Saturday, November 22, 2014

Sweet Acorn Squash

We received a delicious acorn squash in our Door to Door Organics delivery and Steven instntly knew what he was going to do with it.  I wasn't pleased with the choice in syrup, but I will admit that the end result was delicious.

First, grab a whole stick of butter, about 1/2 cup of brown sugar (you can totally vary how much this is), and a bottle of syrup.  Next time I would use an organic maple syrup.  Whole foods has a jug I really like.


Cut your squash in half and place half a stick of butter in each half.  

Take a fork and stab the squash a lot.  Really take out some aggression because you need a lot of little holes.  Sprinkle the brown sugar over the edge and into the center of the squash. Then, drizzle the syrup in the same way.

Place in a 400 degree oven for about 35-40 minutes.  This varies by the size of the squash.


It will melt and get soupy while baking.  About half way into cooking, give it a little stir.  This is also a good time to check the tenderness and judge how much longer it might need.  You can also stab a few more holes if you think you need it.

When finished, the sugar will be nice and caramelized. 

I didn't get a picture of the finished result because we grubbed like we were starved when this came out of the oven.  Basically, scoop the squash meat and butter mixture out of the shell and mash it with a potato masher until the consistency you like.  Ours was similar to mashed potato consistency.  

ENJOY!

Swap Loot! : Mythological Creatures and Cryptids

What an awesome mail day!  You know those days when there isn't a bill nestled inside your mailbox?  Those days are awesome, but even more awesome is when your mailman has to ring the doorbell because you have a package.  And even better, when you have 2 packages!

Which is what we had today.  It was a massive swap loot day.  I received an amazing package from the Mythological Creatures swap on Ravelry as well as an equally amazing Cryptid package from RantyHippie on Craftster.  

I was so in love with everything that we took about a million pictures.  Since Persephone has seperation anxiety, she had to be in most of the pictures, but she is too cute not to be.  

First, the Cryptid swap on Craftster:  We opened the box to find this: 



An adorable sea serpent, a mermaid dolly, and a GIANT squid.  

The sea serpent was claimed by the kids, the squid has a home on my bed, and there is a funny story behind the mermaid.  Perry is a hair puller and I have been contemplating getting her a dolly to pull it's hair and maybe not mine.  (pipe dream, I know.)  Earlier in the day I was at the store and looking for dollies.  I couldn't find one.  So imagine how awesome it was to find a mermaid dolly in the box!  Perry loves it.



 So many thanks to RantyHippie for the amazing swap loot.

Next I opened the Mythical Creatures package.  Look at these extras!  Gorgeous purple yarn, dragon toys for the kiddos, stickers (that  my older and tomboy daughter declared were for the baby's scrapbook, amigurimi eyes, and delicious smelling tea.  Oh, and Troy has asked to hang the postcard in his room.
 Medusa hair bookmarks.  Such a clever idea!  My daughter has decided that I may have one because I don't get to read as often as she does.

Then we found a present for Steven.  Chthulu.  And he is riding along with Steven at work tonight, although the baby loves him too.


A beautiful mermaid tail scarf that has been confiscated by the girl child...but she looks so cute in it!



And a unicorn lovey for Perry.  I have also been looking at getting her or making her a lovey and instead we have a beautiful homemade lovey...with a unicorn.






And a few bonus pics of the kiddos playing with the dragons.





Friday, November 21, 2014

That's What She Said: When Life Shatters You

That's What She Said 2

Our lovely hosts Mrs AOK, a Work in ProgressCourtney: What’s Up With the Wilhelms
Katy: Chaos & Kiddos have a great month in store for us.

Thats-What-She-Said-November

That's What She Said is back!  I am very late, but this month's quote really hit home for me.

Life is beautiful.  Everything in life is beautiful.  The birth of a newborn baby, a rainbow after the storm, or the dedication, work, and talent that goes into a ballet.  Even things that are not happy are beautiful.  The tears of a grieving widow, a wilting rose, or the death of a loved one.  It is all beautiful and sometimes we need to let that beauty get the best of us.  It helps us grow as a person and allows the circle of beauty to continue.

I have been shattered many times.  I've suffered many broken hearts, shed the tears of grief, and had dreams destroyed.  A long time ago I didn't see the beauty in any of that.  I simply saw that life had given me an "unfair" hand.  I couldn't look past the shattered pieces to see that my life was going to change for the better.  My dreams of law school smashed into the windshield of the car that hit me but a few years later I would fall head over heals in love and bring forth two of the most beautiful souls into the world.

I had to let my accident (I was a pedestrian in a hit-and-run) shatter many different parts of my life school, home, work, etc.,  But looking back on all that pain I wallowed in for so long, I realized that in the process of picking up those pieces, I learned who I was and learned about my beauty. In one of the shards I saw that novel I was never able to finish.  But when I put it next to the other shards, I saw that I had so many ideas and now life experience for a different novel, a better novel.  A novel that I would be excited to write about now.  In another shard I saw dreams of Law School, but when put back into place I saw that law wasn't my true passion and  having a family and studying Environmental Sciences was.

