Thursday, February 28, 2008

Laughing!

video

In Which I Share Some Awesome News

While looking up Trader Joe's, I came across a farm in the area that does CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) subscriptions. This article from eatthestate.org says it best (if you don't' feel like reading the whole article, read the words in red for a quick summary):
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Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is a growing movement
which provides people with the means to regain control over the
origin and handling of their food. It simplifies the long chain of
events that brings food from our modern agricultural system to
the consumer--events that decrease the food's nutritional value,
contaminate it with chemicals, and pad the pockets of middlemen.
Based on the principle that the consumer and the farmer should
know each other, CSA has been practiced in Europe and Japan
for 30 years and came to the U.S. in 1985. There are an estimated
400 to 600 CSA farms across the U.S. People become a part of a
CSA project by paying in advance to support a farm for a season.
In return, the shareholders receive one share of whatever the
farm has ready to harvest each week of a 20 week growing season.
Farmers agree to meet the production goals to the best of their
ability and the members agree to pay the costs of production,
regardless of the actual harvest. The advantage to the consumer
is that the CSA farm provides you with high quality, super-fresh
organic produce which is impossible to find in the supermarket.
CSA also gives non-farmers a chance to get more involved in
producing and distributing their own food. Farms sponsor tours,
workdays, and harvest festivals to bring shareholders out to the
farm. CSA farms also often ask shareholders to help deliver shares,
sponsor drop-off sites, manage shareholder lists, write newsletters, etc.
Shareholders learn how a farm works, discover the relationship
between growing food and the environment, and see the true
costs of food production. By sharing the risks as well as the
benefits and responsibilities, interdependence between the
consumer and the farmer is restored. CSA farmers are freed
from the time constraints of marketing their produce, because
they already have a guaranteed distribution network.
Typically, a farmer takes out loans at the beginning of the
growing season to purchase seed, fertilizer, herbicides and
pesticides, and to pay crop insurance premiums in case a crop f
ails. A high proportion of a farmer's earnings goes to pay
interest on debt. On a CSA farm there is no need for any of this.
The farmer gets money up front from the shareholders, allowing
the farmer to focus on raising crops. In addition, small farming
methods (such as companion planting) eliminates the need for
pesticides, herbicides, and highly specialized heavy equipment.
No marketing expense, no hassle, no middlemen and the
opportunity to focus on what the farmer does best: grow food.
While spending money for vegetables that are not even planted
yet may be difficult for some, membership is generally a
bargain in the long run. CSA saves shareholders 30% to 50%
over purchasing organic food in a supermarket. Each week
during the harvest season, members receive an interesting
variety of the freshest possible produce. Since most CSA
farms use organic growing techniques, members' concerns
over chemical residues is alleviated. In all operations, pest
control, tillage, and fertilization are viewed according to their
effect on the environment. The land is treated with the respect it deserves.
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The farm I am interested in doing this through is organic, so no pesticides are used. Also, they have eggs and chickens available for purchase from free range humanely treated chickens, which is awesome. We are starting with the summer share program, which will be $27 a week (paid ahead of time) for a small share of veggies and fruit. Here is an example vegetable share:
1 head Cauliflower
1 pound Green Beans
1 pound Tomatoes
1 bunch Carrots
1 bunch Sweet Onions
& Choice of 4 Items:
Cucumbers, Peppers, Basil, Summer Squash, Dill, Lettuce, Beets, Swiss Chard, Radicchio, Purslane, Squash Blossoms
That's a WEEK'S share. That alone is worth the $17 that is the veggie portion of the cost.
BUT!!! and this is totally exciting to me, subscribers get FREE cut flowers(!!!!) each week, UNLIMITED U-pick peas and beans, and a free pumpkin in October! SO TOTALLY worth less than twenty dollars a week. Going directly to the farm means we get to substitute items if we wish, can buy fresh eggs, and see where our food is coming from! This is important to me, that Kaia sees the whole cycle, and gains an appreciation for fresh, healthy food.
Another benefit, though not a direct one to us, is that we are supporting a local farm. This means less environmental damage, which as you know, I am working toward. Buying local, in season food means you aren't supporting genetic engineering, and (this is direct) your food TASTES BETTER. It gets to you faster, MUCH fresher, and is grown and harvested in it's natural cycle. Also, you aren't paying for shipping the food across several states, which costs money, time, and pollution! ok, stepping off my soapbox.
I am totally excited about this, can you tell?

