Sunday, August 31, 2014

Fleeting Feats

My mom just waltzed in with a mixing bowl, the crazies had run their fingers along it scraping up every last remaining swipe of chocolate creating a picasso like art piece that rivals any in the museums. There are delicious smells of chicken and veggies wafting their way thru the house, enticing everyone to come have a little taste. Our school work is finished, piano has been practiced. I am for a brief moment in time caught up with our laundry, the house is at long last cleaned, and miracle of all miracles, I finally got thru my spring cleaning. For a split second I can revel in my doneness. 

Welcome, September- I am ready.

P.S. The lot of us are headed to the lake tomorrow to soak up every last remaining drip of summer, and I am excited. Hope everyone is enjoying their three day weekend!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

all in a name

Do you ever wonder what makes parents choose certain names? Where did they come up with this moniker, is it a family name, why do they love it?

For me, it's one of the hardest parts about having these wee babes. I wasn't one of those girls growing up who knew how many kids I wanted and kept a growing list of what I would dub them.  It's all taken me quite by surprise. Which is fun, except for coming up with these titles. Thus far all my littles names do have some kind of story or meaning behind them, and I thought I would share Eleanor's.

If you recall from here, I don't have great pregnancies. To say the least- I am very sick, for the entirety. Nobody understands why and there doesn't seem to be any cure except survival. Which we do. The babies are healthy so we consider ourselves blessed.

One day, near the end of my last pregnancy, the kids were napping, and Kaleb was outside building our wild ones bunk beds. I had this brief and glorious moment of reprieve. So I stumbled my way out of doors to sit in the cool grass and chat with Kaleb.

The Avett Brothers were on in the background, their lyrics whisking and circling around us. A soundtrack to our interlude. While he labored on we caught up, prattling on about life, how hard those last few months had been and of course- what we would name this upcoming bundle.

Just then, 'Fathers First Spring' wafted in on light air.

My heart never beat like it does at the sight.  Of you baby blue, God blessed your life
I do not live 'less I live in your light

My heart is now ruined for the rest of all time
There's no part of it left to give

The day that I met Eleanor 

We both looked at each other and quietly breathed. . . Eleanor. As quickly as the decision was made my sickness descended. I crawled my way back to bed and Kaleb tucked me in.

And we will always remember it. This hour that I felt good and we caught up, the atmosphere charged with love. . . 

and our baby had a name.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

color me excited

Once every blue moon I come across a ware for my crazies that is so fun and makes life just a little bit easier. An item that is actually a great buy and not a complete waste of the ole coins. I happened to stumble upon these body crayons a couple years ago, and they have been that purchase.

They really are so great! They keep the kids and I entertained for hours. The kiddos will have me draw faces and rockets, sharks and flowers and then they go to town scribbling about on themselves. They have also been a useful tool to add to our schooling. The boys use them to practice the alphabet and numbers, writing A's and B's all over mommy and daddy.

They do rub off some on furniture and carpet, but I've always found it washes off easily and it comes right off the wild ones at bath time. We have used ours until the crayons are down to the nubs so I just ordered a new set. I found them on Amazon for $14.00, yay!

What about you- is there a product you just love for your own wee ones and makes life with littles just a bit easier? 

Monday, August 25, 2014

Accidental magic

One day last week I had a brief moment where I just had my big three. School had just been completed and we were desperate to work out some wiggles. It was an incredibly hot day, the air was thick and muggy making it almost difficult to breathe. Naturally we headed to the pond to swim.

As we ran down our beach, heading for that blissfully cool water, the sand scorching our toes- the air shifted. There was something special, surrounding us.

We played and sang love songs. We built sand channels for G.I. Joes and dug for buried treasures like the buccaneers we pretended to be. Then we swam out and dove down coming up with handfuls of thick red Arkansas clay which we promptly plonked down on the shore to mold and shape pots, pans and candlestick holders.

Sandwiched inbetween our artistic endeavors, we giggled as we chatted about life and growing up. Without knowing it or planning for it, the day became magic. One I hope to remember for all times. 

As we drove back to the house, windows down and the hot air rushing past us, a tear trickled down my cheek. A mixture of abandoned joy combined with a feeling of loss for how quickly it all goes by, and I was completely overtaken with love.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

something to crow about

I was hesitant to start making chicken broth. It was one of those task that seemed overwhelming and better left to the die-hards. But after reading up on it and having a plethora of chicken in my freezer, I decided I had better jump on board.

First thing you need to know-it's so easy! Not overwhelming at all actually. Second- it's yummy, way better than anything you could buy in the store. Third- it's unbelievably good for you. 

It's been called a cure-all for generations. It's amazing for sore-throats and colds, joint health, detoxing the liver, and incredible for any sort of gut issues. On top of that it's divine for hair, skin and nails. It puts a hop in your step, and a giddy-up in your love life. How could you pass that up?