But once I picked up those pieces, I wasn't finished.  Life is about constantly growing and learning.  New experiences, new lessons, and new ways to help and love.  I can't learn all that from picking up the pieces of one event.  I have been through many more beautiful shattering events since.  Births of my children, divorce, falling in love, loosing jobs, helping others through unimaginably difficult times, and more.  Each time I have been able to look at the pieces that life has given me and put them back together beautifully.

Recently, those pieces have been harder to pick up as life has shattered me via one of the worst ways possible.

Depression.

I have written so many articles, blog posts, and journal entries about depression.  I have been living with it for most of my life and dealt with postpartum spikes after the birth of each child.  I haven't been able to pick up the shards yet this time.  Depression doesn't allow me too.  Instead, I stomp on those pieces looking for blame or simply a place to hide from them.  I know in my heart that those pieces all hold something special and that I need to piece them together, but the darkness stops me.

Depression shatters fully.  It creeps in and pushes and pushes until darkness falls.  Depression is real and it affects so many people.  It comes with a social stigma and is the loneliest place on earth...no matter how many friends and family support you.

Fortunately, I am able to locate that ONE shattered piece that has to be fixed first.  Getting help. Although I have been through this song and dance before, it isn't any easier, I just know what I have to do so that I can lift the veil of darkness.

Sadly, so many women don't.  They are told that they are just sad or in a bad mood.  Maybe a haircut will fix that?  And sure, that haircut might help them feel fantastic for a day, but "being in a good mood" cannot cure depression.  Sometimes it takes a better diet and exercise, sometimes we need talk therapy, and sometimes we need to turn to medications.  It is not "normal" and shouldn't be downplayed.  Don't let people tell you that you have so much to be happy out.  Of course you do, but that darkness is a wicked beast.  Sometimes you need help.

I am going to take my own advice here...If you are suffering from any form of depression, pick up just that one piece that says to seek help and DO IT.

Some of the most beautiful things in life become apparent when you are coming out of that fog.  You learn more about yourself, see people in a new light, and start to love yourself and others.  You will see beauty in things that you may not have before.  Instead of only seeing my friend cry over her departed  husband, I see the beautiful relationship and love they had for each other in her tears.  I see the out pour of help and support from loved ones.  I see her.  At her very core and so raw.  And it is beautiful.

So let the beauty of life shatter you.  Let the bad parts shatter you.  You can even let depression catch you off guard and shatter you.  And when it does, look at those pieces, see what beauty can become of them, and put them back together.  Even if you need help to do so.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Social Media is Breeding Rude People

I am all for fighting the neatly labeled boxes that society tries to fit us all into.  There is no reason for us all to be the same. However, I do believe in simple social rules regarding respect for others.

For instance,  I am sitting in the waiting area while Athena is in her OT group and am witnessing some of the most oblivious and rude asssholes I have seen in a waiting room.


I admit it is rude for me to take a picture...even more so that I accidentally left the flash on... whoops.

Anyway,  they are both engaged in their phones which is not a problem...if they were quietly engaged in their phones.  Instead,  the gentleman (term used loosely...in fact,  let's call him the dude) has his headphones so loud that I am recognizing the guitar riffs of ACDC. He is also air mouthing the words, head banging, and loudly announcing his frustrations with various games on his phone. 

Perhaps I could send him a life in Candy Crush in exchange for his mouth to shut.

But the wife. So much worse. She is audibly singing "All About That Bass" (with some wrong lyrics I might add) and loudly cackling at her phone. Then she kicks her husband in the shin and tells him to watch the video or look at what she wants for Christmas.   Then they view together (so politely in her headphones) as we all continue to listen to his mad jams. Then they laugh loudly and pound on the chair or the wall while making that horrible nose laugh. You know, the mix of possible snot rocket and Mr Ed...that noise.

And did I mention that she is doing all this while LOUDLY CHOMPING on her gum.

Now they are loudly bitching about other people harassing them and how rude their daughter (who is sitting right next to them) is because she was chewing on a pen.

And of course the waiting room is a perfect place for a family sing-a-long of "Spider Pig" and a heated debate over whether the name changes to Harry Plopper or Harry Porker.  The first one is correct by the way.

What happened to reading a book, working on paperwork, or even listening to music or watching a video QUIETLY.  It seems this is lost on society in general.

This isn't a library. No one is asking for silence.  However, you do not need to be the loudest thing in the room.  Which is also something I notice a lot. Why do people need to be the loudest thing in the room when conversing with a person or chatting on their phone?

I understand the need to hear yourself ( which is really hard to do when everyone else in the room is annoyingly loud) but there is no need to yell into your phone about picking up the dry cleaning next week.  

Or the need to read a book to your child at extremely amplified volumes.

Athena was only about 2 years old and I took her to the doctor because she was sick. There were two rather rowdy and noisy boys playing and their mother wasn't concerned with their behavior... even when big brother clocked little brother square in the nose with his fist.  Another mother made many (loud) comments to her young daughter complimenting her exemplary behavior.   She wanted to reward her by reading her a book.

