After four kids, ten moves and nearly two decades, we are still blissfully in love (most of the time) and I found myself back in the state I was born and raised in. It has definitely been a journey. In fact, on our 18th anniversary we pulled the last of our stuff up over the pass and into Montana, leaving our surprise love, Idaho, behind. But Montana is a great place. The last best place according to some. And we fully intend to explore as much of it as we can! Join us on our continued adventure through life, love and other stuff that comes with it.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Edible failures

My first loaf of sourdough bread was great. It was a little under done, but it had great flavor and good texture. The two after that where what I will call edible failures. Yes, we did eat them and nobody complained--the resident daddy thought they were still good--but the certainly weren't fabulous by my standards.

I haven't given up. Today we are trying again. I just need to figure out the sourdough thing. I also think sourdough is a completely different animal than regular bread. It doesn't rise like regular yeast bread as far as I can tell. I also have a 1976 oven that is very interesting to work with.

Today, I'm trying again. Right now it's on its first rise. The dough was pretty and felt nice. I kneaded it by hand, which was one thing I didn't do with the previous two loaves--I cheated and let the Kitchenaid to the work. Sometimes bread can be finicky like that so I tried the manual method this time. I'll let you know how it goes.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

A new theory?

I'm wondering if blogging makes me a better mom. As in it makes me look for blogging fodder rather than get irriated or bogged down by the daily grind of life. I hop around with my camera taking pictures of my kids doing stuff that could very well frustrate the heck out of me--or I'm finding fun activites we can do so I can take pictures and write about it.

A few examples:

*Yesterday's Kleenex incident. She got it off that little table and emptied nearly the whole thing before I found her. And while I was taking pictures, she emptied the rest. Now we have a pile of Kleenex rather than a box of Kleenex. But I'm okay with that because I thought to myself, "This is perfect. I didn't have anything else to say today."

*Calla's infamous haircut. My stomach still hasn't recovered from that. The thought of blogging fodder kept me from freaking out on the outside because I knew that if I freaked out, she wouldn't let me take pictures. Plus, people keep telling me it doesn't look that bad. I'm still hopeful it will grow back before she starts kindergarten in two years. That blog post helped me process the whole thing. And I still love her. I try not to be conditional about.

Fairy Friends Forever. This is something I think is fun to do, but the prospect of blogging it got my behind in gear and got it done. It was totally worth it. It was fun and beautiful and I hope the girls remember it forever.

So, making these little pieces of my life public and looking forward to sharing it and sometimes spinning it or looking at it from a non-irrated angle makes life more fun. And when life is more fun, it's less stressful. And when I'm having fun and not stressed, I'm a better mom.

Fun is good. Go have fun.

I'm gonna go do laundry.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Goin' on a bear hunt. Gonna see some big ones!

Yes, last time I said that, we just went for a walk. But this time, we went looking for bears.



We may have cheated a little because we went to the local Yellowstone Bear World, but it was great fun. So fun in fact, that we got there promptly when they opened and didn't leave until about 2pm. Five hours of fun.



We're hitting all the tourist spots. And we're having fun doing it. Call us dorks if you want.





Bears, lots of bears. They have 24 black bears in the black bear exhibit. And they have three grizzly bears.

Violet liked them:



We went on the curator tour and fed them doughnuts and bread. Grace found one bear that just sat there and caught what she was tossing.



The bears are rather cooperative.





These are the year-old bears. They are in their weird adolescent stage.



Just for fun, anyone want to guess (educated or not) which pictures are of the grizzly bears??



And they have a petting zoo area. This pig was my favorite. He just sat there like this and if you went up and touched him, he'd grunt happy grunts.



Grace caught a chicken. She was very proud.



Calla ticked a deer with a chicken feather she found. She's just goofy.



And we met a swan named Swanson. He likes to chew on toes.



And what would a tourist trap be without a pictures like this?



And this?



And three-month-old black bear cubs. They are between three and five pounds. And cute as can be.





We're going to go back some time the end of May. They let you bottle feed the baby bears. How fun is that??

Thursday, April 23, 2009

A loaf of sourdough!!! (Day 10, again)

I think the adventure really got serious today. I started this just before breakfast this morning (and forgot to eat breakfast, actually) and the loaf is still warm. So, it's been a while.

And, I had a couple bumps along the way. I let it rise initially for about 3 hours before I punched it down. And it didn't really punch down. But I made a loaf and put it on the stone anyway. Didn't have anything to lose.

