Thursday, January 31, 2013


As I sit in the morning sun, eating my granola and homemade yogurt, sipping jasmine tea and giggling at the way the cat and dog always find the warmest place to wait for the late morning start that has become normal around here. Somehow I trained my girl that morning is after 9 and she should sleep until then no matter when we went to bed. Not sure I how I got so lucky! Especially when us grown-ups have to get up and tend to the animals and prepare for jobs just before dawn, which is about 6:45 these days.

I digress.

With the dog on the sofa in the sun, and the cat on the bed snuggling with munchkin, I have so many thoughts and dreams running circles through my head. I find myself returning to the same dream at the brink of every new season: Returning to Portland. Perhaps this Spring will be our last in the Midwest. Perhaps this summer I can spend hours on the river bank with my sisters and dear friends who I haven't seen in nearly 2 years (wow!). Or perhaps, I'll plant the infamous Texas Summer garden for canning in late October. Which brings me back to now: planning for the garden!

I have been enjoying Sharon Lovejoy's Roots Shoots Buckets and Boots. Themed gardening with kids. Easily grown edible flowers and vegetables with ideas for things to watch for as you walk daily with children in the garden and unique ways to eat the harvest . I think we've decided on the Sipping and Snacking Garden, if I can find Alpine Strawberry and Lemon Cucumber seedlings here in Texas. If not, I do believe we will be modifying the design to fit what we have. It will be fun to teach Emagene which flowers are edible, sprinkling them on salads and freezing them in ice cubes for decorating tea!

I'm excited to get at it! The list is already forming: I need to replenish my kelp and fish emulsion, purchase B12 for transplanting and get that compost really worked into the garden. We spread a bunch of homemade compost just after New Year and have been letting the chickens pick the mealworms out of the garden plots. It may be time to start working the soil and mixing it all together, keeping in mind it is only barely February and we are due for at least one more round of hard freezing. But it is never to early to acquire seeds, order seedlings (from where? must find a local nursery!) and make the endless To Do lists that litter my counter and are promptly forgotten when the old Fisher Price Sherwood Forest playset (dubbed the Treehouse around here) starts calling for the dollhouse family to come play, which or course takes at least two humans since there are six dolls and a puppy to manipulate.

Well, that's how I spend most of my days. (Enter Fresh Prince of Bel Air reference here.) What's going on in your world?

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

i've been busy...and sick

It's been a little crazy around here. Are you surprised? Probably not. I recently got a part-time job at a local grocer, went to Tulsa twice, organized a baby-sitting swap, tried to work some healing magic on a chicken, and keep my house work under control. Needless to say, none of it went completely smooth and I ended upon the sofa, sick with exhaustion at least twice in the last month. The flu has been going around both work places so I wouldn't surprised if my run-down self was a little more susceptible than usual. I'm glad I didn't get the full-blown yuckies. An afternoon of children's videos - namely Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and Clifford the Big Red Dog - and playing treehouse on the sofa, an extra day off to get fully restored and I am back at chasing neighborhood cats off my chickens, cleaning up the poop of 7 small beings, and carefully choosing which room of the house receives attention on my days off. I don't plan on returning to Tulsa for a few months (hence the need for an in-town part timer) so hopefully the normalcy of grown-up life will return and bring peace of body with it.

Not all my sofa time was wrapped in misery. E and I started talking about what she wants to do for her birthday. She's been to a few parties now and I believe we have moved into the realm of having to celebrate with style. Just having a playdate at the park with cupcakes, probably won't cut it any more. There must be balloons, possibly a pinata, a cake, presents and friends. I asked her if she wanted chocolate or white cake and she said "Pink. Like Minnie." So we googled images of Minnie Mouse themed cakes. I did not allow myself to become overwhelmed with impossible expectations. When I googled Toy Story Jessie cakes (if her birthday had been last summer, this would've been the theme) I did get a feeling of gratitude that we were going with a Minnie idea. (Try it and you'll see what I'm talking about. I used the search key 'Minnie Cake Images.') And in typical Sara Fashion, I wrote a list of all things needed for a fabulous, no budget party and then immediately began downsizing to where we would actually have the party, what can we make, what can we get second hand, what do we actually need to have, etc. I have arrived at: cupcake papers, junior mints (for Minnie's ears), food coloring, white circle sprinkles, some kind of edible bow cake decoration, a couple of plastic Disney action figures, a handful of helium ballons (at least one resembling or picturing Minnie), savory snacks to balance out the sugar and keep the kids from killing each other, homemade invitations, goodie bags and possibly a homemade pinata. Do people do invitations any more?  Also, did you know that if you send an invitation to your gathering to Minnie at Disneyland or Disneyworld, she'll send you a signed postcard? No really. Check it out here. So doing that for a 3-year old who loves to get the mail!