She then read the book to everyone in the room over the ruckus of the rowdy brothers. The receptionist  even peered out from behind her desk with a raised eyebrow and asked the boys to settle.  They sat down and quietly stared at their shoes feeling (I hope) guilt.  But Mother Reading Rainbow maintained her tremendous volume.

I really felt that she was reading loudly to prove to us all that she read to her kid.

It is because nothing is private in this age of technology.  Why have a hushed phone conversation to avoid strangers hearing you when you are going to post on Facebook your conversation later? You want Twitter followers to know you read a book to your son and everyone within earshot should know too.  Kids post about their bowel movements on social media sites, so why would it feel weird to discuss them loudly at a elementary school choir concert.

And you know you are far to busy to discuss your divorce in private, so your child's karate lesson is perfect.  TRUE STORY.  It happened.  

As much as I love social media, there really are times when it is appropriate and when it is not.  There are also subjects that are appropriate to discuss on social media...and for the record, Kim Kardashian's photo shopped ass is not one of them.  

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Tuesday Coffee Chat: THE RIGHT WAY

Rorey Bore has asked a question for Tuesday Coffee Chat that hits home with every parent.

Are you worried about doing things right, or doing the right things?

So much anxiety punched into one question.  When you have kiddos, or other responsibilities, the worry of doing things rights AND doing the right things plague you all day long.  Or at least they plague me all day long.  

Should I give the baby a sippy cup yet?

How do I tell my daughter to go to her room and *that* and what if she asks why?

Should I move my rambunctious son into a different classroom?

And these questions were all just in ONE DAY.  

Everyone has the RIGHT answer.  You should do THIS but not THAT.  You should do it THIS WAY but not THAT WAY.  

I am kind of tired of hearing it actually.  Things change all the time.  

For instance, when Alexandria was born, her doctors and the American Pediatric Association told me she needed to sleep on her side.  Parents of the generation before me told me that their babies slept on their tummy, or their back, and that was the RIGHT way to do it.  

I think the worst of all it though, is the advice (well-intended or not) of the mom-shamers.  You know who they are.  The moms that troll through the internet (or play dates) and make other moms feel bad for their choices.  It can be about hot topic issues like vaccination - "you mean you want your child to be autistic?"  or it can be about everyday things - "your baby should sleep in her own crib or else she will never learn to sleep on her own and the crazy clowns will get her."  

It makes me want to scream!

ENOUGH ALREADY!

As a parent responsible for another life I am already worried about doing things right AND doing the right things.  I already wonder why she won't laugh and only screeches like a dinosaur.  I wonder if her ability to grasp objects is "ahead of schedule."  Is the detergent in her diapers building up? How much should that shot bruise? Is she getting enough milk?

And that is just the baby. 

They wanted to scan my children's palms at school to give them lunch and only gave me a day or two to research and consider my stance.  My son needs to be tested for ADHD and I need to deal with that.  Athena and her therapy for SPD and anxiety (wonder where she gets that from...) is going well, but what happens when it is over?  How will I continue to help her?

And every one of these questions has a very simple answer.  I am the mother and their father and I, with the help of our trusted healthcare professional, will research and decide what is best for my child.  The RIGHT THING done the RIGHT WAY.

And that should be enough.  I mean, isn't that what you mom-shamers have done?  You researched and made a decision.  You put into place what you thought was best and it worked. It was the RIGHT THING for you.  

So why can't I do the same?

Everyday I put thought into doing the RIGHT THINGS the RIGHT WAY for my family.  

And that alone is comforting to me and causes me to stop and remember that I am doing my job.  Who cares what those mom-shamers say?  Besides, if we stop listening to them maybe they will go away.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Happy Halloween!! --almost a week late


We have been so sick at our house, that I haven't even gotten around to posting about HALLOWEEN!  Our most favorite of the holidays and our little Persephone's first.  Ugh.  The virus is slowly making it's way out of our bodies, so here we are in all of our Halloween glory.

A few days before Halloween, we carved pumpkins.


Of course my sensory child was more into the pumpkin guts....





On the 30th, we battled our sinus problems and took the kids to a school party at Skate City.  It was so much fun watching them skate around and watching Athena's tail bounce as she skated.



On Halloween night the kids went trick or treating with their dad.



Then, Steven and I took Persephone to our good friends Halloween party.  She was dressed up as a crab and we decided to wear Steven's chef coats and pants and carry her in a little pot.  


Perry was the hit of the party.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Mythological Creatures Swap - SENT

I loev mythological creatures...which could explain why I have joined 3 swaps that involve them these last few months.

My partner for this swap listed mermaids as one of her favorite mythological creatures and I knew that I had to make her a doll.  This doll took so much time and hand work.  I definitely bit off almost more than I could chew, but I am so in love with her!

I also sent her a small mermaid pouch to hold her new swap cards, vintage yarn that reminded me of mermaid hair (too  bad I didn't find the yarn before I made the doll's hair), some candies, and a cute dragon ornament that met at Cost Plus World Market and knew needed to go live with my partner.