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It puts the lotion on it's... fleece?

The problem with nurturing a child's inquisitive nature is that you reach a certain point where you can't get by wiht an easy, or obtuse answer.

We were eating lunch at a burger place in Savannah that happened to have a Gator theme, which of involved the real deal (or a facsimile thereof) mounted on the wall.  Only one was a full gator and the other was just the skin.  Sebastian wanted to know why they were different, and the only way I could think of to explain it to him in terms of things he already knew was to say that the alligatore had been "peeled".

Cool, right?

Yesterday, when we were driving back from the airport, Sebastian was looking at a photo of himself on a sheepskin.  He really would not take any of my roundabout explanations that didn't involve sheep slaughter to finally, I looked at him and said "Sebastian, a sheepskin come from when a sheep gets peeled." 

Fearing that I had just broken my kid,  I went on to elaborate that when a sheep gets too old to make babies, or milk, that the sheep farmer will turn the sheep into meat and a sheepskin so that nothing from the animal gets wasted, that that's the most respectful thing we can do.  I think his confusion came from going to a sheep shearing and seeing the fleeces shaved off the sheep and he needed clarification on the difference... the shaved sheep get to keep their skin, you know?

But yeah, when the local sheep start disappearing and Sebastian starts talking about making a sheep suit, well, I guess I'll have to take the blame.



Sauerkraut, pork chops and potatoes for dinner.

We had our final friend-gathering of the holiday season yesterday.  Pork and sauerkraut, rum balls, The Nutcraker (with Baryishnakov... not my favorite, I thought it was, but I was wrong and it's still lovely), and gingerbread cookie making with The Montgomerys.  Wonderful end to the Season.  The kids got a little cracked-out by the end of the evening, which is to be expected, but they all got along and played well and cooperated with the cookie baking.  It was amusing watching the little ones alternating between extreme concentration whilst decorating the gingerbread people and hoovering up the candy adornments... literally in some cases.

Raven really liked her gift and I hope she gets to work learning to spin so that she can teach me. :P  I'm really pleased this year that the vast majority of our gifts were obtained locally or through independent retailers.  There were some gift cards that got shipped off to Maine and a book ordered on KnitPicks.com the day after it came out (so could be sure to have it in time).  Arline and Waynes photobook and some goodies from Kitchen & Co. round out my purchases.  Doug pretty much limited himself to The Mall so.... at least it's brick and mortar.

We are in discussion with the Montgomeries about doing a "giftless Christmas" next year wherein we focus on doing activities and spending time with our loved ones instead of presents.  I rather like it -- maybe not as a whole, but as an experiment with our families.  I can think of some lovely activies we could do AND if our families spend the money usually reserved for gifts on an group outing, we could have quite a lot of fun.  Also, next year I think that Doug and I are going to focus more on handmade gifts or small luxuries.  I love giving gifts and find myself "holding off" until Christmas and then being frustrated by budget constraints.  So I think this upcoming year, we are going to allocate more money/ energy for birthday gifts and do something smaller for Christmas.  Doug has also pointed out that I undervalue my abilities when it comes to handmade gifts.  I get what he means.  I love to recieve handmade presents.  One of my favorite presents this year was an apple pie that Laci made.  Amy makes amazing soaps... these things are awesome, in my book and dont need to be added-to.  I however, feel the need to couple a handmade gift with a "real" gift.  Where did this thought come from??   I have always valued such things from others, but can't accept that my efforts are worthwhile?  *sighs* It is tricky terrain, indeed, and the reason why I may decided to limit next years' holiday gifting to be nearly exclusively handmade.......  so I'd better get started, um, yesterday.

Speaking of handmade.... the Stone Fruit Brandy that I've had mascerating since June?  Amazing.  Too bad I didn't get it labeled and bottled in time to give out.... guess I'll have to drink it all myself.   Can I do calligraphy and decoupage a glass bottle instead of figuring out a way to print fancy labels?  For all the time I spend on this monstrosity, since I stopped working in a cubicle, I have become quite the computer ignoramus.

