Friday, September 30, 2011

Butternut Squash Soup

vegan,soup,pears,sweet potatoes,butternut squash looks good doesn't it? My in-laws make a lovely Butternut Squash Soup. 
 Judith Yates's recipe:
 1 med. onion (approx 1/2 cup) chopped
2T margarine or butter
2 cups chicken broth
1 lb butternut squash, peeled, seeded &  cut into 1 inch cubes
2 pears, peeled and sliced
1 tsp fresh thyme or 1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp white pepper
1/4 tsp ground coriander
1 cup heavy cream
1 pear for garnish, unpeeled & sliced
1/2 cup pecans, chopped & toasted

 in Dutch oven, cook onion in margarine until tender, stirring frequently. Stir in broth, squash, 2 pears, thyme, salt, white pepper, and coriander. Heat to boiling, reduce heat and cover. Simmer 10 or 15 minutes, or until squash is tender. Doing portions at a time, process soup in covered blender or food processor until smooth. Return soup to Dutch oven. Stir in heavy cream. Carefully reheat (do not boil) stirring frequently. Garnish with sliced pear and pecans. Serves 5 to 7

Vegan adaptation: use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth
cook onions in water until soft.
I added sweet potatoes
and because it wasn't in my cupboard I omitted thyme and coriander but I'll add them next time.
omit cream

I omitted pecans because of Dr. Esselstyn's diet

  vegan,soup,pears,sweet potatoes,butternut squash It was good, a little sweet, maybe the thyme will balance it or maybe it needs more butternut squash next time. The kids really liked it.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

shrooms & mosquitos

There has been so much rain here lately and the mushrooms are popping up all over the place.  (It is a shame that we can't send it to our friends in the West, I have family in Texas and they report record dryness, the fields and the cattle need water)
We enjoy looking for mushrooms on walks and like to do so when the Tiger is at soccer practice, but the mosquitos seem to be thriving from all the rain as well.  They are "jurassic" sized this year and persistent.  I am looking forward to colder weather (they say it is coming this weekend) to dampen mosquito activity.  On this particular walk we began with enthusiasm but soon found the mosquitos to be too much and ran back to the car - pointing at mushrooms as we hurried past "look there is a red one!"  "look that one looks like a fairy house" "don't stop keep running!"
And so the above are all I have to share with you.

which I am linking to A Southern Day Dreamer's Outdoor Wednesday

Sunday, September 25, 2011

sharpie, wooden floors & a two year old

Yes; the two year old got his hands on a sharpie and decorated the wooden floors.
(actually it is surprising this hasn't happened more often as the husband is not so good at putting things away *okay, I'm not either, but its my blog so I get to blame who I want*)

just one little spot of almost 5 feet worth of graffiti

The crazy thing is my husband and I were in the kitchen, cleaning up after a party, and watching "Forks over Knives" and I turned around and "O.M.G." The husband says "what?" turns around and starts to freak out "this will not come out!  This will NOT come out.  Cailin, this will not come out"


I grab said two year old who is also in the kitchen but no longer has the offending sharpie and say, "it is bed time" which it was.  No punishment here, more like, let me move you to a safe distance away from your father.

And then I run to google "permanent marker, wooden floor" and see several suggestions one of which is Mr. Clean's Magic Eraser.  Now I am one of those over indulged women who has "cleaning people" and they are very good.  They come every Thursday and I'm sure I pay more than any other woman in this town but they detail- and they love Mr. Clean's Magic Erasers.  And so I have bought some.

seriously rock, get some

no I'm not getting paid for this.  And nobody is sending me free Mr. Clean Magic Erasers, although if they do I'd be grateful.  Think of it as a public service announcement, if you have toddlers, or someone visits you with toddlers, and they inadvertently leave their artwork in a less than optimal location, try some Mr. Clean.  I'm a fan.

he's thinking, I'm gonna kill this kid
I'm thinking, is there anything sexier than my husband cleaning house? 

Husband and I got to work.  Little man had decorated the hall, and the kitchen, and by the kitchen table, he is a prolific artist.  Almost an hour later - we had a clean floor.  Ta-da!

little artist all tuckered out after the party

Yep, that is an iPad on his head.  I think he was trying to figure out how to watch his little Tayo video but all the iPads and iPhones are password protected in my house because they are too darn easy to use and the little ones love them.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Here we go again...

