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A Very Brief Hello... and Jam


Hi everyone! I have only a minute, there are some major computer issues in my life at the moment. This explains my absence the last several days, and likely the next few days ahead. Hang on (I say to myself), check back soon (I say to you), and wish me luck as I attempt to remove over 8,000 photos, countless word docs, e-books, music, and who knows what else from the hard drive. The many, many hours spent on the phone with tech support tells me that my computer is not toast yet, but everything has to come off asap so they can work their tech-y magic and breathe new life into my fifth appendage.

In the meantime, have some jam.


The other night I made a batch of Rhubarb Ginger Jam and have been enjoying it for lunch everyday with goat cheese, really rugged crackers, and sliced pears. Everything about the combination of these things is perfect.

I'm really trying to link to this recipe but my quickly degenerating computer is saying no way, you're lucky to be on here at all, nice try smarty pants. It came from the editor's page of Hallmark magazine, October issue. I'm kind of surprised I enjoy this magazine, but I do. My mom got me a subscription when it first came out and though it was much lighter on the advertisements back in those first few months, the photography in the feature articles is always so beautiful. So if you see it on the newstands, flip to the letter from the editor for the jam recipe, it's excellent and would also serve nicely as a little tummy tonic for the family. There is a 1/2 cup of fresh ginger in the recipe that makes about one quart. Ginger lovers utopia!

See you soon!

ps - All of this computer nonsense also explains emails and comments that need responding to as well.  I'm behind on things, very behind.

Hanging on to Summer

DSC00187 For us, part of the craziness in flip-flopping schedules when I taught yoga, was  what I referred to as the parking lot swap. Adam and I would meet at a given time, minutes before I had to be at the studio, him slightly stressed from leaving a pile of unfinished work on his desk because of his early departure. As a mom, all I can say is parking lot swaps suck. I'd stand there passing off Emily, spend two seconds debriefing with Adam, then I was off, shouting last minute dinner instructions out the window as I drove away. I never was able to escape the feeling in my stomach and a voice in my head that said, "this is so not the way!" DSC00005 Because our time as a family is so precious, and it being summer and all, we've gotten pretty good at making the most of the one night a week he comes home at a decent hour. DSC09998 Enter ice cream for dinner. Every Thursday.

As the summer winds down, I find myself upping my game, as you can see by this banana split. Totally not finish-able, so darn huge. I am not one who is shy about hefty portions of ice cream, but ummm... seriously.

We take a little drive out of our city and head to the very New England countryside of winding roads, fields of wildflowers, and horse farms, finally arriving at our destination. Adam always says those waffle bowls are just too much, so delicious but way too filling, next time he'll just go for the ice cream... yeah, right. As you drive up, the incredible smell of made to order waffle bowls and cones is everywhere, resistance is futile.

We hang out with the ducks and chickens, cows and bunnies, flowers and open space... there is usually a soccer ball or two lying around for play. It's very simple, just ice cream and families, doing their best to hang on to summer. We've got one full week left before Emily returns to school, there is a lot of summer to experience in these remaining days. DSC00047 See you next week girl, and please tell your shy lady friends back there I said thanks. You never disappoint me.

Pretending to be a Painter

Yesterday I was visiting several blogs, checking around on Flickr (which I am finally trying to be embrace into my life), and I came upon a photo of a painting that really caught my eye, from Toni at Simple Sparrow. I thought, oh, that is so pretty... how I'd love to paint like that... could i paint like that?... I have no idea if I could paint like that. I was an art student in school but always avoided the painting classes, thinking I wouldn't be good enough. 021 Without being too fancy or think too hard about it, I decided to just try and paint what I saw, to just see if I could come close to creating anything as pretty as Toni's piece. The beginning went surprisingly well, I was pleased with the little cluster of pink flowers and have no idea how I made the leaves actually look like leaves... I was even thinking, "I just might hang this in my home." 024 As I continued to work, the painting quickly got away from me. I wondered if this happens to *real* painters and if they are able to save their work. We were running out of white paint and it seemed like every time I went to dip my brush in the palette, I needed white. Well, the orange flowers (which on the original painting are clearly roses) look like nothing more than gloppy circles. But those leaves were still fun! 028 I forged ahead, trying to fix or save my little orange roses until the white ran out. At this point I could only step back and look at my work, as complete as it was going to be. It's not great, many of the flowers appear to be floating around in space and should have been painted in much tighter clusters, but it was incredibly fun and I can see an interest developing here... with lots and lots of practice. I really enjoyed the process, painting beside Emily, listening to The Splendid Table podcasts (safe to listen to with children!), and painting away, inside, on an unusually cool August afternoon. I'm going to stock up heavily on white and get back to work, next time taking a cue from the young one though... 032 Find inspiration all around you and let it motivate you to try new things, but have the confidence to make it your very own. 

