.
The firm grip she held on my arm when she pulled me away from something I should not be doing.
Telling me about the "birds and the bees" and what it was to become a woman.
Fixing me herbal concoctions for my health and well being. 
Catching my tears when I would cry about something.
Using spit to clean the dirt off from my cheek (she still attempted to do this even as I  became an adult!).
Walking with her and her telling me what herbs were what.
Picking plants with her and making medicine.
Staying up late, studying for tests and writing essays with her help.
Cooking with her and eating her delicious food. 
The trips, the car rides, the long plane flights, the world we saw together.
Watching "Survivor"!
Gossiping on the phone.
The holidays.
Hanging out.
Feeling Loved.

And some memories in photos, if you have any to add, please forward them to me via email and I will include them, . . . 

Greece!  Oh what feasts we had!

More feasting, and this one cooked by Mom of course, she was an amazing cook!

More adventures!  We travelled all over the world together.

My baby shower for Serafin.

Fun times

X-mas time, her favorite holiday.

Funny Faces (my mom was never too shy when it came to being a goof)

Bora Bora

On the front lawn with my greek yaya.

Feeling the energy in a stone circle with Dad.

Rocking Serafin.

When Paul and I were little.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Operation Orcas: Take 3

So I managed to get up to Orcas in one piece, it was a long trip up and I'm not particularly looking forward to the trip back.  It's hard traveling with a baby!  That said, so far Silas has been a super trooper.  Tomorrow I head into Seattle to hang out for the day and see my bro and his family.  That will be nice and it will also break up my trip home a bit.  Orcas is as beautiful as ever.  This place still feels right to me.  Oh yeah, I'm also happy to announce that Ecstatic Dance has made it to Orcas!  Yay!  That will be fun!  I am excited about living here.  

Anyway, let's get down to the nitty gritty, I know you are all wondering, . . . what about the homes???   I looked at four homes on this visit and, fortunately, Gary and I both have the same top two.  So that's good!  I believe we could live in both homes happily.  But how do we choose which one?  Now begins the weighing pros and cons.  

The breakdown, . . .

Home #1 (not in order of preference): 

( There are views in almost every room in this house, here is a picture of the view from the master bedroom!  Wouldn't it be amazing to wake up to that everyday?)

This place has the "awe" factor as soon as you walk into it.  It's gorgeous.  GORGEOUS!  There is tons of inside space and an amazing view.  It is high up on the mountain which means that the land around it is rocky and also has some very steep slopes.  Despite this, the land is still beautiful, it's a mossy heaven up there.  Being so high, also means we will be snowed in a few days each winter, . . . but it wouldn't necessarily matter in this home, in this home,  you would enjoy a winter storm.  

This place has great finishing touches.  The kitchen has cherry wood cabinets and a huge range.  Each bathroom has some cool tiling and pretty colors.  There is also a river rock fire place that runs straight up through the living and kitchen area (picture to the right).  Gary told me that Serafin tried to climb up it when she visited!  Also, . . . vaulted ceilings, . . . need I say more?  

The home itself is very practical, but the location and the lands around it are not.  The outside needs work, there is no garden space and a lot of the outside space would need some major fencing to keep the kids from diving off the hillside.  Now that makes me nervous.  Although the lands aren't that bad, I'm still not sure if I want to deal with the worry this property might bring in terms of child safety.  

Home #2: 

A sweet home.  This is your typical ranch style house.  No "awe" factor, like the other, but this was a very calming, mellow home.  It definitely felt like more of a "family" home.  There is a large living area and dining room and I easily pictured Christmas and Thanksgiving feasts here.  I could almost hear little feet running around in the hall way.  

A major plus about this property is the surrounding land.  It's much flatter and the garden is already set up and ready to go.  The location is better in terms of locality to other families and island resources.   The land itself is divided into three plots, if we ever needed to sell a parcel for extra income, or whatever, we could.    
. . . 

So there you go!  After some serious hashing it out with Gary, I'm sure we will figure out which one we are going to shoot for.  At least there are some real potentials here.  I truly believe if it's meant to be, it will be and if not, then there is a reason for that.  We'll see what happens and you can bet that I will keep you posted!  It's sooooooooo crazy to think that if this all goes through we might be moving this summer!  AGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

"The Crows of Pearblossom" Art Project Part II: The Eggs

So after finishing the nest from Serafin's book, "The Crows of Pearblossom", we decided to make Mrs. Crows eggs next.  Mrs. Crow lays an egg everyday, ("accept Sundays and national holidays").  Her eggs are green with black spots.  In the story, the day the rattlesnake is outsmarted, there are two eggs in the nest and of course the greedy snake decided to eat them!