My freezer is jammed full of the stuff. I use it in literally everything and drink it by the glassful when laid up. When I was making Eleanor's baby food, I would thin out all her veggies with homemade bone broth. I felt like such a trailblazer and bonus, I knew how superb it was for her. 

I put it in soups, risottos, and rice. I boil it down into a glaze and pour over meats. I have even been known to use it as a replacement for butter when making fried eggs or sautéed veggies.

So, how do you make this elixir fit for the gods? Here's how. . . 

You will need:

bones/carcass from one organic free range chicken
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 carrots
2 stalks celery
1 onion
1 bunch parsley

After you have roasted a chicken and eaten all the meat off, throw all of the bones in a large pot. Then pour all those delicious juices left over in your roasting pan in with the bones. Next, fill the pot up with water until it covers all the bones and add your vinegar. The acid in the vinegar helps pull out all those lovely minerals and extra goodness. Let that sit for about 30 minutes. Now you're ready to add your veggies(this is optional, but it adds great flavor and some extra vitamins). Bring it all to a boil then turn down the heat to a very low simmer. Simply, leave it alone and let it do it's thing for anywhere from 24-48 hours. About 30 minutes before it's finished throw in your parsley. When it is completely done, take it off the stove and strain it.

There you go, it's really that simple, but you look like a pioneer goddess who totally has her kitchen chops. 

You can pour it into jars and store in the fridge for several days, or place it in freezer safe containers and pop it in the freezer. After it's cold, it should be a beautiful gel like consistency chalk full of mouth watering, body healing, wonder. It's just so clucking good!

Friday, August 22, 2014

midweek escape

Kaleb and I took our buggies on a mini adventure last week. We woke up early piled in the car excited for what may lie ahead. After a quick stop for breakfast and a large cup of coffee we traveled the winding roads thru the hills to a nearby pioneer village.

The wild ones loved it. They dipped candlesticks, assisted a broom maker, observed jewelry making and questioned a blacksmith who made square nails. After we had filled up on all the pioneer fun we could, we headed to a neighboring creek to cool off.

We waded in deep, explored dark coves, ventured to catch fish with only our bare hands. We skipped rocks, and hunted tadpoles and laughed til our sides ached.

Kaleb secretly discovered a heart shaped rock and surprised me with it when we returned home. A little momento to remember our day. Can I just say - I am one lucky lady! This family of mine, I love them so.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Inked dreams

A couple years ago, I was in the throws of it. Deep in the heart of motherhood. I had birthed three babes in three and half years, and had yet to pause and come up for air. My every moment was filled: breastfeeding, playing, cooking, snuggling, cleaning, wiping, chasing, laundering, smooch and repeat.

Don't mistake that to mean I didn't love it. I loved every moment of it. Having little ones suits me. I love to feel needed, invaluable and cherished- who doesn't? But, sometimes in the midst of it, it is easy to get in a little mommy rut. When all your thoughts and every waking moment is consumed with worry. Agonizing over the right diapers, baby food, lotions. Wondering if they are where they need to be developmentally, fretting about their lives ten months from now, ten years from now, and  brooding over every other tiny facet that comes with raising wild ones.

So, what does one do when your desperate for a night out, and craving just one brief moment of something a little wild, and a bit naughty... 



What could possibly be dreamier then heading out into the night with the man of my dreams and getting tattoos together, right?

Well, as it turns out, a lot actually! In my head I pictured it  this evening out where we would go get cute matching tattoos and talk and laugh, and I'd be all dressed up and feeling foxy and it would be magic. Not really what happened. . . Kaleb had other ideas. . . 

We show up to the tattoo parlor around 8 all excited and ready to go. Unfortunately the artist was a little backed up, so he didn't get to start for a couple hours. Then Kaleb decides to get a giant tree on his side. 5 hours later it's finally my turn. At this point I'm exhausted, bored and hangry, and I know we've got to be back home and on our parenting game first thing in the morning. So, I'm like "just slap the thing on and lets get out of here!"

Needless to say, it wasn't as deliriously dreamy and wild as I  had hoped.

So here's a few tips if you ever find yourself in a rut and decide tattoos are just the ticket to a romantic night out.

1. Get something small! Now, this is very important or you will find yourself laying on a couch in a strange sort of room at two in the morning reading Inked magazines.

2. If you decide to get some sort of writing, be prepared to answer what it says for the rest of your life.

3. Bring snacks, some water, maybe a good book.

4. Just do it- It's a memory and life's for the living.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Let us commence

I like to do a little photo shoot every year on the first day of school. It's a perfect milestone to look back on and see how much they have changed and grown. I asked Zain what he wanted to be when he grows up and he said a school teacher, because he wanted to be like me- well my mamma heart just melted a little bit. I consider it one of my greatest blessings to get to stay home with these buggies and to have the opportunity to teach them myself is an honor. We are one week in and it was a beautiful week. They were excited and eager to get started each morning, and so was I.  A great beginning to what I hope will be an unforgettable year!