Early Bird


Every once in a while the youngest in our family goes through a phase of getting up at 5am. She'll set her alarm clock, she is not a snooze button girl. She rises promptly and greets her day full of energy. Today she took care of her pets, made her bed, took a shower (as I lay in bed listening to the shower water turn on and off, determining whether she is lathering or rinsing, her latest effort in conservation). At this point I figure I should get up as well, and put a little effort into my day. It's about 5:30...


By 6am she had taken the dog out, checked and harvested the days take from the garden, and set about filling up many, many little jars with fresh flowers. It's a little thing of hers that I'm rather fond of.



Somewhere in the midst of her whirlwind, I did manage to squeak out a batch of our favorite blueberry muffins, but that's about it. Well, I did put together Adam's lunch, we sat down together for a weekday breakfast (which doesn't happen too often), then sent him on his way for the day. As I write this there has been spritzing of the bathroom counters upstairs, and vacuuming. Lot's and lot's of vacuuming. Now she is right next to me vacuuming... I'm not feeling right about this... blogging while my child vacuums under my feet... hmmm. I better run, but let me leave you with two recipes.

1. I made a great little fruit dip for Adam's lunch today, to go with apple and pear slices. Yes, he's 36, but what can I say, we're dippy kind of people. It's simple. Mix 1 cup vanilla yogurt with 3 TBS. orange marmelade and 1 TBS. poppy seeds. I figured with school lunches on the horizon for many of us you might like to try it, it's excellent!
2. The recipe for blueberry muffins. Click on the photo to enlarge, hopefully you can read it. This recipe was used at my father-in-law's deli years ago. It's where Adam and I met, I used to bake these every day at 5am. Today I didn't use any raspberries, just blueberries, I adjusted the amount. This makes a huge pan of very large muffins. I suggest cutting the recipe in half, you aren't trying to impress the customers with your super-sized everything... this paper is the original recipe from the deli, can you tell? I really should re-type this soon.



There are a few changes I make, I don't use white sugar but a mix of sucanat and evaporated cane juice (which is super close to being white sugar, hence the sucanat), I also make my own "bisquick", there are recipes all over the internet.

:::UPDATED::: I just read this recipe... in case you can't tell, the temp for the oven is 375 degrees. If you do go ahead and half the recipe, making more normal sized muffins, you only need to cook then for about 25 minutes. Today I cooked them at 400 for 20 minutes, I'm a flexible baker. ;)

Oh, one more thing for those of you who have made it this far... with school lunch making coming up, do you have any great ideas? I'd love to do a lunch box post in the next week or so and would love your ideas/recipes to contribute. Of course I will link to you, and I think we would all benefit, even when we were homeschooling there were so many days when we would pack lunch to meet with friends, go apple picking, swimming, etc. Feel free to leave ideas in the comments. Thank you!

it's a wrap

006 Hi, it's me, the lady of this blog... the one who is now supremely aware of all things balanced. The one who has become more mindful of the subtle shifts, of challenge and beauty, calm and frustration in her simple summery days. How are you? It's been awhile.

This month has been an interesting challenge for me. Practicing mindfulness and seeking balance in the everyday is not a new concept in my life, but using my camera as a  means to document my observations was very new. This project stretched me in many ways as I tend to be a person that observes more and shares less. What happened here over this month was unexpected. I decided to take a little risk and share a part of myself that I would normally keep fairly private, and you all connected with me, with this idea. We found similarities in each other, common ground.

Looking back on the posts from this month of balance, the greatest challenge for me was to let go of the need to capture it all. Many days the clearest moments of opposition were fleeting, the camera not close by. It quickly had to become okay, and it was. My awareness became heightened and that is definitely what mattered the most.