It is back to school week - I've been to the presentation at the preschool and the middle school and tonight I go to the elementary school where I will not be able to get to all of the right classrooms because I have three kids attending that school and the people who plan only plan for two.  Ah well-

But on my mind is another child.  Bitsy the preschooler will attend Kindergarten next year.  And I want to have her tested for a learning disability.  Bitsy, it seems to me, has an Auditory issue.  She can't follow directions, when playing alone she still speaks in garbled nonsense baby talk, and she can't  repeat back when I ask her to.

In previous posts I have expressed my feelings about working with the James City County School System to get my older two children tested for learning disabilities.  And now I'm about to enter that ring again.  I recently found this article:

Williamsburg-James City County Asserting The Unspeakable

excerpt: The state performance plan for special education by the Virginia Department of Education has shown the Williamsburg-James City County school division has failed to meet state targets in several areas. Recent interaction between the community and school leadership regarding special education has been tense at times. Many parents of children within the school division are expressing frustration and concern about the difficulties involved in establishing eligibility and requesting services for special needs. The most recent developments regarding special education in the division are compelling and provocative.

Continue reading on Williamsburg-James City County Asserting The Unspeakable - Norfolk Education News |

My feelings exactly

The thing is, in my experience, once you get past the test and setting up the IEP the school system does a great job working with the child, it is getting tested.  I am sure it is a money thing and I do get that.  We (as a nation, as a state, and as a county) are out of money, but this is my daughter and I will fight tooth and nail to get her the help she needs to succeed.  

After all, my oldest is on track to return to the community ten fold what was invested in her education.

okay, I have to modify this.  I was just at Open House at James River Elementary School and mentioned to Ms Thompson that I was concerned about my daughter.  I told her that my daughter was too old for CDR and she just said, well I haven't done preschool in a while so I'll have to check into it.  And I said, oh when they told me that I had to go through the Elementary School I said, Oh Mindy will love that.  She laughed and said we'd figure it out.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

At the Marina

I like painting at the marina.  It is peaceful.  My dog can play in the water.  Kids can play in the sand (and the water but ugh, the river really is dirty.)  And it is pretty.

Today I dropped Bitsy off at preschool and grabbed some paint, and the dog, and we had an almost two year old with us, and went to the Marina hoping to get in an hour and a half before returning to pick up Bitsy.

I have never seen such a two year.  He did not play in the sand.  He did not throw shells into the water.  He did not run into the water to play.  He stood by me, slowly getting more and more frustrated that I was doing something.  I was slowly getting more and more frustrated that he was not doing something.  And I insisted that I was going to paint.  For an hour.

I should have brought pastels, I was having the hardest time pushing my way into a painting frame of mind.

But I did stick it out and came up with this:

And down there, just about center on the bottom, is the little guy.  He finally decided to play in the water as I was finishing up.

I'm going to link this up with Outdoor Wednesday by a Southern Daydreamer

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Pink Saturday - Tulip Garden for Angela

some time ago I decided to use Pink Saturday as a personal challenge to work on small collages.  Why small collages, because it is a quick medium, easy to clean up, doesn't involve exposing my kids to any toxic materials and recycles the amazing number of catalogs that we receive.

It is cold and rainy out today, fall is moving in, but I was thinking of my friend Angela from college and she loved hot pink tulips.

not quite done, trying to decide where to go next

pink tulips & butterflies

Angela, I hope you are having a great weekend, "visualize whirled peas!" and long live Kermit the Frog.

you are invited to visit Pink Saturday, with Beverly at How Sweet the Sound.

Friday, September 16, 2011


normally I would write about the fact that when I got up this morning the lid to the coffee grinder was awol and so I could not grind those little black beans of energy smiling at me.  I did consider just throwing into the pot as whole beans, but didn't.  Didn't want to waste them.  So no morning coffee. egads!

or the fact that the water heater, always temperamental, seems to finally be done.

and so I faced my morning without a hot shower and without hot coffee - this is a very big deal to me.  I need at least one or the other.

And my 8th grader came home wearing her boyfriend's sweat shirt.  What?  Really?  Stealing his clothes already?  "Mom!  It is a thing at school, the girl's wear their boyfriend's clothes.  I didn't steal it, he offered."  Uh huh.  We will not even get into the feminist implications of all that.

But little Hawk has eclipsed all that.