Monday, January 14, 2013

A Day for the Making

Today was definitely a day for making. It seems that leaving the sewing machine out on the kitchen table overnight begs little girls (and bigs one too for that matter) to wake up and make something. So with a little help from my cheering section and a lot reaching around a helper literally on my knee, we created this.

Munchkin wanted to use the machine. We had made this purse for her yesterday
(based off a pattern I saw in this book from Cosmo we got at the library) and she proved herself able to follow directions as a very helpful backstitch-button pusher and pin-put-away-er. She wanted another go. Instead of just making lines on scrap fabric we dug around in the fabric chest and found a project I had started years ago. It was all pinned and waiting. We accepted the challenge to finish the project!

It's slightly changeable, depending where I want the ties to land, which is nice. And all made of repurposed fabric. The green in a poorly fitted bedsheet, the purple left over from the aisle runner for my sister's wedding, and the print just kinda showed up in the fabric box one day. I'm pretty happy with how it turned out. (that bottle cap table in the background is waiting for a warm, dry day before I can tell its complete story.)

After a brief snack (of homemade guacamole, of course) and some inspiration from The Barefoot Kitchen Witch, we commenced Family Ravioli night. (I'm still saving my pennies for a pasta press. Any recommendations?)
It's been a while since I was required to knead anything for 10 minutes. My shoulders ached a little and I was glad that everything needs an hour rest between steps. Following the recipe in the link above and applying some of her suggestions to mushrooms, Emagene and I found ourselves here:
Since this happened on a whim, I was sans any sort of white cheese for this project. I do believe it would have been heaps better with shaved Parmesan or fresh mozzarella. However, we only had a minor tea spill and some. flour on the nose so i consider this a win for us in the kitchen!

Yesterday, we made this soup, which E lovingly calls "peanut butter poop." Someday her toddler speech will correct itself and I'll be sad when the cuteness goes with it! Unfortunately, I didn't know I would be posting a creative blog today so I didn't take any pictures. We had to substitute spaghetti noodles since that's all we had in the house and we added a handful of halved grape tomatoes with the cilantro and scallions. It's definitely a recipe I'll try again!! It's from The Complete Book of 400 Soups by Anne Sheasby. We have the 2008 edition.

So there ya go. Hope enjoy this ramble about my busy couple of days. I probably should spend tomorrow cleaning the house since I've done nothing except sweep up flour and thread this week. Thankfully, my husband is a rock star and vacuumed while I wrote this!

Here are a few more photos of our Day (well Days) of Making.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

the inner workings of my mind, part 1

An old college roommate's mother used to say "you can do anything for a year." Its true. I lived in London for almost a year, I've been on the verge of penniless for a year, I've tried so many different forms of religious expression for roughly a year each. I've blogged for a year. I've studied theatre, art history, world religions, American history, farming, birth, parenting, unschooling and other interests for about a year each. (If I keep listing things, I'm gonna sound really old, so I'll stop the list here.)

In all this searching, I've found a handful of constant Truths. The Truth that continues to ring the loudest is We Are All Connected. How I supplement the soil affects the bug population which affects the plant production which affects the food supply which affects the hunger level and food quality of the population which in turn affects the health and peace of the planet. How I treat my neighbor affects his mood which affects how he treats the next person he comes across and so on. From this base, the rest of my convictions begin to take shape.

I was raised in a conservative christian household. Like many "good christian" families we were at the church building any time the doors were open. We limited our interactions to church related activities, "helping" those less fortunate usually by praying for them. And yet I somehow came away from that house with a musical appreciation for the Smashing Pumpkins, Nirvana, Sarah McLachan, Boys to Men, and the other heathen artists of my high school years.

