Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Finding a New Rhythm (or, letting go of my lists)

Welcome to the May 2012 Simplicity Parenting Carnival: Organizing
This post was written as part of the monthly Simplicity Parenting Carnival hosted by The Lone Home Ranger and S.A.H.M. i AM. This month we are discussing how we organize our lives. Be sure to read to the end to see a list of the rest of the excellent carnival contributors.
I'm a moderately organized person who dreams of being more organized. Periodically I feel like I'm making progress and getting closer to my goal but then life gets in the way and I start over at square one.

Like when we found out we were pregnant again. I am overjoyed to be pregnant but it definitely threw a wrench in my housekeeping/cooking/toddler-activity-organizing schedule. I went from feeling slightly organized to being completely overwhelmed by the bare minimum. 

Now that I've reached the second trimester and I'm starting to feel more human, I'm once again searching for organization. Part of me dreams of a perfectly organized house but mainly I just want to get done everything I need to do when it needs to be done. I don't want to forget anything. I feel better if we have a regular routine and I know getting into a good daily rhythm will help me when the baby arrives (and mixes things up once again!).

That said, I'm still functioning on a day-to-day basis. I'm feeling better but I have to be careful not to overdo it. Right now I'm focusing on two things.

Friday, May 25, 2012

{this moment} water

A Friday ritual. A single photo, without words capturing a moment from the week. 

A simple, special, wonderful moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. 
If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see. -via soulemama.

This post was also shared on Seasonal Celebration Sunday.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Why I Want to Quit Blogging (But Probably Won't)

It's true. Some days I think about what life would be like if I quit blogging. I think about how much time I would have to waste doing other things. I'm pretty sure my house would still be less than perfect. I'm realistic enough to know I probably wouldn't replace my blogging time with cleaning or laundry. I like to think I would spend more time working in the garden.  

But some days I don't want to sit in front of the computer. I want to write in my journal instead of typing. I want to write down everything I'm thinking and spill out all my frustrations without worrying about censoring what I make public. I want to read books or sleep while my daughter is napping instead of rushing to finish a post I've had in my head for a month.

Monday, May 21, 2012

{Love the Place You Live} Indian Point

This past "winter" (i.e. the time of year when it was too chilly to swim at the beach), L and I started exploring a few of our local parks. Quickly, Indian Point became one of our favorites. There's no playground and we've never seen any other children there but she loves it. She's loves the water and she loves the birds. Indian Point, with wetlands and a saltwater lake, has plenty of both.


Saturday, May 19, 2012

Join the Revolution

Good morning! It's Food Revolution Day! Maybe you're a big fan of Jamie Oliver and you knew that already. Are you excited? I am. Are you doing anything exciting to celebrate? L and I are going to try our hand at canning some peppers from our garden. It should be an adventure. I'll also probably spend nap-time scanning some of my favorite food blogs for new recipes and making our menu for the week. And L and I will probably play grocery store (or farmer's market) because that's a daily occurrence anyway. Perhaps we'll make some popsicles as well!

Wondering which food blogs are my favorite?
Here are just a few...

The Homesick Texan
Raising Dieter
Cookus Interruptus
Gluten-Free Homemaker
And this whole pinterest board of Food Revolution blogs (yikes!) 

I hope you're doing something fabulous to celebrate the Food Revolution. Going to your farmer's market? Cooking from scratch? Talking to your kids about food? Hosting a dinner party? I'd love to hear about it! And, if you want to spread the love (and a little educational material), take a look at this graphic and share it through whatever social media platform you prefer!

Happy Food Revolution Day!

Friday, May 18, 2012

{this moment}: snake

A Friday ritual. A single photo, without words capturing a moment from the week. 