We have these bar stools in the kitchen.  I have asked my husband to help me move them several times.  They are heavy, maybe iron?  Anyway - little Hawk pitched off of one last night and split his head open, total watermelon.  I iced it, swapped it with alcohol and assessed.  I did consider glueing it with super glue (one of the best tidbits of knowledge ever. My husband told me that the military came up with super glue for the medics in the field.  I googled it.  A little super glue and a band aid - works wonders.)  But it was in his hair, and it was about an inch long, and because it was swelling up (head injury) it was opening more, and I couldn't get a band aid to hold.  I tried.  Plus we are out of glue.

So off we went to Urgent Care.  Tiger was supposed to be at soccer at 5:30 but we were at Urgent Care from 5 to 7:15.

Interesting, since it is a head and the tension on head skin is different than elsewhere, the Doctor stapled it.  3 staples.  OMG.

That was yesterday.

About 2 hours ago little Hawk was playing with Tiger, slipped on his overalls and went backwards.  Screaming, blood from the staples, swelling.  So I iced it for 20 minutes.  Looks like the staples held, and now little Hawk wants to go outside and play.


I need a drink.

The inventor of cyanoacrylates, Harry Coover, said in 1966 that a CA spray was used in the Vietnam War to retard bleeding in wounded soldiers until they could be brought to a hospital. Butyl cyanoacrylate has been used medically since the 1970s outside the US, but due to its potential to irritate the skin, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration did not approve its use as a medical adhesive until 1998 with Dermabond.[10] Research has demonstrated the use of cyanoacrylate in wound closure as being safer and more functional than traditionalsuturing (stitches).[11] The adhesive has demonstrated superior performance in the time required to close a wound, incidence of infection (suture canals through the skin's epidermal, dermal, and subcutaneous fat layers introduce extra routes of contamination),[11] and final cosmetic appearance.[12][13]

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Colonial Williamsburg, Fife and Drum, September 10, 2011

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Local Contest by Williamsburg Families

Williamsburg Families is a local network set up by two really cool women.  I believe they offer regular contests and give aways, this month they are offing up tickets to Disney on Ice "Dare to Dream."
I wanna go.
I really wanna win!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


Today I had lunch with my good friend M and she knew all about the Vegan thing because *bless her* she reads my blog. So we were talking about it and then Tim being away at a trade show in Las Vegas came up and she wanted to know what I was having for supper - wasn't I cheating?  It is his diet after all.  Except that it is kind of working for me- although I do think after the experiment is all done I want to add oil back into my diet.

But there are little cheats.
I made blueberry muffins for the kids this morning, and I had 3(!) They were good for you muffins, but officially still cheating.

Oatmeal Blueberry Applesauce Muffins by Joy the Baker

Makes 12-15 muffins
  • 1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/4 cups oats
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk (I used regular milk)
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp canola oil 
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 3/4 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Line a 12 cup muffin tin with paper cases or spray with nonstick cooking spray. I simple greased and floured a muffin pan, saving the paper.
In a large bowl combine flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. In a medium bowl combine applesauce, buttermilk, sugar, oil and egg. Make a well in dry ingredients and add applesauce mixture. Stir until just moist. Fold in blueberries. Fill muffin cups 2/3 full.
Bake for 16-18 minutes.

And tonight at dinner we had corn bread !YUMMY! with our roasted vegetables.  The kids had chicken too but that didn't interest me at all.
So there you have it, my big cheats have both been baked goods.  And pretty much that is all I miss.  I've decided I need to find or make-up a recipe for biscottis that doesn't include, eggs, butter or oils.  I miss dunking baked goods into my coffee.

but in trying to find you the recipe for muffins I used this morning I stumbled across this recipe, which I need to try:

Whole Wheat Blueberry Muffins
Inspired by The Garden of Vegan

Makes 8 good size muffins. This recipe is easily doubled.

1/2 cup 1% milk (or you can use non dairy milk)
1 cup oats
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon flax seeds
2 tablespoons water
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup frozen blueberries
1/2 to 1 cup of chopped nuts (I usually use almonds, pecans or walnuts)

1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Prepare muffin tins with muffin cup liners.

2. Prepare the "flax eggs" by first grinding the flax seeds. Add the water to the ground flax seeds and blend together until it starts to thicken up a bit.

3. In a medium bowl, stir together the "flax eggs", milk, applesauce, vanilla and sugar. In a large bowl, stir together the oats, flours, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture and gently fold together. Gently stir in the blueberries and nuts. Spoon into muffin tins and bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Suggested modifications: Make these muffins with your favourite dried chopped fruit instead of the blueberries, and use 3/4 cup or 1 cup of milk instead. Replace the milk with soy milk to make these vegan. I like my muffins a bit drier so you might prefer to add up to 1 cup of milk.