My mother blames my part-time attendance at the public high school for my spiritual degradation. I thank that same experience for opening up my mind to the possibilities this life has to offer. I never would have found my professional passion or my husband without the freedom of mind to explore my convictions. But what I truly learned from that "real world" experience (as real as high school gets) is the simple difference between those two perspectives: blame and thanks. Blaming coats an experience in a blanket of negative assuming the only result is something less than positive. Thanking an experience for the opportunity to learn and grow acknowledges that, while not all the choices made may have been the most helpful, one can come away with profound revelations and know what choice might serve better the next time around. That simple, yet profound distinction set me in a lifelong search for the spiritual expression that makes my soul fly.

And so, here I am nearing the end of a year in Texas surrounded by a lovely group of Wiccans. I have discovered that what I love about Wicca is the same aspect I love about Judaism, Buddhism, Jainism and many tribal ways: the focus on the female in deity and a love of the mystical. It was always hard for me to understand the compassion of an angry Father God, but compassion in a Mother Spirit who holds her children with loving arms while letting them choose their own expression of life without judgment is an easier picture of unconditional love for me to digest. The concept that the energy we put into our deeds comes back to us, found in the theories of Karma or the Three-Fold Rule, which only works when love it spread unselfishly without trying to change or manipulate is such a freeing idea! I don't need to convert anyone to my way of being, I just need to live true to myself and accept others as they are when they cross my path. In doing so, I will inadvertently spread the freedom of simply BE-ing to those around me and spread peace. For when we try to impress others, we begin to let stress into our lives.

While I adore these expressions of love, I do not completely understand any of these faith traditions. I still haven't chosen one that fits me. Chanting in Sanskrit always brings tears to my eyes and releases the tightness in my chest. Honoring the Moon and living by the Seasons is not only sustainable spiritually, it is required if I want my garden to thrive without artificial aides.

At the moment, I am a blend of many things. A little backwoods farmer, a little bit of a country-dweller, a little bit of a city girl, a little bit of a non-Christian. So, according to definition, I must be a Pagan. Whatever label I ascribe myself, I will live fully in accordance to the peaceful nature of my heart. I only ask that you be gentle with my heart, for what faith tradition you choose is your choice and I will not ask you change the direction your heart is set upon.

May we continue our journey together in peace and do our best to understand each other. No one lives the same experience as any one else, therefore we can not expect any one to have the same convictions or be on the same path as ourselves.


Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Today's craft

Inspired by the lovely folks at


Made from yogurt lids, bottle caps and plaster of Paris. Easy, simple, fun for a 2 year old to design.

Obviously, I mixed the plaster and kept a wet towel close by to wipe gunk off her fingers as soon as it touched her. I highly recommend mixing the plaster outside since the dust gets on everything. Otherwise a great, quick, not frustrating craft which we immediately followed with play doh creations.

*disclaimer: only you, the parent/caregiver, know if this activity is appropriate for your children. I am not responsible if your child ingests any plaster of Paris. Please read all warning labels provided by the manufacturer.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013


I think it's mandatory in Blog-Land to celebrate when you've been blogging for a year.

So, YAY! We made it a year!

And, as at this time last year, I feel the dependency upon Facebook to be too strong and disconnected. I want to continue sharing my life in this manor, a little more fully than Facebook allows. However, I have also decided that trying to post multiple times a week doesn't work for me. I am committed to sharing a weekly glimpse into my life and mind. This may happen in a picture post and a thoughtful post or just one blended together. We'll see where life takes us. And with that, where is life taking me??

It seems everyday I slip a little closer to middle aged. I am in the final stages of my early 30s so it's time to face the facts. While I thoroughly enjoyed my 20s, they are over. It's time to blend the Maiden fully into the Mother keeping Crone at bay a little longer, though welcoming her occasional visits. It's time to remember to channel what I want to see in the world around me and to share that vision.

In the coming months I hope to share with you a bit of my journey up until now and the vision I have of the future. By doing so, I hope we can connect on a deeper level and help each other become all we can.

Namaste and Welcome to the New Year!