Monday, October 31, 2011

Wishing you a SUPER Halloween

Luigi and Mario, (and their parents, too) are wishing you a SUPER Halloween.  After the festivities, we grown-ups are facing a mini-horror of our own: a flea infestation, courtesy NoNuts.  Wish us luck, it's been/going to be a lot of cleaning and laundry.  Back tomorrow with a pumpkin recap from WBH.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Friday, October 28, 2011

Help the ONE.

I was listening to the news on the radio after preschool drop off.  The hosts were discussing the "Occupy" protesters, and what it is they're after.  Earlier that morning, I'd seen my friend steve post a picture of the protesters side by side with a picture of starving third-world children.  It was on my mind, the reminder that even in hard and frustrating times, we are privileged to live as we do.  So, I started a facebook group.  I wrote :

My name is Rachael, and like you, I'm a part of the 99%.  I'm frustrated about the economy, unethical business, and the fact that my family scrapes by while basketball and football players have tantrums demanding more money.  However, I'm not here to take a stand, or occupy anything.  I believe that both sides of the argument can agree: there is always someone worse off. 

If 99% of Americans took one day, one afternoon, or one hour to stop taking sides and help someone else, we could accomplish so much.  We might not change national policy, or cause a massive economic shift- but we might change someone's life. 

I'm committing, and asking you to commit, to serving some ONE on November 11, 2011 (11.11.11)  I won't reccomend any cause in particular.  Choose what you're passionate about, or where you can meet a need.  Please share our photo and pass on this challenge.  Let's "be the change we wish to see in the world."  

So, I hope you'll join me in this challenge.  There is always someone who needs help.  If you can't give money, give time.  Donate things you aren't using to an organization that will be able to reach those who need them.  Help a neighbor.   Do something.   Right now this group is holding at 40 members.  I would love to see it reach 100 by the 11th- a symbol that our efforts reach past the 99/1 percent divide.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Just a verse and a chorus, please.

This child- this bright eyed ginger child- may be the death of me one of these days.  The walking, the reaching new things, the rotten "I have something I shouldn't!" scrunched up shoulder run.  He may just be the death of me.  Even with all this new found mobility, though, he's still a mama's boy.  Several times a day, he comes to check in with me.  He toddles over and tries to climb up me, no matter where I am.  I scoop him up an he presses his face into my neck, and his soft squishy body into my arms, and I can almost hear him say "just a verse and a chorus, please."  So I sing to him, and then he's ready to tear up the world for another hour or two.  Then he comes to check in again, and we sing and snuggle for another verse and chorus more.  Someday, I know I'll be chasing him asking "oh Rotten, just a verse and a chorus, please?"  so I try to soak it all in while I can.  

Monday, October 24, 2011

I Made It Monday: Sock it To Ya

Dudes.  I knit a sock. 

It's just one, and it's not very good, but I broke through the 'socks are too complicated for me' mindset, and powered through, and I knit my very first sock.  Oh yeah, I did.  I found episodes of a show I love online, and as I knit, and thought 'just one more episode!'  it got later and later.   Suddenly it was 3:30am, I was out of new episodes, and I had shaped a heel.  I finished this morning.  

I won't be using it for anything but slippers, but I'm glad I decided to give it a try.  I used Silver's Sock Class, and that spelled it out really clearly.  It's a great place to start.  Now to let my hands rest, and tackle the other.  

Friday, October 21, 2011

Remaining An Artist

A few weeks ago, a library book jumped off the shelf and into my hands.  Does that ever happen to you?  I saw it, and before I knew what was happening, I was poring through the pages of Twyla Tharp's The Creative Habit.  Reading this book has been mind-changing.  I've had to take breaks to process what I've read, and how it applies to me.  