Note: I put a vegan tag on these muffins because they can easily be veganized by using soy milk instead of cow's milk (since they contain no eggs or butter). I am not intending to imply that cow's milk is vegan.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Eating Vegan

So some of you asked what are you eating?

Well over the weekend I made the following zucchini & squash recipe with a few tweaks,
I used Braggs Liquid Aminos instead of olive oil (and I'm pretty sure I used more than two tbsp) and I used Italian Seasoning mix instead of salt & pepper.

I served it with homemade tomato sauce that had roasted eggplant in it.

And Quinoa, which is fairly easy to come by and easy to cook.

We are also eating a lot of lentils, and black beans.  Black beans on a pita or flat bread (oil free of course) smothered in fresh tomatoes from the garden is one of my favorites, plus quick and easy.


    6 cups zucchini cut into large chunks
    6 cups yellow squash cut into large chunks
    2 tbsp olive oil plus extra for greasing pan
    1 tsp garlic powder
    1 tsp salt
    1 tsp ground black pepper


Preheat oven to 450 degrees

Grease roasting pan with olive oil

Chop zucchini and yellow squash and put into large bowl.

Drizzle olive oil over squash. Mix with a large spoon until squash is evenly coated.

Sprinkle garlic powder, salt, and pepper over squash. Mix with a large spoon until squash is evenly coated.

Pour squash onto roasting pan and spread it out until it evenly covers the pan.

Bake 15-20 minutes stirring once until cooked through.

Makes 12 one cup servings but we usually eat 2 cups at a meal.

Number of Servings: 12

Recipe submitted by SparkPeople user BOOKWORM81.

Number of Servings: 12

Sunday, September 11, 2011


guest post by my husband:

Written 9/10/2011

On flight to Las Vegas for SAP Tech Ed. It is seems a little odd to be going to Vegas for the 10th anniversary of 9/11. Doesn't seem like the appropriate place to be. Having grown up close to NYC, lived in Hoboken when the Twin Towers were first bombed, and in the air the morning of 9/11 it seems like I should be doing something different.
Just weeks before 9/11, my family visited the Oklahoma City memorial. I remember being drained by the sense of loss. I couldn't comprehend how anyone could do such a terrible thing. On 9/11/01 I traveled back to OKC for work. We knew something was wrong on the flight to Dallas but had no information so we sat and wondered. When we landed in DFW I was the first person off the plane. We were met by Bo the head of ground operations for USAirways. I asked him what is going on. He was visibly upset, he said "you wouldn't believe me if I told you, find a monitor in the terminal". As soon as I stepped out of the jetway I saw on the screen a tower falling.
My first response was to call my wife which was more difficult because cell service was struggling to keep up with the call volume. I did get through and she was mad at me for waking up Shawn and Kathleen. I told her I was OK and she needed to turn on CNN. There were no taxis and no rental cars. I called my friends at Verizon and they picked me up. I sat with them in the Verizon cafeteria watching the news trying to comprehend the events. I eventually found myself at the Marriott Solana my home away from home for the past 3 years trying to figure out what I should do next. I was suppose to be in OKC.
I eventually made contact with Daniel a consultant that I worked with from Cap. His car was at Love Field and he was in OKC and he wanted me to drive his car up to OKC. I had lunch at Lascala Joes the Italian restaurant that I frequently ate at when I stayed at the Solana. Anthony the owner and friend had his sister drive me to Love field. I met Daniel's mom there and she gave me a spare set of keys to his car so I could drive to OKC.
I drove the 3 hours from Dallas to OKC and checked into my hotel. I watch the local news morn the loss of NYC search and rescue teams that had lost their lives that day. These same people had been deployed to OKC to help with the bombing and were local hero's. I wanted to be home with my family but there was little I could do. I eventually made my way home the day they reopened the airports. It took days to get from OKC to RIC.
I am grateful for those that protect us, my family, my friends, and those who work for me.
Tomorrow I will spend the day with a good friend playing golf. I will not take for granted meaning of the day or just how luckly and blessed I am.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

its here!