It's been a big month of transition for me. In mid July I stopped teaching yoga... for the time being. I am sure there will be more times in my life that I will start and stop teaching. Interestingly, my decision to stop was one of seeking balance. My husband's job is extremely demanding of his time and energy, with no flexibility. In a moment of stepping outside and looking in, I noticed a family that was running in too many directions, parents who were spread thin and a child who was being carted around just a little too much. I also calculated the gas expense for me to drive to the studio 3 plus times a week (it's 25 minutes away) to teach a single class, and it just didn't make sense. These pesky little details of life are not necessarily fun, but they do need to be paid attention to, for the healthy balance of all the lives involved. Practicality aside, ending something so precious to me was hugely difficult. On day 14, the photos and words posted reflected my final night teaching. Studio number3 I had given a three week notice to the studio owners, I was also giving up my job as manager, feeling that if I were not teaching there was not a possibility that I could be present for and take care of the needs of the community either. We write a weekly electronic newsletter that goes out to all students in both studios and figured this would be the best tool to let the students know. Well, the newsletter went out late and as I drove to class that final night I knew that whoever came would be unaware of the changes, I'd have to tell them. This is the very thing I was trying to avoid - having a big announcement at the beginning or end of a yoga class. People don't come to yoga for news. But guess what? Nobody came to class. Not one person. This has never happened for this particular class before, it is one of the better attended classes on the schedule. On this night however... where was everyone? It was the strangest feeling as a moved slowly on my mat, warming up for class, the clock ticking and the minutes passing. Class was to start in two minutes and nobody was there yet... more time passes... class should have started... I'm still alone. A feeling of sadness came over me as I continued to stay on the mat, postures deepening, hips opening. Soon sadness was replaced by contentment as my own solo practice intensified. I practiced well past the time my scheduled class would have ended, and I felt so grateful for the silence, for the yoga in my body, for the teachers who helped me to discover it. When I finally left the studio it was well into the night, and the most incredible moon was outside waiting for me. Shining it's brilliance and strength across the sky, I soaked it in. From a nearby field I sat breathless under it's perfect, brilliant light. It was right here that I let go of my wanting to teach yoga, and decided to just be yoga.

The top photo in this post was taken after I had spent a good hour cleaning and straightening in the pantry.  No sooner was I done than little Emily decided to make dried flower and herb sachets. She scatted stems, leaves and plenty of dirt from the garden all over my clean counters in the pantry... what was only moments ago perfectly tidy and spit-spot, was now full of activity as she created little piles of her special mixture for drying. Isn't it just the prettiest mess you've ever seen?

Thank you friends, for everything this month. You make it all so much better.

a month of balance :: day 30

097 083 Without a doubt, totally worth the mess. I made this recipe, I've been really pleased with the few recipes I've tried from Mama's Fixins (plus I really love the name of her site)... remember the Cinnamon Rolls? I also tried the Rugelach with the extra pie crust and they were excellent! I'm not sure what all the comfort food baking has been about, it is August after all. Maybe if the sun would shine a little more here in New England i would feel different. At least I haven't gone so far as to break out my all time favorite go-to-for-comfort-food cookbook yet... bet that link surprised you!

Well, this post wraps up my Month of Balance series, thank you all for following along, with an extra thanks to newer readers who have taken the time to introduce themselves and say hello, now have way too many new blogs bookmarked... but I'm enjoying them all thoroughly. I will return next week with a wrap up of this month long project; what I've learned, noticed, and am taking away from it all. And then we'll see about getting back to some regular posting... I'm feeling inspired. Have a wonderful weekend!

a month of balance :: day 28

026 039 Thank you for all the well wishes for Emily yesterday. She is feeling much better today and for the most part back in action... and now my cookie jar is full, which is a nice bonus. We took our dog for a really long walk this afternoon, does that balance out countless cookies consumed...?

a month of balance :: day 27

010 003 When you wake up with a fever and sore throat, and the prospects of the day seem rather bleak... when your mother makes up a special bed for you in the den, serves you honey vanilla ice cream for breakfast and puts a movie in before 9am... consider the few perks of having a sick day... sure it's a bad day, but it's not that bad.