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

February In Review

Who knows how long THIS will last, we all know how I am with making blogging promises then completely forgetting about them....but I am going to TRY to do a month in review each month. (mom? remind me?)

February was a really awesome month. Kathy and Brianna came up to visit, and we went down the visit Tania, then Mike, Kaia, Ben and I went back down the next weekend and visited my family and Tania and Simon again! Ben is starting to eat food, and growing so fast! Kaia is enjoying her school. We are all REALLY enjoying our time here.

Here's Ben eating some squash. This is, I think, the second time he'd tried food. He is starting to like it a bit more each time.


Here I am with the purple barrette Kaia gave me. This is about what I look like in the mornings when I take Kaia to school. Can you tell how much I care about my appearance at 7:45 in the morning?!

Kathy holding Ben! I know it looks like Kaia has Brianna up against the wall in the background, but she doesn't. They are running around the house, and having a great time.

Here is Simon with the kids! This was a fun series to take, as he had to try to sit with three squirming kids and try to get a good picture! It was quite amusing....for me, Kathy, and Tania!

Here is Brianna holding Ben. She is getting so big! I wish I could see her more often, she's growing up without me!

Kaia sitting on Simon's bike. She is so cool, can you tell?

I just realized there are no pictures of Mike here...sorry, will do better next month!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

In Which I Show Off My New Sling (Kind of)

So I've been trying to figure out what kind of baby carrier I wanted to get. The Snugli which I adored throughout Kaia's babyhood was simply not working for Ben. I looked at the Moby Wrap, and the Baby Hawk Mei Tai, and then found the Slingling. (Feel free to look up any of these if you want to see what they are. I don't have time to link to them.) I was this close to getting a Baby Hawk Mei Tai, when I decided to get a Slingling. Why, specifically, I don't know, but I did. We ordered one for Mike in his size too. Today I got them, and tried mine on. I so far really like it! It frees up my hands, and unlike the Mei Tai, if Ben falls asleep, I can finagle him sideways and he can just sleep in there while I continue to work. When he's a bit older, he can be on my back in it, and right now he can be on my hip or front. It distributes the weight much better than the Snugli does. I can't wait to try it out while we are out and about!

My head is cut off at the top because Kaia took the picture and doesn't yet know how to turn the camera. I do have my hands on him in the picture, but they don't need to be. He's quite secure in there without holding him!

Now you are asking yourself, where's the picture? Well, I just noticed it showed an unflattering view of my stomach, so need to retake one. Please check back at another time. Thanks!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Two of my favorite phrases from the Taboo game last night....

"Amphibian hoppers...the young ones..." Mike trying to get Shane to say "tadpole"

"Rubber rounds" Mike couldn't say "tire" Not sure what the word that he was trying to get Shane to guess was.

In Which I Show Some Oddness

Someone who reads my blog recently told me that they (using "they" incorrectly so as not to use "he" or "she". sorry) wished they were happy all the time, like me. I was shocked, and assured them (you know what? Let's just call this person "Z".) So, I assured Z that I wasn't always happy, and had my bad days too. Z said that on my blog, I always write so positively, so happily about my day to day stuff. So, to keep it real, and to make Z feel better, I want to make something very clear.

I have bad days. I have nights where I cry in the bath (those aren't often). I have mornings where I am pissed off at various people and yell at them in my head. I have evenings when I really want someone to just come take these children somewhere for the night so I can SLEEP ALL NIGHT and maybe even late into the morning! I get irritated about my housework, husband, kids, parents, other friends and relatives.

There are two reasons why I don't talk much about all that here, other than a rant occasionally. The first one is that most of them read this blog, and I don't want to make our issues public, or I might not even really feel I want to get into it with them.

The second is the most important. I really feel that I create my reality. My thoughts and words move out into the universe and solidify, surrounding me with the colors and feelings of themselves. If I yell and bitch and whine all the time, the universe (through me) will only create more things to yell and bitch and whine about. If I smile, and laugh, and love those around me, that is also magnified.