I'm a closet fashion junkie- yup.
In High School I subscribed to Vogue and Bazaar and read them religiously.  I had a bulletin board covered in glossy prints I'd ripped from the Magazines.  And then I let the idea that I was too smart to care about clothes get in the way - I mean, smart girls are not slaves to fashion right? Leave that to the Barbie wannabe's.  And I kind of did- and then I married a guy who was pretty conservative and I stepped further away from my love of fashion.  And then I experienced my first pregnancy and my body changed entirely and I didn't even know how to dress...

But 3 years ago I resubscribed to Vogue - and this week is fashion week and I'm sneaking peaks via youtube (thanks to Mashable)

And yesterday my new T Shirt arrived. *yay!*  I mentioned a week or two ago that Karl Lagerfeld had a line for Macy's coming out.  Why do I care?  Because Karl Lagerfeld is the head designer at the Chanel House:

Karl Lagerfeld (born Karl Otto Lagerfeldt on September 10, 1933 in Hamburg) is a German fashion designer, artist and photographer based in Paris, France. He has collaborated on a variety of fashion and art related projects, most notably as head designer and creative director for the fashion house Chanel. Lagerfeld helms his own label fashion house, as well as the Italian house Fendi.

growing up my mother adored Chanel.  She couldn't ever dream of owning it although my dad would splurge on Chanel 5 and my mother would use it sparingly on fancy occasions.  But she emulated the fashion house's lines the best she could.  

More recently it has been said that under Lagerfeld's influence Chanel is one of the few remaining design houses to continue to use artisans in creating couture, sequins are still hand sewn!  Artisan lace and embroidery is still used.  (I am not sure of the source, so I could be wrong but the idea is nice!)

So the idea that Macy's had a line by Lagerfeld was just thrilling to me - because I can't afford Chanel (yet) but I can splurge on a T-Shirt.  And so I did *yay!* and it came yesterday! *yay* and I feel so stinking cool!

(no, that isn't me!)

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Help

Saturday I decided that really wanted to see this movie. It stars Emma Stone, I read and enjoyed the book, I am fascinated by the history of racial relations in the United States, I needed a night out. So I put an open invite out there on Facebook and my friend Heather O said she could meals the 9:45 show. My bedtime is 10 so I started drinking coffee.

It is a lovely movie. I am not even going to try to be a critic here- but the visually it was lovely. Notice the wall paper, notice the furniture, notice the clothing, the houses, the cars, the gloves.

Leslie Jordan plays the newspaper man, not a big part of the movie but I loved every second he had, hilarious.

The mother, such the over characterization of the southern mother, "Love and hate are two horns on the same goat, and you need a goat!" I nearly peed my pants. I do not have a southern mother but I live here in Virginia and as they will remind you in Richmond, Richmond was the Capitol.  I knew mothers like this when I was in high school.

Emma Stone did a fabulous job as Skeeter (the main character).  I first became a fan of Emma Stone in "Easy A."  There is something about this actress that stands out, I'm not exactly sure what it is.  I am going to enjoy watching her career.

Jessica Chastain's character, Celia, made the movie for me.  So funny and very sweet Celia tried so darn hard.

Obviously the movie is about racial issues. The whole thing about the toilet, "they have different diseases than we do". And the idea that white children were raised by black women, and then they children grew up to be "exactly like they mamas". I am sure that the author, Kathryn Stockett, did hear and experience similar stories to those in the book while growing up in Jackson. But for her, a white woman, to put words in the mouths of black women, that was hard for me to take and I'm white.  (My friend Heather said one of her friends called the book racist because of that - )  But you have to wonder if the author only says it is purely fiction to cover herself and if she DID go around interviewing people.  In fact, I've been to the author's website and it leaves a lot to the imagination.  My friend Heather also said that the author grew up with help and did have a maid named Constantine, like the main character in the book did.  I am not sure where she learned this though.  I have heard that within the black community there are people who see the book and the movie as racist and won't have anything to do with it.  I have also heard that there are writers within the black community who are frustrated that "their story" is being told by a white woman when their own books are not as widely received.  But I have also heard that there are those within the black community who read the book and liked it, who saw the movie and liked it.  So who knows.  My mother said that she has friends who've seen it, who grew up with help, who cried throughout the entire movie.

I Googled the help to find trailers and images to share here and came across an article in the Washington Post entitled:
"The Help movie release brings new attention to author, lawsuit"
I think it discusses some of the controversy around the book and movie better than I can.