A simple, special, wonderful moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. 
If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see. -via soulemama.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Gluten-Free Almond Flour Bread Recipe

I've been on the hunt for a good gluten-free bread recipe for several months now. I'm pretty picky. I tried a few bread mixes and was not pleased with the results. My options for gluten-free flours are fairly limited and I was hesitant to order anything I hadn't already tried. I thought perhaps I'd just have to go without bread for a while. The thought made me ridiculously sad. I like bread. Who doesn't?
Then my mom saved the day. She sent me a recipe for almond flour bread (she got it from a good friend) and ordered me a big box of almond flour (I suspect it was an "I'm really, really excited you're pregnant/it stinks you can't eat gluten again" present). My mom is amazing and and knows what it's like to have a restricted diet. Since it's not something I can get at a store around here I was super excited when the box of flour arrived. I opened it up and found that the bag of flour inside the box had not been sealed. It was full of tiny ants. 

I was no longer excited. Almond flour bread with ants was not what I had in mind. 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Keeping the Toys at Bay

In full disclosure, you need to know that my living room currently looks like this:
We had a busy morning and a long afternoon. Just like we do every day. Keeping clutter (specifically toys) under control is something we work on continuously. I wake up every day knowing that all of the toys will come off the shelves and at some point we'll put them back again. And sometimes we don't.

However, we've taken a few steps to keep things a little more organized.

Let's Talk About Sunscreen

It's getting to be that time of year when I can't leave the house without putting on sunscreen. I'm pretty paranoid about it. I'm fair skinned and burn easily. So does my daughter. We've all been burned a little this year. I know burning doesn't make any difference when it comes to cancer but it raises my awareness of the sun's power. Skin cancer is a big concern in my family (my grandmother can't leave the house without sun protective clothing, gloves, hat, and sun screen due to her experience with skin cancer) and it's definitely something I think about since we spend so much time outdoors.  
Two of the sunscreens I'll be throwing in the trash.
During my pregnancy with L. I became increasingly aware of the impact things like lotions and face cleaners could have on my body and my growing baby (for example, I quit using a face wash with salicylic acid). Still, I didn't think twice about sunscreen. We were in the northwest and sunscreen wasn't a biggie since we were almost always wearing hats and jackets. When we moved I bought Neutrogena Baby Free & Clear. My whole family had been using Neutrogena for ages because that was what my grandmother's doctor had recommended after her first major skin cancer treatment.

That may not have been the best choice. None of my other choices were any better and we've accumulated quite a collection of sunscreen over the last year and a half.

Why I'm Not Going to Read the TIME Article

You know the one I mean--the one with a picture of a woman breastfeeding a three year old on the cover with the caption "Are You MOM Enough?" 

The article/magazine cover first came to my attention last Friday. We were at my in-law's house while our power was out from the storm and a news program came on TV. The broadcaster started talking about the mom on the cover* and (cue the horror movie music) how "she even nursed her two children at the same time!" 

They really used horror movie music. No joke. If I could remember the channel or the show I would include a link just so you could hear the music and her tone of voice. With the lead up I was expecting her to say something along the lines of "she even gives them crack cocaine with breakfast, every day."

Monday, May 14, 2012

Call for Submissions: Simplicity Parenting Blog Carnival, May 2012

Do you strive to live a simple life? A life where you focus the essentials and cut out the excess? Have your children motivated you to simplify everything or left you feeling like life is more complex than ever? Either way, the Simplicity Parenting Blog Carnival is for you!

Please join Justine at The Lone Home Ranger and Emily at S.A.H.M. i AM on the fourth Tuesday of each month for a blog carnival all about simplicity parenting. Whether you already consider yourself a simplicity expert or you’ve just started taking small steps to slow down, we want to hear your about your experiences, challenges and successes. We’ll focus on a different topic each month in order to share information, learn from one another, and celebrate simple family living (or living simply or simply living)!

May 2012: Organizing

How do you organize your life? How do you make the day to day simple? Do you say no to lots of extra curricular activities? Do you cook meals ahead of time? Do you only do laundry on Wednesdays? How do you eliminate the all the miscellaneous distractions and enjoy time with your family?

We want to know it all. We want to know how organization helps you keep life simple.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day

This will be short and sweet. Happy Mother's Day to all the mamas out there. Being a mom is hard and wonderful and stressful and amazing all at the same time. I hope you had a lovely day today. You deserve it!
I have way more thoughts than I can put on paper at the moment. I feel very loved.