New Year's here was... well, not a terribly auspicious start to the new year.  I charged Doug with figuring out entertainment - granted with not heaps of notice - and after he realized that everthing traditional was booked, he became stymied.  Oh, did I mention that we were Child Free?  Yep.  Kimmie called me early in the month and asked that she keep Sebastian on New Year's Eve so she could do an activity with him on New Year's Day.  I hope they have awesome kids eventually because we are going to be doing a LOT of babysitting.  Anyway, we finally decided on going to see TRON Legacy in 3D since Doug hasn't seen any of the new 3D stuff and we only go to the movies twice a year or so.  It's a big treat for us.  Before, we tossed around a bunch of ideas and decided that we should go to Pho Nu Vu for dinner.  We love pho AND I could get the spicy kind since I didn't have to share with The Boy.  So pho, movie, and then made it to my Mom's house to suprise her about 10 minutes before the Ball dropped with gingerale and cranberry juice from Wawa.  I

We were supposed to go to the Mummer's parade the next day... have been trying to go for ages.  The day started out with Doug and I oversleeping because he didn't set the alarm.  Then we tried to decide whether to go or not, then decided to go anyway and wander for a few hours just to, you know, wander.  Then trying to find a train station that he didn't write the address down for (he thought I knew where it was and I only know OF it) then trying to find another one whilst swearing at the gps.  Then deciding just to drive up (and realize that the parking vouchers I'd printed as backup were at home) and THEN when we got there, we realized that Kimmie's plans had her back at our house at 4 but she was going to be at the Mall at 3 and so we could just meet her at the mall.  So we turned around in center city and went to the mall.  There, I convinced Doug to wander around Anthropologie with me, took a cursory stop at LUSH and then headed to the bookstore where I roasted in my layers but chilled out with a pile of knitting books for awhile.  Afterwards we treated The Boy and Aunt Kimmie to BBQ at Famous Daves.

On one hand we had a day where nothing we had planned came to fruition, and where I came the closest I have been to tears with childlike dissapointment in a LONG TIME.

Or, to rewrite it:

I had the first full, uninterrupted night's sleep I've had in ages, followed by an exploratory drive with my husband (which we do enjoy), then a bookstore date and an amazing BBQ dinner.  That's like, two dates in a row full of our favorite things.

It's all perspective, I suppose.  Perhaps the days plans were really a will o' the wisp leading us off into a disasterous situation that we successfully avoided.  *nods sagely*

Now I must return to my knitting since I'd like to get Amy's Yule gift to her sometime before February.

Dec. 26th, 2010

I am such a hypocrite. 

For years I as admant that I would not teach my children about Santa.  I loathed the idea.  I love the idea of Father Christmas and the origins of Santa, though, so I was walking a fine line.  What always left a bad taste in my mouth is the Be Good = Prezzies  Be Bad = No Prezzies/Coal idea, especially.

So this year when Sebastian asked about "Santata" I decided to go the "Some people believe" route.  And it worked.  For awhile.  I did take him to the Holly Tree to see "Santata" as a suprise (he was suprised) and finally, right around Christmas Eve..... I caved.  We left milk and cookies, we talked about how maybe Santata would bring him a special gift (traffic cones.... The Boy got traffic cones from Santata) and we hung up our stockings AND we left milk and cookies that he and Nana had baked out.  And left a letter. The Boy also pulled a chair over to the plate so that Santata could sit down to eat.



(and you know what?  It was FUN!)
I have always had random cravings for food. Always. It's probably what has made me a decent, and semi-adventurous cook.  I have also had sudden and intense needs for certain kinds of music.  Lately though, I have been having visual cravings.  I just realized it when clearing out my fall decor.  This year I NEEDED to see white gourds in my hand lathed wooden bowl on the table.  I loved how the wood brought out the different tones of white and the textures.  I needed to see it, almost as a still life. 