I like this "meet the characters" with Viola Davis:

But in the end, did I like it?  Was it worth the $10.00 to see it in the theater?
Yes, I think so.  If you haven't read the book there are two scenes that are going to make you fall out laughing - if you have read it you know what I'm talking about and rest assured, its in there.  So yes, I do recommend the movie.  I thought it was entertaining, it was well done, I loved all the design work that went into it, and besides, you need to see it to enter into the discussions about it.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Monday Morning - Coffee and a book "The Family Nobody Wanted"

I mentioned earlier this summer that I was looking for a book but could not remember the title, and then I stumbled across the blog "A Baker's Dozen" and on her books page I found "The Family Nobody Wanted" and thought, that's it!
I tried my local library but they don't have it anymore.
It is out of print.
So I searched for it on Amazon and it arrived at my house while I was away at Hilton Head with the family.
During the Hurricane I reread the book.  It was what I'd hoped it was.

I first read this book when my family was in Badajoz Spain.  Somehow we had come into a collection of books (Cheaper by the Dozen was in the pile too) I was a reader by nature and was further encouraged by my parents to help us expand our English vocabulary even as we became more and more comfortable conversing in Spanish.

I eagerly devoured all of the books available, but I don't think anyone expected this book to imprint upon me as it did.  I did not fully realize the extent to which it seems to have influenced me until I reread it.  Surely, Helen Doss could not have expected her young readers to internalize her story.  But I did, in 1980, 15 years after it was published.

Perhaps it was the military dependent life style.  Moving often as we did it is easy for your nuclear family to become your whole world.  We had moved to Spain in the winter, I think I celebrated my birthday in the hotel.  We stayed in the hotel for months.  People were pleasant but we didn't make friends.  We attended the public school in the spring, again people were nice but we didn't make friends.  We moved into an apartment.  In the fall we enrolled in a different school.  That meant that for nearly a year my brother and my sister (18 months younger than I am, and 3 years younger than I am) were my near constant companions but none of us had outside friends.  So this image of a family of twelve kids, three of them the same age, was hugely powerful.  I believe I first wanted to be a child in a family like the Doss family and then somewhere along the line I wanted to be Mrs. Doss.  I will never claim to be able to parent like she did, but as I reread the book I see many of the seeds sewn during my first reading.

Mrs. Doss's ideas about what it means to be a family, to compromise, to support your spouse, to seek and follow God, ideas regarding race and racism, and race blind families.

Interesting to me is the resistance she initially received from the social workers.

I started reading it aloud to my children during the hurricane.  Getting all of my kids in one place is not easy so its a little slow going, but they really like the book.  They've requested it at meal times.  And no, I am not worried that it will give the kids ideas about growing our family.  They do that all on their own, for a month now MLyons has been announcing to everybody that will listen that she is getting a baby sister.  I am not actively looking for a little girl, but as MLyons knows, I believe there is always room for one more.

My only wish is that someone would make this book into a movie.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

more 4 year old moments

This evening we were headed to dinner at my mother's.  A friend of the family, who also works with Tim, was invited as well.  We saw him in his car headed to our mutual destination and Bitsy (who is 4) pipes up from her car seat.
"Mom is that Blake?"
Yes Bitsy.
"Mom Blake going to Nana's?"
Yes Bitsy.
"Mom, you need a fancy dress."
"Mom, you need a fancy dress and you dance with Blake."
Umm... okay, but not tonight honey.  We are not dancing tonight.
"I really wanna see that."
"And you kiss him on the lips."
No honey. -laughing- I already have a prince.  I only kiss daddy on the lips.
"oh" disappointed.

*what has she been watching?*

Friday, September 2, 2011

ash tree

A young woman at work (I work from home but I get into the office sometimes) asked me an interesting favor the other day.
She has three tattoos on her back; they are symbols (chinese?) for life, faith and love or happiness.  One high, one middle, one low.  She wants to incorporate them into a tree that covers her whole back.  Two of her friends were working on sketches- and she was wondering if I would think about a sketch.

I've been mulling over it for days.