We had fun making the eggs.  Since Easter is right around the corner, I thought it was appropriate to do the eggs sooner rather than later.  You can do this with whatever colors you want, if you're like me, you have a box of tissue paper somewhere in your house waiting to be used.  Since Mrs. Crow's eggs are green, we stuck with one color.

The process, . . .

First blow out the yolk of some uncooked eggs, to do this, poke a small whole in the bottom and top of eggs and literally blow out the insides, of course don't waste them, make some scrambled eggs!  Let the egg shells dry out before you begin decorating.  

Cut up tissue paper, whatever colors you want, it would be fun to do many colors on one egg if you are doing easter eggs.

Use a glue that will dry clear, I have a love affair with Mod Podge.  Cover egg in glue and start applying paper to egg.  

Keep applying more tissue paper, adding more glue on each layer.  

 To add the black spots, or whatever you want to add (stripes, stars, hearts, whatever!), cut construction paper into the shape you want, add to the outside of the egg and once again, cover in glue.  Let dry!  

We also added some glitter for a little sparkle!

Stay tuned for our next project, . . the rattle-snake!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

To Be A Mom

Another one of Gary's photos, ya think Mr. Silas could be teething??

I always wanted to have kids.  When I pictured myself grown up and older, I always imagined having a family, particularly with two children, a boy and a girl.  I think because that was how my first nuclear family was formed, that's how I also imagined it.  After trying to become pregnant for almost four years, my sweet daughter Serafin was born.  I felt like my dreams had come true, like a gap was filled inside me.  I had found my "job", . . . to be a mom.

 I believe there is a period of time in everybody's life where they search.  For what?  For contentment.  For a purpose.  For the job that keeps them smiling and amused.  For that "something" that "feels right".  I finally felt like I had gotten what I was in search of with the birth of my first child.  Silas' birth only furthered this feeling.  When he was born, I felt that our family was complete.  

When I look over old blog posts, or look at pictures, I see how much I do with my children.  I see how fast they grow.  It feels like only yesterday that I was pregnant and awaiting the arrival of our first born.  I love being a mom.  I have fun teaching my children things and spending time with them, . . . being creative.  I know I could always do more or do things differently, but parenthood is a learning process.  My children are my teachers too!   I feel blessed that I am in the situation where I can spend this period of their lives with them, connecting with them and being present in their lives.  This is what I wanted.

On the flip side, as life always has it's ups and downs, . . .it isn't always easy!  In fact, a lot of the time I feel like I'm in a circus, juggling life or teetering on a tight rope.  Sometimes I feel like I'm about to fall off into insanity!  Parenthood is amazing, . . . and it's tough.  I NEVER, EVER, thought it would be easy.  

I have always enjoyed my independence and having "Jess Time", which is now slipped in between doing chores, bouncing babies, making sure I, and everybody else, gets fed, bathed and put to bed.  After Serafin was born I struggled with this loss of independence and now that Silas is here, I struggle again.  How do I get "me" time when I'm hardly ever alone?  It ain't easy, I'll tell you that!  I have trouble scheduling anything these days, let alone scheduling in things that I want to do for myself.  These days I'm a "let's play it by ear" gal, it all depends on how much sleep I get the night before.  The plus side is that in a lot of ways having children is teaching me to be more layed back and to let go into life more and more.

You could have guessed, or not, that I'm writing this after having a very difficult night of waking every 1-2 hours, being a human pacifier, holding my crying child, crying myself, praying for sleep, and feeling drained and exhausted.  Yet when the sun comes up and the day gets going, somehow I continue on.  One day at a time, right?  It is all made right when little Silas smiles at me or sweet Serafin tells me she loves me.  My family is my life and as difficult it might be, I wouldn't change a thing (accept maybe throw in a few more hours of sleep here and there!).  Once again I am humbled by gratitude.  I also have to acknowledge that I couldn't do it without my dear hubby who is always around to help (thank goodness)!  I am a blessed woman.