Monday, February 27, 2012

Art of the Month: February

I devoted my spare minutes last week to finishing Elliott's elements box which we filled with meaning during his naming ritual.  I decided to keep the original wood finish and not paint the entire thing.  Instead I wanted it to have a softer look so I used very little paint and accentuated the images with black ink.

For each element I picked an animal: Bear for earth, Crow for air, Salmon for water and Snake for fire.  And then on each side of the box I wrote out the elemental words.

I had this project on my to-do list for both January and February.  It's nice to have it done.  Kyan was very curious to see his own naming day elemental, which in his case is a round basket.  I hope that the boys enjoy these when they are older regardless of what spiritual path they choose.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

a quiet ten

It seems that month ten has stealthily crept by this mama.  Where did it go and how did it pass me by with hardly any photos to show for it?  I seem to recall some nighttime meetings, tired boys, colds, late night bread making and some serious lack of sleep all around.  There was another tooth added, an almost complete rejection of the soother (really!)  and some increasingly confident walking with only one hand being held.  We watched some hockey skills and you were shown up on the big screen and my, your social personality just grows and grows.  People are interesting to you and so are gadgets and such.

 And you are a messy eater too.  But the cuteness makes up for it!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

love week

This week has been all about the love: coughing, up all night, feverish, and much more unpleasantness love.
We've had a sick baby and that is never fun for anyone.  Elliott is on the mend now after seeing three doctors, an x-ray, swabs, a blood test and finally discovering that his lungs need help in dealing with viruses. 
As you can imagine I've been stressed, emotional and testy.  Trying to comfort him during the distressing and invasive exams and through his discomfort with this nasty virus.
Kyan has been a trooper of a big brother, running to get me things and trying to be comforting in his way.

Amidst the chaos of many loads of laundry being left by the wayside as I rocked a feverish baby for most of the day and night we managed to celebrate hearts and love and each other.  Cookies were iced, valentines were handed out, gifts were exchanged and chocolate was consumed en mass. 
I'm grateful that things are sunnier and today I was able to have a warm shower and wash lots of the tension away from a hard week.  Love week for us became about health and how precious it is.  Love can heal but sometimes needs a little help too.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Book of the Month: Valentine


Last week at the library I came across their special holiday section.  We love Little Bear around here and so seeing a special Valentines story about him was a chance to enjoy the holiday with Kyan.  The story is sweet and simple.  The reader follows Little Bear as he makes and delivers Valentines to his friends.  Through it all he is wondering who left him a Valentine in his mailbox.  The characters live in the late 19th century so there is a charm to the illustrations and period that more modern set stories just don't have.
I find holidays to be a bit hard for kids since the day always has anticipation and then is gone so quickly.  Since Ky loves holidays so much (he is still singing Christmas carols!)  I try to spread them out over a couple of weeks before and after, reading holiday stories like this one makes a great marker in time.

Saturday, February 11, 2012


The food horizon is always changing around here.  Reading, trial and error, dinners shared and tips exchanged the collective "we" and the small group of four of us try out new textures and tastes.  Some are more successful than others and for my style of learning it's a curve.  A long one.  And our road to sourdough has been a few years in the making now.  Beginning with reading Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats and then little snippets here and there which lead me to stop making the commercial yeast bread I had been making and start buying sourdough until I had the emotional courage to try the process on my own.
Taking a cooking class was really helpful.  3 hours to watch and feel and learn the process.   What I came away with first off was that this process is more intuitive than precise.  That was something I came to understand in my previous work with bread as well.  So to learn is: to do, to fail or succeed, take note and try again.  This process will involve using each sense to become attuned to the living culture that is in my fridge; feeding it, making it grow and develop in a way that is unique to me and my surroundings.

The lovely cooking class venue Radha eatery.

For more info on sourdough I recommend reading the above book or checking out Sourdough Companion.
I came home from the class with some sourdough starter and a few days later tried my luck.  Feeding the starter creates more than what would be needed to make one loaf so I made crackers and bread.
Using this recipe I was happy with how the crackers turned out.

Tasty.  They remind me a bit of the brand Wheat Thins.  Except of course they are healthier and thicker.  I'll work on rolling them out thinner next time.
The bread kept me guessing and took a long time.  I'll have to get used to the timing thing.  As I said before it's all about creating an intuitive exchange between me and the rising flour.  The final loaf wasn't much to look at but tasted good.  Everyone in the house ate it without complaint so I feel that in and of itself is a success.  Tomorrow I'm going to give sourdough pancakes a go.  We'll see how my 4 year old pancake connoisseur rates them.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012


Many complain about the mundane chores; dishes, vacuuming, dusting (don't even get me started) but when it comes to laundry, for me, there is a touch of a romantic notion.  It only just recently become clear to me when I was enjoying this view that maybe I would be looked at sideways by some for enjoying the look of a basket full of clean laundry.

My clothesline obsession has been hinted at here and there and has now found a resting place here.  The rudimentary aspects of the laundress, a la Kate Winslet in Quills (minus the insane asylum and unrequited love) appeal to my senses somehow.  Was I a coy laundress in a past life, walking through halls with a basket balanced on my hip and a tune in my head?  
Fancy laundry rooms or pretty washing machines aren't really what I'm going for here.  It is really an aesthetic.  Baskets, fabric,  piles....this is kind of a new revelation and fascination.  I'll have to see if it goes anywhere from here.
Perhaps I'm just finding a little bit of zen in this housekeeping world that many overlook.  Challenging the idea that it is mindless or drudgery.  I'll keep you posted.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Poem of the Month: comfort

One of my dearest and most wonderful friends is going through some serious stuff.  Heart wrenching, heavy and so, so hard.  As a friend support is all I have, love and time and positive energy.  I wanted to send these to you, may they give you some comfort or help in any hard moments to come.

My Help is in the Mountain
by Nancy Wood

My help is in the mountain
Where I take myself to heal
The earthly wounds 
That people give to me.
I find a rock with sun on it
And a stream where the water runs gentle
And the trees which one by one give me company.
So must I stay for a long time
Until I have grown from the rock
And the stream is running through me
And I cannot tell myself from one tall tree.
Then I know that nothing touches me
Nor makes me run away.
My help is in the mountain
That I take away with me.

Earth Cure Me
by Nancy Wood

Earth cure me.  Earth receive my woe.  Rock strengthen me.
Rock receive my weakness.  Rain wash my sadness away.
Rain receive my doubt.  Sun make sweet my song.
Sun receive the anger from my heart.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Art for Imbolc

Our Imbolc was simple.  Paint, some sunshine, quiche for dinner, and an attempt at music making.  Elliott really needs a drum since all he wanted to do was bang on my guitar.  (He'll get one for his birthday I think.) 

my project was extending this piece from Alphonse Mucha

Ky decided to paint the ocean.  I had to convince him to add white and once he agreed it really came to life.

He never uses much purple, Brighid must have been calling to him

I had hoped to do a nice little ritual for myself since I've been feeling the calling.  But alas the day turned to night and the baby decided not to sleep.  So it will have to wait until I work it in somewhere else.