I realized then that I get almost hungry for certain colors or images and feel like I can't make my eyes big enough to take it in.  It feels odd.  Right now, for example, I want misty dove grey and green together.  Blue- Teal (cerulean?) and mustard yellow.   More white and brown.  Garnet.   I think that's why I knit - just to get my hands on color.  Also why I take photos, only I've stopped some because I've reached a point where my camera/skills aren't quite getting the image I know is there.  Also because what does one do with the photos in the end?

Here's a small pile of photos that make me happy right now.

Ferns!  Out of focus clematis is not my favorite, but I am too lazy to upload the right one. :)

'cause all the cool kids are doing it.



The Five Love Languages

My primary love language is probably
Quality Time
with a secondary love language being
Acts of Service.

Complete set of results

Quality Time: 9
Acts of Service: 6
Receiving Gifts: 6
Physical Touch: 5
Words of Affirmation: 4


Unhappiness in relationships, according to Dr. Gary Chapman, is often due to the fact that we speak different love languages. Sometimes we don't understand our partner's requirements, or even our own. We all have a "love tank" that needs to be filled in order for us to express love to others, but there are different means by which our tank can be filled, and there are different ways that we can express love to others.

Take the quiz

Winter is really on it's way...

You know it's a sign of the season change when we run out of eggs.  It always takes me by suprise, there are months and months of trying to squeeze another carton of eggs into the stack in the pantry and sending folks off with them...

"Please, take eighteen and not a dozen, we've got plenty"

Although I have to admit I've gotten slightly less generous than the first year or two we had chickens... not realizing the abrupt drop and experiencing substantial flock mortality episodes will do that to you.  Still, it's always a bit of a suprise. 

This year I have gotten so used to my breakfast preference that it's become a bit of a ritual.  Three poached eggs and two pieces of toasted sprouted bread.  Every morning.  Sometimes two - the third is if I'm eating after Sebastian has had his breakfast because I'll have to share bites with him.   When I eat that for breakfast, I make significantly fewer stupid food choices later in the day.  But now we'll have to find alternatives to our 7-8 egg a day habit.

Poached eggs are a bit of a miracle to me.  I have never liked the crispy edges and oft-rubbery whites of a fried egg.  I loate a broken, flattened cooked-through yolk.   A proper yolk, in my opinion, needs to be rich orangey yellow and just cooked enough to be warm and thick - oozing across my toast when broken like tasty lava.  I am not sure anymore what led me to pick up my broken-down copy of Fanny Farmer to poach an egg - I've always expected to need an "egg poacher" to do it. Turns out I didn't.  It was more complicated than cracking an egg into a pan, but like most things, over time it's become simple to me. Now I can make my eggs, my toast, and my coffee and get them all to the table at the same time -- another miracle, really.

First simmer and inch or so of water in a covered saute pan.  Add a splash of vinegar to the water, more if you like the taste of vinegar in your eggs (I do).  Once the water is simmering and just a little bubbly, crack a room temperature (important!) egg into a small bowl or saucer.  Slip the egg slowly into the simmering water.  Repeat for as many eggs as you want being careful not to crowd the pan.   Once they begin to set  you can cover the pan or just spoon the simmering water over the yolks.  When the whites are cooked  and the yolks are set on the outside they are done.  I test the yolk with my fingertip to make sure it's thickened, but you can use the rounded part of a spoon basin.  Then dip the eggs out of the water with a slotted spoon and deposit them onto a clean dishtowel. This is important.  For a long time, I just drained them as best I could in the spoon and deposited them onto my toast: cue soggy toast.  Once they've drained for a minute, tranfer to you plate,  add fancy salt and pepper, toast triangles and gobble it all up before your toddler does.

This morning, though, I had to make due with a little leftover chicken (ours)  and stuffing... and gravy.  Mmmmm.  Gravy. 

Rescued post from Nov. 13th.

I never thought I'd say this but..... I'm sick of the smell of bacon.