Wait a minute before you hate me and think I'm all sanctimonious. I DO yell and bitch and whine. trust me, I DO. But when I can, and were I can (this blog) I TRY to limit it. I try to help the universe help me. I am getting better and better at it. I KNOW how lucky I am. I have a husband who loves me and our children. I have family and friends who have my back. I have two kids who are happy and healthy and growing.

and, Z...don't worry...it WILL get better. You're strong. And yo u have a happy Z inside you just waiting to break free and sing show tunes! or something.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Women are from Venus, Men are from Alpha Centari

The simple phrase "Let's clean the house." Seems clear, yes? Apparently, this means different things to men and women. Or my man and me, at least.

To me, it means dishes, pick up living room, clean bathroom, do laundry, etc.

To Mike? It always seems to mean disappear into the office and spend a couple hours taking things out of bins and trying to find homes for them, fixing a chair that has been broken for weeks (but that was okay, because we don't use it)and install our new DVD burner. These are all things that need to be done, yes, but don't fall under MY version of "let's clean the house".

Ah well. I love the man dearly, so put up with these strange differences in our personalities. After all, he puts up with with my odd ideas too.

Friday, February 22, 2008

just a brief note

I am looking forward to this weekend. Tomorrow, we are going over to Josh and Maggie's for dinner, then Sunday, Shane and Leah are coming over for lunch! Any extra time will be spent doing a bit more organizing, and being with each other. We've settled into a nice routine, and all of us seem to really enjoy our life here.

shameless begging

Please take my cool quiz! I really promise I won't be offended by wrong answers. I just want participants! Even if you really don't actually know, just guess!

Please? :-)

Thursday, February 21, 2008

irritation!

It seems like a simple desire. I want some storage drawers for under Kaia's bed. I don't want them to be plastic. Ideally, they would be wooden, have wheels, be a simple 4 sided box shape with a bottom and no lid, and cost LESS THAN SEVENTY DOLLARS!!!

Kaia's bed is perfect for underbed boxes. She has a 9" clearance, and nothing under there that can't be stored somewhere else. Anyone out there feel like making me two or three drawers that are 9 inches high, have wheels, and would fit under a twin size bed?!! I would pay for them, just not $70!

Ugli!

Kaia has been asking for an UgliFruit every time we go to the store, so I decided it was time to try one....


This is actually one of the prettier specimens.


Peeling it was hard, I needed a knife to start me out... but after the first cut, the peel came off really easily, revealing quite a pretty little citrus!





Kaia insisted I be in some of the pictures, so here I am showing off the peeled fruit in all it's unassuming glory.




and it's sampled! Conclusion?



"It's weird." (She ate about a quarter of it)



My take on it was that they taste like a very bland orange. I don't think we'll be purchasing these again. But it was cool to try something new!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

first project

Yesterday I went over to Natasha's so I could learn how to do wet felting, which can be used to make kids toys. We decided to start with a rattle, though she usually starts students out with a ball, since Ben is at the perfect age for a rattle. Here is our finished product, quite cool if I do say so myself! Ben LOVES it, it seems that wool is comfy to hold and gnaw on!



Tuesday, February 19, 2008

quickly, quickly

I'm not sure how far I'll get before Ben decided he's not happy in his jumperoo, so I'll have to use bullets for now....



  • The week Kathy and Brianna were here was awesome. We just hung out chatting like old times. Brianna is just amazing and I am glad I get to see her as often as I do, but I wish it were more!

  • Two weeks ago, Kathy, Brianna, me, Kaia, and Ben went to visit Tania and Simon. We had a marvelous time. It's so nice to have friends that I know I can be me around. Life may throw changes at us, we may all live in different cities now, but I know they will always be there.

  • This past weekend, Mike and I and the kids went back down to see Tania and Simon, and my family. Again, amazing time, Kaia had a lot of fun with her Uncle Mick and Aunt Katie at dinner. She's staying with her Granny and Grumpy until tomorrow, what a lucky girl to have such a close relationship with them!

  • Mike and I have decided to pare down what we do on the computer and do more family stuff. The paring for me will include a major shortening of the blog-list I read and only checking email twice a day, compared to 5-6 times a day while Ben is eating or sleeping (that time can be used for so many other things)

  • In seeming contrast to the last, I am going to try to bring back Glimpse of the Day. Every evening I will try to quickly post a single photo from our day.

  • Today I am going to Natasha's to learn felting! My first project is going to be a rattle for Ben. After I get good enough, I already have several projects in mind! I have NO idea how expensive dyed wool is, better find out!


That seems like I'm condensing the last couple weeks down way too far, but I don't really have time for more...I will leave you will a photo!