Happy Mother's Day!

Friday, May 11, 2012

{this moment}: storm

Our {this moment} is a little late today due to the fact that we did not have electricity for the last 24 hours. We had a very intense thunder storm with several smallish (or not so small) tornadoes last night. Winds 80-90 mph and over 2 inches of rain in a very short period of time. That's why this week's {this moment} has words and more than one picture...fortunately we're all okay and, aside from some tree limbs, only lost a small window pane in our garage door.
A Friday ritual. A single photo, without words capturing a moment from the week. 

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Simple Side Dish: Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Today I learned that Brussel sprouts are actually Brussels sprouts. I had no idea. I've been calling them Brussel sprouts my entire life. I learn something new every day. 

But that's fairly irrelevant. I just found it interesting.

I've been trying to simplify our meals and one easy way to do that is to make simple sides for dinner. My most recent favorite side is roasted veggies. The veggie we've roasted most recently: Brussels sprouts. Before you tell me you don't like Brussels sprouts, let me finish. I don't cook them very often but when I do I'm always surprised how much I like them.

Bad Mother Kind of Day

When I woke up this morning I figured it would be a good day. I was a little achy and nauseous but I ate some cottage cheese and took a shower. I felt a little better. It was definitely going to be a good day.
Now, barely 2.5 hours later, I've realized I have no patience. It's a no-patience kind of day. A bad mother kind of day. I'm irritated. I want it to be a good day and I'm annoyed with my lack of ability to make it one.

Monday, May 7, 2012

10 Weeks and Several FAQ's

Here's the 10 week belly picture:
So far my symptoms are pretty much the same: nausea, headaches, fatigue. I just keep reminding myself it will pass. I'm happy to be pregnant and know this part won't last forever. But enough about that.

I've been getting a lot of questions lately and I thought I'd give some quick answers.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Saturday Reality Check

It's Saturday.
A little bird built her nest in my hanging flower basket. It makes me happy. I love that there will be little chicks right outside my bedroom door. She's a very organized little bird. Her nest in impressive.

My nest is not impressive. It's driving me crazy. I've been trying really hard but feel like I'm swimming in cement. I've made no progress this week.

This is my reality. I'm not complaining. This is just the way things are at this point in time. 

Friday, May 4, 2012

{this moment}

A Friday ritual. A single photo, without words capturing a moment from the week. 

A simple, special, wonderful moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. 
If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see. -via soulemama.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

You Have No Idea (A Book Review)

I sat down to read You Have No Idea, by Vanessa Williams and her mother Helen Williams, with no expectations. Aside from the fact that my daughter and I watched Vanessa Williams sing about trash in The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland last week, I knew almost nothing about her life or work before I started reading her book.
I'm fascinated by parent/child relationships and how children change their parents relationship with each other. I loved reading about the incredible partnership Vanessa's parents had with each other, their philosophy toward raising their children, and how they dealt with different situations. I was also reminded that children will choose their own paths in life.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Encouraging Imaginative Play

As I mentioned yesterday, we're taking part in the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood's screen-free week. The first day of limiting or eliminating her favorite shows (we've done this before) always involves a lot of requests to watch Ernie or Dora or Barney. We simply redirect her attention to another fun activity and eventually she quits asking. Sometimes our attempts to redirect result in tears on her part but that simply reaffirms my resolve that a break is necessary.

What are we doing instead of watching Netflix? My friend Justine over at the Lone Home Ranger, mentioned that they've been having regular dance parties.
Preparing to dance. I've just realized I have no good action shots.
We have lots of dance parties around here as well. We get started early, rocking out while J. gets ready for work in the mornings. It's excellent father-daughter bonding time. L's favorite music selections include anything by Raffi (particularly the Singable Songs Collection and Baby Beluga), Elizabeth Mitchell (specifially, You Are My Little Bird), The Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Shins (which she refers to as, "the Chins"), and James Cotton. As the day progresses, the dance parties get more elaborate and often involve tutus, wings, and countless stuffed animal friends. 


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