I wrote in my On Belief post "I believe in the power of creativity, and that it resides in everyone."  I've heard many people say they're not creative, and it makes me sad.  Creativity is a gift we're all born with- like our muscles, it grows stronger the more we use it.  It isn't only creating a beautiful work of art or writing a world-changing poem.  Creativity is finding a new way to teach your child something, it's the surprising meal you create when you stare into the fridge and pantry two days before payday.  It's inherent in everyone, and mothers have to exercise this gift more than anyone I can think of.   Pablo Picasso said, "All children are artists.  The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up."   It's so true!  The day-to-day can block the innovative skills and wear us down.  This has been on my mind this week as I read Tharp's chapter on breaking out of a rut. 

Stinky had been asking to go to the Museum of Glass for weeks.  We drive past its stainless steel cone almost daily, and curiosity got to him.  They have a collection of child-designed pieces that was perfect for him, and this week's Third Thursday Artwalk allowed our family the chance to go for free.  Exploring, I found this panel: 

Now, if you'll humor me for just a minute, and re-read it, replacing the word artist  with  mother.   Go ahead, I'll wait.  How awesome is that?  Now think, are you playing?  Are you getting  what you need to fire up your imagination?  I'm challenging myself to allow more room for creativity and artistry as a mom by seeking those things.  I'm finding it's breaking my out of my ruts and helping me to find that mojo as Mom.

As parents, we are the creators of the life our families lead.  It's an awesome opportunity and terrifying responsibility.  So start today.  Make the most of it.

Monday, October 17, 2011

I Made it Monday: "I'm Batman!" Knit Beanie

I finally gave in and joined Ravelry.  Because,  you know, I needed something to distract me from all the sewing projects that actually need to be done.  Then, I went and joined the Hat of the Month group.  Again, because I needed a distraction.  Fortunately, this one took only two days of casual knitting while I watched TV.  I surprised Stinky with it the morning after I finished it.  He ran around in it that day, singing "nanananananananananananananana BAT MAN!"  Totally worth the procrastination.

The pattern is the zsa mask pattern  and it is so unbelievably simple- this would make a great beginner project.

shared at Made by You @

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Sunday Inspiration: from my life

This week, in a rare quiet moment, I was praying over some things that were weighing on me.  Before I could end, Stinky's boy soprano rang out from the next room, singing a song from VeggieTales:

"God is bigger than the boogeyman, He's bigger than Godzilla or the Monsters on TV.  Yes, God is bigger than the boogeyman, and He's watching out for you and me!"

I laughed into my folded arms until tears came down.  Or, maybe I cried until I laughed.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Cookie Friday: Chocolate Whoopie Pies with Cream Cheese Frosting

I made these for some of my husband's students last week.  I wished I hadn't sent so many away! 

  • Chocolate Whoopie Pies with Cream Cheese Frosting 

  • 1 stick butter or margarine 
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla 
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1tsp.  baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt

Adapted from a Family Circle recipe.  

 Preheat at 375. Line baking sheets with foil.  Blend the  first five ingredients.  Mix remaining four ingredients in a separate bowl, then add to mixer by the spoonful.   With a melon baller, drop cookies onto cookie sheets with lots of space and bake until just cooked through (about 7-8 minutes.  I tap the center very lightly with my finger if I'm not sure.)  Allow to cool completely. 


2 Tbs. butter or margarine. 
1 package cream cheese
powdered sugar (1 to 1 1/2 cups) 
food coloring (optional) 

Blend first two ingredients, then add powdered sugar to desired consistency (thick is better than thin, I think.  Otherwise, the cookies can slide).    Frost the bottom of a cooled cookie, then top with a second cookie.  Repeat until all cookies are paired.  

Let me know if you give them a try.  I loved them! 

Shared at

    On Belief

    On the topic of faith, sometimes I feel a lot like Stinky in this picture- there's a huge ocean around me, but I'm looking at the small stuff on shore.

    I believe in family.  I believe that it extends beyond genetics and time and death.

    I believe in love, and that you don't choose it, but you can choose to nurture it or not.