And covered it with a towel. Don't do that. I'll tell you why in a second.

The loaf actually didn't rise that much. And when I took the towel off, it stuck to my dough. I was tragically disappointed, but decided to bake the darn thing anyway because I'd been working on it for TEN DAYS!!

And I put it in the oven. Forty minutes later . . .

TA-DAAAAA!





It got quite a bit bigger in the oven. I should know that bread does that. According to the resident taste-tester, it's "Good. In fact, I might finish this piece." Love that man.

It's dense and heavy. Has a slight sourdough taste. Not too strong, and a great texture. I think I'd bake it a little longer next time since it's more doughy than I normally like.

Next time, tomorrow (hopefully). I'm excited. It's good. The whole loaf is almost gone already. And it's still not cooled off. Yummmmmmmm . . .

Sourdough day 10--It's baking day!

YAY!

So last night I mixed my starter with the 2 cups of water and 2 cups of flour to make my sponge. I was nervous. But, this morning I woke up (at 5am and I'm bitter about it) to this!



Fungus foam! It made me a little less bitter. NOT a morning person here.

So, I made the dough.

Start with 2 cups of sponge (you should have some left. That's your starter for next time.)
Add 2 tsp salt, 2 tsp oil (I used olive oil), 4 tsp sugar.
Add 3 cups flour a little at a time until you have a dough. Knead it well.
After I had my dough all kneaded, I put some oil in the glass mixing bowl and put the dough in there--flipped it so the top was oiled.



Now I'm waiting.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

In honor of Earth Day, and my little earth conscious Grace

Grace loves PBSkids.org. I set it as my home page so she could find it easily. And on Monday she discovered and announced that Earth Day was coming up and we need to be nice to the earth. She's been talking about it every day since. Because "PBSkids.org is so smart," she told me.

And in honor of Earth day, we set up a recycling center in the garage. It was all her idea.

Let me tell you how I feel about recycling and you'll know how much I love this kid.

I loath recycling.

Don't flame me, please. I'm being honest.

Let me say it again:

I loath recycling.

It's a mess and I find it irritating because I feel like I have extra garbage cans in my house--and they are always full. And I always forgot to take it out on recycling day. And then I ended up with four weeks of recycables in my house. Ick.

I loath it. In fact, when we moved in November, I quit recycling--cancelled my recycling service and everything. The garbage can was my friend.

I cancelled it and I actually didn't have much guilt over it. Mostly because I had read in the paper that at the local garbage transfer station they picked most of the recyclables off the conveyer belt as it went by. They claimed a pretty high percentage, too. Like 75% or something. It made me wonder why I was paying for recycling service at all.

Anyway, I also realized, thanks to Tracey, that I am "As green as I can be." She even created this nifty little logo.



So, despite my loathing of recycling, I am in fact As Green as I can be. Here's my list, which I'm sure is not complete:

*In the last 5 years I have not used a single chemical on my lawn.
*In the last 3 years, I have only purchased a hand full of packages of disposable diapers.
*I don't recall the last time I purchased paper napkins. For the last year and a half we have used cloth napkins.
*I'm super stingy with my paper towels. They have three jobs in my house, and that's all I use them for.
*In general I use my things until they die.
*If I don't need it anymore, I do my darndest to pass it on.
*If I need it, I try to buy it used before I look for it new.
*My cleaning supplies are very minimal. I use soda and vinegar as much as I can. And when I can't, I use about 1/4 the recommended amount of whatever it is I'm using. I've found it works just as well.
*I'm working on taking better care of myself. It's a selfish effort, but I do think it counts. I'm making ME green!
*I want a garden this summer.
*Everyone in the house has a water bottle. And I do my darndest to not buy bottled water.
*When I get a latte, I try to keep track of the little sleeve as long as I can. Every little bit counts, right?
*And compost. I want to compost. I had chickens that did that for me, but then we moved. I passed the chickens on to a friend. They compost for her now. And give her eggs. They are selfless birds, those chickens.
*The magazine subscriptions we have were gifts . A grand total of three. And one of them is bi-monthly. I don't get them for myself because they just pile up.
*I stopped getting the newspaper. Maybe recycling will be easier now that I don't have that coming every day. That was the bulk of my recycling anyway.
*I wear my baby. All those plastic gadgets they say you need for babies? I don't have a single one. I had a bouncer. Borrowed it from a friend. Passed it on to another friend.
*I own re-usable grocery bags. I need to get better at getting them in the car on grocery trips. That got a little messed up with the move. But now I'm all accountable you know.