Sunday, February 17, 2008

will post a longer post sometime soon, really!

heading back home tomorrow morning. Having a really good weekend, and this coming up week is going to be good too. And last week was marvelous with Kathy and Brianna visiting, and being able to visit Tania twice! What did I do to get such a wonderful life, I ask?

I do have several pictures of the last week or two, which I do plan on posting at some point, but life seems to get in the way lately of computer time, which I am not complaining about!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

happy valentine's day to me, from my son

I had a great past week, but don't really have a bunch of time to write about it. I also have some sweet pictures, but will post them later. I wish, however, to just say the following:

Ben gives kisses. The open mouth, drool-filled style of kisses, of course, but kisses. I know they are kisses and not his usual put-his-mouth-on-anything-and attempt-to-eat-it because he doesn't attempt to eat your cheek. He just puts his mouth on it then pulls away. It's very, very, sweet. and wet. but that's ok with me.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Friday Morning, early

Here were my two darlings this morning, along with my two cats, all hanging out together listening to Disney's version of Sleeping Beauty being read by Kaia. We are trying to patiently wait for Kathy and Brianna to wake up, and I have let Kaia stay home from school to visit.



I wish to point out a couple of details--

First, notice the sweetest bit--Ben holding on to Kaia's arm. He actually was holding on to it more, but moved his hands before I could capture it. This is pretty darn sweet though.

Second, notice the "tattoo" on Kaia's chest. She loves fake tattoos. Actually, to be precise, she loves tattoos, and is usually quite pissed off that they aren't permanent. Someday she will thank me for not letting her get a sparkly dragonfly emblazoned on her chest, but for now she is deeply disappointed as well as bath-shy.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Thursday Morning

Ben has a bit of a sniffly nose that kept him restless all night, which means I was restless all night. I had decided to sleep this morning with him during his morning nap, but of course now I am just slightly too awake to do that, but I don't want to put him down and risk waking him up--he really needs to get some solid sleep.

so here we are, on the couch, he is laying on top of me sleeping, and I am almost done being able to waste time on the computer. Also, there is cleaning to be done! and if I DO decide to just sleep, I know that at the exact moment I begin to drift off, he will begin to wake up, which will just make me grouchy.

Maybe I'll work on planning Kaia's room. We are getting her some new furniture to help the clutter issue and make it easier for her to clean her room by herself.

KATHY AND BRIANNA ARE COMING TONIGHT!!!!!!!!! We are all so excited to see them!! This weekend we are really hoping to go down and see Tania and Simon (Tania, do NOT let me forget to get a pic of all three of us for your album!) Kathy and Brianna are staying for a whole week, it will be so nice to be able to hang out with them again. Last time I saw Kathy I was so tired from Ben's birth, I honestly don't remember much of the visit. (except a really funny cookie dough story which I keep meaning to write about...will soon)

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Sunday Morning

Ben rolled over from his back to his front this morning! I didn't get to see, he did it in the bedroom with Mike...kinda nice, actually, that Mike got to see a first, since I will get to see most of them.

We have a couple plans today--going on a play date with someone from the moms' group, then to a birthday party for one of the girls in Kaia's class. Mike is staying here to get some down time and possibly to clean a bit.

Next week is very busy, more on that later!

Friday, February 01, 2008

Ben got some shots today. It was very sad, he was so smiley at the nurse before she poked him four times. He screamed all the way to the car, where I nursed him until he fell asleep. He's still in in car seat, on the floor, sleeping. Poor little dude.

Although, speaking from experience, shots at this age - four months- are SO much easier than shots at the older ages when they KNOW you are letting some stranger hurt them, and you TRY to explain, but really, kids just don't understand about measles, mumps, and rubella. They just know that you are helping to hold them down while needles are shoved into their skin.

I told Kaia this morning that I was taking Ben in, and she told me that on her next visit, she will be "the bravest girl ever!" for her shots. She's so wonderful. Last time, (on her 6th year one) she had to have 4...two in each thigh. I had promised her before we went that she could have $1 for each shot to spend at the dollar store after her appointment. Stupid me, didn't think about the fact that her legs would be SORE, so I ended up having to cart her 6 year old self around the dollar store while she sniffled and tried to get more comfortable while looking for 4 things to get. Next time, I think we'll go with ice cream, purchased BEFORE the shots.