    I believe in miracles- big and small.

    I believe in my chosen religion, but I don't believe it is perfect. I'll gladly discuss it with parties who are curious, but not antagonistic.  I believe that my time is valuable and fighting over faith wastes it.

    I believe in carbs.

    I believe that it is okay to question and doubt.

    I believe conversation is always better than conflict.

    I believe in equality, and I try to reconcile that with my faith.  This is something I've tried for more than a decade.  I believe there is an answer, but none that I've reached have set right in my heart.  I keep looking and praying.

    I believe that being defensive accomplishes nothing but building a wall. I believe you can soften someone's heart more by being a friend than you can by being  an enemy.

    I believe in the power of creativity, and that it resides in everyone.

    I believe in cookies.

    I believe in a God who loves you and me.  I believe it's cool if you believe in one that is different, or don't believe in one at all.

    I believe in your right to believe in whatever gets you through, and I hope you do, too.

    Monday, October 10, 2011

    I Made it Monday: Old Favorite

    Life has dictated that I will be in a 'sitting' phase for a while.  Pain and kids, what can you do?  It's a challenge for me- I'd rather be getting things done, so I'm faking a sense of accomplishment by knitting dishrags. The rhythm of the needles, the counting 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, loop, becomes meditative and relaxing after a long day, and in my life as a mom, finishing something, anything, that isn't undone five minutes later is so, so gratifying. TV is almost guilt free when I knit.  I'm using the same ball band pattern  I did during my de-stashing month.  I guess we go back to the standards.  I love playing with color combinations, and it's nice to have a little stash of gifts for holidays and thank yous.  With any luck, this sitting time won't be long, and I'm glad I can  feel like I'm doing something.  

    Pinned Image

    found on pinterest without a source.  if you know it, let me know!

    Sunday, October 9, 2011

    Friday, October 7, 2011

    Next time, we'll know

    This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of TracFone for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

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    One option we're considering is TracFone.  They offer plans with no contracts, credit checks, or activation/cancelation charges.  So many features are available, ranging from a basic "candy bar" style phone,  to phones with 'smart' features.  You can choose to pay as you go, or get a monthly plan- but again, no contracts or cancelation fees.   

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    Thursday, October 6, 2011

    Hello, October

    Hello, October.  I'm so happy to see you.  The day the calendar turned, I woke up feeling better about life.  We had survived September.  We are back at preschool.  We are back to work.  We lit the pilot light.  We haven't perfected our new routines, but we are quickly getting there. It feels so good to be October.  A few items of housekeeping, then something fun to share.

    First, now that Rotten has recovered from his surgery, Stinky's got some weird stuff happening.  We go to see the specialist tomorrow- could you pray for an easy, non-surgical solution?  It would be great if it were something simple.  I mean, is it ever simple?  It would just be nice if, this time, it was.  Update:  He's okay.   It's a simpler solution than even we thought.... it's just going to be a messy weekend at home. 

    Second, medical bills stink, and we're trying to get creative with them.  One way I'm trying to help out is through Social Spark, a service that pairs bloggers with advertisers.  Occasionally, you may see a sponsored post here on the blog.  Social Spark came highly recommended, and it was really easy to put together a post with the information they gave.   You can find out more about them here.

    Finally, changing the calendar page sparked something very nest-y in me, and I have taken up freezer cooking.  Dinner time always seems so insane, and I have ended up cranky and throwing reheated stuff on their plates with a really bad attitude.   Trying to combat that, this week I covered 2 weeks- plus of stuff for WBH and Stinky's school lunches, 4 dinners, and 3 breakfasts (then again, who doesn't love breakfast for dinner?) If you're interested,  I'm keeping score of all my freezer-friendly recipes on this pinterest board.  Now, if only my house can recover magically while I'm at the doctor tomorrow.  What? A girl can dream

    That's about all I've got.  Fall feels good now, doesn't it?