First trees, I had in mind a sort of Tolkein-ish elvish tree, along the lines of something Alan Lee might offer.  And I wondered what sort of tree was I trying to draw?  I googled trees, and druidic trees and was drawn to descriptions of the ash tree:

Ash Moon

February 18 - March 17: In the Norse eddas, Yggdrasil, the world tree,
was an Ash. The spear of Odin was made from the branch of this tree,
which is also known by the Celtic name Nion, pronounced knee-un. This
is one of three trees sacred to the Druids (Ash, Oak and Thorn), and this
is a good month to do magic that focuses on the inner self. Associated with
ocean rituals, magical potency, prophetic dreams and spiritual journeys, the
Ash can be used for making magical (and mundane) tools -- these are said
to be more productive than tools made from other wood. If you place Ash
berries in a cradle, it protects the child from being taken away as a changeling
by mischevious Fae.
Magickal usage: The Ash was one of the sacred Druidic three: ‘Oak, Ash & Thorn’, 
and the month of Ash is a good time to do magick designed to learn your inner self. 
The Ash has applications in magick done for sea power, ocean rituals, karmic laws, 
magical potency, healing, protection from drowning, love, rain making,
 women’s mysteries, prophetic dreams, general protection, Prosperity, and health.

particularly that the ash tree was associated with magic that focused on the inner self. This seemed to speak to what my friend was attempting in wearing the tattoo.

I googled images of Ash Trees this image at Gypsy Magic really spoke to me but wasn't quite right for someone's tattoo.  John Constable's drawing helped:

I did find another image of an old tree the Woollcombe ash tree from Ashbury Park.  The asymmetry seems typical of the ash and the mark from the missing limb spoke to me.

  That lead to two drafts, the second is below.

I have never had a tattoo, and originally I was thinking linear imagery, but then it seemed to me I've seen tattoos with fuzzier lines.  More importantly I keep thinking how much they must hurt and that every mark needs to be necessary...

I am struggling with the idea of leaves.  I do not imagine a dead tree or a dormant tree, but to do leaves would end with a lot of ink across her shoulders and neck.  Does she want something that heavy?

Thursday, September 1, 2011

read this!

Prostituted children find refuge in survivor's 'tough love'

By Jacque Wilson, CNN
August 31, 2011 10:35 a.m. EDT

  • Lisa Williams founded Living Water for Girls, a safe house for prostituted children
  • A survivor herself, Williams uses her history to understand what the girls go through
  • Williams: "I tell [God] that as long as he opens the doors, I will show up"

article begins:

(CNN) -- The 10-year-old was being charged with prostitution. She wore a detention jumpsuit. She had shackles binding her skinny ankles.
It was an image that Lisa Williams couldn't comprehend.
She read through the newspaper article. Nowhere did it mention the pimp who had sold this girl or the men who had bought her -- they weren't being charged. Williams stared at the child's photo in horror.
"It's as if [the law] was saying she woke up that morning and decided she wanted to be sold to 10 to 15 men," Williams said. "That just didn't make sense to me."

Irene at my house

So this is a late post because, well there was a hurricane.
I am lucky, I had a generator hooked into the house gas supply and so I was never out of power. But my computer's Belkin guard didn't like the generator's power (I'm not an electrician but believe me, it didn't)
So I commandeered my husband's a few times but his doesn't have the photos...

I am not showing you photos of the storm. The American News websites are full of them.


MLyons does not like storms. She has come a long way but the idea of a hurricane was a bit too much. We have many large trees around our house so the kids were not allowed out of the basement for fear of a tree falling on the house. This is MLyons in the basement in my "playroom" tucked off the main basement room. She says she is going to be an artist when she grows up. I had bought some small pre stretched canvases and some student quality acrylics to work with MLyons & K this summer but with K's broken wrist we haven't gotten to it.

I set her up with a still life of three plums on a plate.  Gave her a little instruction (just a little. "please try this, in mommy's painting class Bonnie liked us to find the shapes with Burnt Sienna and the shadows with Ultra Marine Blue before we started painting the colors")

After dinner we watched Gnomeo and Juliet on the apple TV - I laughed out loud at the whole Tikki Tikki Tikki Room scene - hilarious.

And then we tucked the kids into bedrolls in the basement.  In this part of the state basements are not common so I am lucky to have ours.  And lucky it is big and roomy and we all fit on the floor.
As I said before, only a few trees came down on our street.  No one was hurt and most of the trees did little to no damage.

My husband spent the day after the storm running up and down the street with is chain saw "playing lumber jack" my friend Laura said, he was helping neighbors with their trees.  Until a particularly nasty incident when they came across a bee's nest.

We ran a wire from our generator to our immediate next door neighbor's house so they could keep their refrigerator cold.

Isabel had us out of power for 10 days, dropped a tree on my car, and another on my roof.  Irene was so much nicer too us.

Now I here there is another brewing and tracking for the Carolina's.  Hopefully it doesn't make landfall...