I spent hours today cooking bacon for Sebastian's birthday breakfast tomorrow.  Hours.  I have prepared 10 POUNDS of bacon in the oven today (prior to cooking of course). I am not sure if our yeild matches the amount I prepared due to the frequent need for Quality Assurance testing by myself, Doug, Ophelia, and Sebastian. (the little ones come to me with open mouths and wait patiently to recieve the sacrament of bacon - it's bizarre)

to bed to bed to bed 

trying not to think about the fact that my baby will be three on Monday.  Three.  Not sure what's socking it to me so hard with this birthday, but it is.  I just want to encapsulate every sweet moment with him in amber and preserve it there forever.... or until someone you know, decided to make a brooch of it.

Party in the coop!

Apparently the moon is very bright tonight.  Bright enough even, to confuse some of the younger chickens.  They are pretty sure it's still daytime. 

I am SO not bringing them coffee with their feed in the morning.


Oct. 17th, 2010

I'm hoping that the fact that I've stayed rather sane this weekend is a good indicator that the past two weeks of hellish, soul-eating, depressive funk is gone for a good while.  You know it gets bad when I don't even have the gumption to bitch about it on LJ.

We have had some lovely Autumn flavoured days.  Attended BOTH Apple Butter Festivals on Saturday.  Apparently there was a falling-out between the Farm Museum and the Elk Creek Preservation Society and instead of collaborating on a festival at The Beehive (crumbly cluster of historic buildings) as usual, there were two festivals this year.   One at The Beehive and one three minutes up the road at the Fair Hill Fairgrounds.  On the same day.  At the same time.  We went to both.  I liked the one at The Beehive a bit better  - they had hayrides and all my favorite vendors - and liked their apple butter a bit better (blind tasting with D afterwards!) but the tractors and old cars and music were nice at Fair Hill.  Both are five minutes or so from our house.  Danielle and Landen came with us but Landen spent most of the time freaking out/running off/being aggressive - little dude was having a BAD day.  Bastian nommed a popcorn ball, discovered a love of mulled apple cider and went nuts when a bagpiper showed up and started playing.  Blew his little mind.  He loved the Highland Gathering and when a bagpiper showed up not moments after we explained to him for the eleventybillionth time that the Highland Gathering (which is held at the FairGround) would not be until next Spring he perked up and went flying out of the building we were in as fast as his little feet could carry him.

Today we trekked up to visit the much-spoken-of Hawk Mountain.  Since we can't really rationalize taking a New England drive this year, we figured some sort of foliage-y excursion would be worthwhile.  It certainly was.  We couldn't have asked for a better day.  It's a nice hike up to the North Overlook and I was really proud that Sebastian made it up (with side trips) without being carried once.  He was relatively well behaved on the rock outcroppings as well.  The child has NO FEAR of falling.  He looks out over the valley, points to the River of Rocks an calmly asked me if we could go "over there".  Um, no honey, you can't just prance off a cliff to get to the bottom. At least not in one piece.  We also found an assortment of acorns and after his pockets and Dougs pockets started filling up I begged him to leave them for the squirrels lest the resort to various acts of desperation in order to get through the winter.  NO ONE WANTS TO SEE A STARVING SQUIRREL *shudders* 

I loaded the kiddo in the Ergo for the walk down and he passed out ten minutes later.  It was nice, having a quiet walk with Doug and knowing exactly where The Boy was.  It was also nice to be able to look up for a bit. I got some good pictures of Doug and The Boy.  Had a lovely rambling drive up to the mountain.  Want to further investigate two B&Bs in the area to do it again.  And um, decided that it's absolutely time for new sneakers since mine offered little traction and less protection from the point rocks.  *winces*  I did think to massage Bastian's legs with arnica oil before he went to bed - hopefully that will keep him from waking with aching legs like he sometimes does after a big day.

The drive did make be very nostalgic for D's and my early courting days of driving around New Hampshire and Vermont in the autumn.  I'm so grateful that we got to fall in love amidst the golden light and russet foliage of autumn in New England.  It's nice to revisit that now and again. 


Nanny Ogg

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