Any food with the word "dump" in it is unfortunate

Is it just me or does the name "dump cake" discourage you from ever wanting to try a dump cake no matter how good it looks?


faux-thermal imaging

Second simple good: the joys of iPad photo booth.  These little boys (and their mom) cannot get enough.  Ansel absolutely loves this picture.  He laughs every time he sees it.


It's time to celebrate the good

Let's lighten the mood, eh?  I need a little less deep thinking and some more good celebrating.  So that's what I'm gonna do.  First simple good:

Pumpkin chocolate chip bread - the signal, to me, of fall.  And it's always fun to rework the recipe so that it's still good but healthy too, like add apple sauce, cut the sugar in half, and add flax flour.  My little family and some of Oliver's friends have nearly finished two loaves in two days.  


Perspective and vulnerability

It is alarming how quickly my perspective on life, what's most important to me, what I'm concerned about changes.  Like a fierce wind, switching this way and that, my priorities are whipped around constantly and it's exhausting.

Deep down, I know what is most important, my foundation is sure, but then I get caught up in the everyday.  It seems to have a pull on me that I don't like.  I want to be even-keeled.  I don't want things to knock me this way and that.  I want to improve because I want to be a better person.

Lately, situations have happened and controlling my reaction to them has been more work than what I would have expected.  I thought I was tough and had it together, and in someone ways I do.  But I need to be more together, more secure, more focused on the good instead of surface issues.  I want to have the wisdom, the perspective, the concern of a 60 year old. 

I feel like my main problem may be selfishness.  This seems strange to me since I am a mom and nearly every moment is spent giving to others.  But the point is, I guess, I am doing it all without complete love because I am caught up in way too many other lame things.  

Plus, the other day I was asked what I do to relax.  I couldn't think of an answer. I rarely relax.  I know this is not uncommon, but I find I need to physically and mentally.  Study? Art? Exercise? Music?  Probably a bit of all of the above.

Overall, I need to remember I'm rich with goodness all around me.  There is love filling my cup and it's full. The problem is, I'm only sipping from it. 

Look, I am rich. Ollie made this cash today, along with a 1,000,000 cent coin.



Am I the only person out there who can't seem to master the art of coupons?  Don't get me wrong, I have tried. I've wanted to be a coupon lady, saving money is in my nature, but I always come up short. 

"This coupon is expired."

"You have to buy five of these rather than four to get the 75 cents off."

"Oh, sorry, you've got to get the 18.5 oz size to get the discount."

"This coupon only works on Wednesdays during the fifth week of the month." 


A while back, I decided to bag the coupon saving and rely on in-store deals.  Same thing happened.  I'd try to buy five boxes of cereal in order to get a $5 dollar gift card; except, it never seemed to work out that way.  I could never buy the right combination of cereal to get five bucks.

Is saving some cents really that difficult?  Is everyone getting fooled into buying things that they think will save them money, when really, in the long run, they have spent more than they would have otherwise?  Or am I just not able to hack it?  Probably, hopefully (for my sake), it's a little bit of both.


into September

Ahh, September.  A wonderful month all around.  I had the best Gala apple yesterday.  That apple pretty much sums up what I like about September: fresh, crisp, clean.  I've begun a clean start on bettering my posture.  Yep, that's right.  I've recently learned that I've got some weak muscles and some stressful tendencies that are causing me some guff, so here's to strengthening.

In other news, Ollie's first day of school went well and he loves it.  And just today, Oliver told me he likes Kindergarten just as much as the beach.  Wow!  

And Ansel has started talking lots.  His words not only include mama, dada, and ah-ee (Ollie), but also fishes, pushes (the boy loves the swing), car, nose, eyes, ears, yesch, and no.  One can tell he's loving his newfound communication tool.  

And finally, hikes.  We've been on some beauties lately.  Nothing matches the freedom the outdoors provides to children, to anyone!


Here we go

Ollie's off to school today.  He and I weren't ready to say good bye to the stay-home-and-play (-and-I-know-everything-you-are-doing-thank-heavens) phase. But he's had some good pep talks from his dad and me, and we talked more as we walked up to the school, and sure enough, he mustered up the courage and went in.  He's going to do great!  As he marched into that school, I gathered the courage to adios the old phase and move onto the go-to-school-then-come-home-and-play phase.  And even though it's hard, it sounds good too.

Say cheerio to our summer schedule (thanks to big O for writing this up):

Say hello to our school year:


Stream okay or not?

We've had a lot of good water time this summer.  Pools, oceans, even streams at parks.  Ansel walked right into a stream at a local park recently.  I let him do it. Then Ollie joined.  They played in the semi-stagnant water and afterward we took baths. I think that was one of the best days they've had this summer.  The freedom and newness for them was invigorating.  What do you guys think of streams at parks? Yesterday I didn't let them do it because I did not want to take them to the bath right after.  Am I over thinking this or under thinking this? Are streams too germ-ridden? I am torn. What do you think?


On weeding

This summer has involved lots of weed pulling. In the garden, in the gravel path, in the driveway cracks; weeds are pulled on a regular basis.  Friends of mine in the neighborhood have commented that they see me outside a lot, doing yard work. Pulling weeds has become automatic now. So much so that when I go running/walking in the morning I take note of most weeds I see and weigh how difficult this or that weed may be to pull and what kind of root it may have.  The other day I caught myself in a thought conversation with a seller of a price-reduced house with several weeds, "You know, give yourself a half an hour and you could pull most of these out without any trouble. Plus, the soil is wet making the task much easier." I had successfully solved the seller's weed problem (and thus his not being able to sell the house) that morning...in my head.

When we moved into our house we had a neighbor who mentioned she loved winter specifically for the fact that she no longer had to do yard work. I was kind of surprised, but I got where she was coming from.  I still like months with yard work however. It is therapeutic for me.  And though it is constant, there is a reward at the end which makes it all worth it.


A pick me up

I've made a goal to pick up less, which seems like a travesty, but in this case, a needed travesty.  I remember being a teen and going to some of my older sibling's family homes.  They'd have toys strewn about and I was kind of surprised at the mess (the house was clean, but the house not picked up). I realize now why: they had toddlers.  I kept our apartment in DC fairly organized and straight, picking up every toy or book mess quickly (folding the laundry is another story).  But now that we live in a bigger space and Oliver and Ansel do several activities a day (one of which is taking all books off the bookshelf - I'm looking at you Ansel), I can't keep up with it.  Well, the truth is, I can keep up with it, but that is what I would be doing all day and that is what I have been doing until now. I need a break.  And so I leave the pickup for the evening.  And if some blocks are still out at 9pm, I let it go and I don't think about it again.  Until the next evening, when I feel I should pick it up.  But then again, I've heard any statement that begins with "should" is not healthy, so maybe I should let that go too.  Whoops, there I go again.