So, I'm as green as I can be. And I'm working on being greener, for what it's worth. I hope you can forgive me for hating to recycle. I'm not totally un-green. And since I got called out by my 5-year-old, I guess I'm back in the recycling business.



Happy Earth Day!

And happy GREEN babywearing!

Just because I think it's a funny term--Day 9



Hooch. That's what they call that layer of liquid is on top there. Hooch. Sounds almost scandalous. Scandalous fungus. Scandalous hoochie fungus.

I think tomorrow I'm going to try my hand at sourdough bread. I poked a couple holes in the lid and put the starter in the fridge.

Here's hoping!

Going on a bear hunt

Well, it was really just a walk and there probably aren't any bears around, but we had fun.

The kids are tired. Calla and Violet are still trying to recover from a bug and Grace stayed up last night just talking to her daddy. Who am I to get between a little girl and her daddy? But they were restless this morning and it was beautiful out.

So I told them we were going on a walk and they both got ready. They got their babies ready, too. And they each brought a purse.

Calla, which baby do you have?

The one that's nursing.
(But she wouldn't show it to me.)



Grace brought her baby bear. And her purse.



Amy came, too.



And Violet in the rumble seat.



I think that's my term for it since a lady at the sewing expo smiled and commented that I had one in the rumble seat.

Calla's baby got done nursing and emerged later.



Calla is such a pro. She can get the baby on all by herself, AND nurse in a carrier. Now if I could just get her to comb her hair.



Or is that my responsibility?? It probably is. But honestly, it doesn't do much good.

Grace brought extra babies. She kept pulling them out of her purse. She ended up with a bear, a pony, and a cat. Such a loving little child.



MOM! THAT STOP SIGN SAYS STOP!

Yes it does.




Calla, can you smile?

No. I have to watch where I'm going.




Grace, can you smile?



I love my kids. I love spring.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

I wonder what the neighbors think



But then again, we're the only family in the whole state that doesn't have a trampoline.

Fungus fun--day 8

Eh. Not quite as exciting as yesterday. But it's smelling sour. And from what I gather, it should be kind of looking dead at this stage in the game. It should pick back up in a day or two.


Monday, April 20, 2009

Twilight confessions

I am soooooo out of the loop on this craze. Not that I want to be in the loop, but a couple weeks ago I was at Target with a friend and she bought the movie saying, "You know, Kalama." I had no idea what she meant.

Later I found out what she meant. And it totally cracked me up. I actually taught for four years at the school in the town where the movie was filmed.

I had no idea. And now I will slink happily back into my vampire-free cave and sew. Or rather cook and clean for now since my sewing room is still waiting to be finished. :)

Happy Babywearing!

The forgiving fungus diary--Day 7

Today there was some serious action.



Look at this seperation. That has got to be a good sign.



Now I need to figure out what I'm going to make with it when it's done.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

The last 15 minutes out my front door









I've missed the sky.

Sourdough confession--Day 5 & 6

Confession: After my last post about sourdough, I totally got distracted and ended up forgetting about it until the next morning. But, after quelling my panic and regaining my ability to reason, I realized that I'm growing a fungus. And fungus is nearly impossible to kill. If you've ever tried to kill fungus, you know what I'm talking about. So, measured my 1/4 cup of starter, added my 1/4 cup water and 1/4 cup water and left it along to think about the possiblilty of forgiving me for being so thoughtless.

This morning, my fungus forgave me.



Bubbles. That's a good sign. Apparently I'm growing very forgiving fungus. That makes me happy.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Sourdough. Day 4.

Still pretty boring report from the kitchen. I haven't even mixed it yet today. But for anyone wondering, I am using this recipe. Maybe tomorrow I will have some bubbles to report. Until then, I'll keep dreaming up crunchy things to do to avoid a compostable toilet. Maybe I'll order some seeds for our garden. I want a garden this year. And maybe if I blog it I'll be embarassed enough by the weeds that I keep it weeded past June.

My poor little baby

Under normal circumstances my baby is in cloth diapers. She has been since she was born. With the exception of the road trip we took when she was 4 days old, our recent move, and our recent road trip. Normally I even use cloth on road trips, but this time I just couldn't. I didn't have it in me.

Now one night while daddy was reading the two big girls a story, Violet found the package of diapers.



And she looked.



And she looked.



And she looked.



But no matter how many diapers she looked at and pulled out of that package,



She could not find a single cloth diaper.



Not even one.



I'll try to do better next time, Violet. I will.