Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Starting early...

We started making Valentines today. I figure if we make a couple, a few times a week it will save me from having to help crank out 30 on the 13th.

Love the idea I got from one of my past baby signing mamas- trace your little one's (or your own) hand, and glue down the two middle fingers to create the "I Love You" sign. Simple, sweet and a nice keepsake!

Followed up our morning time at the table with build your own parfaits- 

My sweeties enjoy being able to customize their snack (even though they worked with the same ingredients)...

Tuesdays at the table time... trying to make it work weekly.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

community, one of my favorite things...

Yoga has become a place for me to find my sanity. Time after time I find it laying right there on my mat- and I think, "ah just where I left you..."

How I keep losing my mind, I just don't know. Maybe I spend too much time in thinking and it gets heavy with stress and falls out when I bend over to pick up yet another toy I have stepped on. Or maybe I lose my marbles when I dash across the playground to save my fearless toddler from learning about gravity the hard way. Perhaps my inability to remain sane comes from sorting through the dramas of the 10 year old girl world. Maybe the baby in my belly is sucking out all my brains through the umbilical cord.

However it keeps escaping me, it seems to find its way quietly, calmly to the Yoga Stone and it slowly creeps back into my body as I lie in shavasana or hold fast to my inner warrior, my limbs stretching out in all the right angles, my breath drawing me through a practice that is always just what I needed.

Another entirely effective remedy I have recently discovered is delivered directly to my muscles by the skillful hands of a warm and welcoming woman who invites me to relax as she helps increase my "range of motion and flexibility... improving my blood lymph circulation and promoting healthy tissues and a more balanced immune system... massage is often used for relaxation, an important step in reducing the physical and emotional effects of stress."

The journey back to my me-ness begins when I see the tall lighted "community" sign as I travel down Brookhurst. The gated, arched entrance is as effective as a worry tree- and I leave all my stresses outside. I spend a moment connecting to the baby girl who is growing inside me as I glance over Rosie Posie Baby's sweet natural baby gear, and always peer in to envision RSSA Vintage's pink fridge leading to domestic bliss as I imagine it would if I could take it home... and I enter the long open area, adorned with prayer flags above, reminding me of the luck, happiness, longevity and prosperity I have been covered with. Twinkle lights, and other luminescent lanterns create a visual dance in the dusk and the live plants lining the tables covered in linen provide a connection to living, growing and green grounded-ness in such a simple way.

The huge windows showcasing the other shops' hand-made, unique, fashionable and often locally sourced goods and gifts (one of the aprons at the Nest is on my birthday wish list, in case you are curious) allow me to indulge in a little retail therapy to prepare my head for surrendering on my yoga mat for just one delightful hour. Afterwards I marvel at the art amidst the "zines, records, wears" of Ceremony, dream of dressing my post-pregnancy self up the trendy fashions of Switchroom, and have lately been wondering if I am adventurous enough to try out a little fiery & fun dancing at the newest of the shops- Naranjita Flamenco.

Last night (while the beats of the Zumba dance party at the Yoga Stone invigorated us) I had the wonderful experience of sitting in a planning meeting with these locally minded shopkeepers and hearing more about their vision for the community they are building. There is more to come on the hearts and heads behind this "destination for the design, environmental, and socially conscious consumer"... I will be featuring the young entrepreneurs who are creating a place that fuels "the continual exchange of knowledge and inspiration that goes on." Subscribe to my blog to learn more...

Of course the best way to experience the community is to join it (visit their Facebook page) or head on over the first Wednesday of any month (and I can tell you the Valentines plans these people are making will melt any heart)- so bring your sweetie and enjoy some good old fashioned social networking- the kind where friends make eye contact as often as they make witty comments, where you can see their smile and know that they Like your status update, and you connect to a wireless energy source that has nothing to do with the free WiFi you can also hook into while you are there- (so you can check in on Foursquare and let everyone know where they can find you!)

posted in conjunction with Favorite Things Thursday
which appropriately enough is being co-hosted by Etsy shop owner and blogger

Thursday Favorite Things

Friday, January 13, 2012

What makes a kid want to write?

My love of word wrangling was sparked by winning a writing contest in elementary school. I would love to see what sort of silliness I came up with that so impressed our principle (or was randomly pulled out of a stack of barely legible papers by 4th graders). Lately G-pie has been crafting tales of kitties and fireflies, guides of survival for big sisters and nighty-night novels for baby brothers.

Blogging allows me to write about what I love- my life as a homeschool mom, my growth as a yogini, my journey of self discovery through the connections in my community and things that occupy my mind. It has become a way for me to polish up my charming little life and capture it in words- share the beauty of being a family member, a friend and a follower of other language lovers.

Finding other bloggers who truly enjoy the craft, see loveliness in their lives and crave connection with the virtual universe is like joining together in a tapestry of threads that form an image of modern motherhood. Kindred spirits who spark the imaginations of their offspring, and model the behavior that those sweet little spirits ultimately emulate. Like my G-pie. She wants to be a writer. Or a scientist. Or a songwriter. Or an artist.

Whatever it is she decides to pursue as she goes out into the great big world, I am glad that right now she is inspired by me in some way, wanting to do what I do- and share in something I love. And I do love blogging.

Inspired by yet another blog hop...

It has become a quest of sorts...

Well this baby girl that I am cooking up in my offspring oven seems to want more pig flesh. Such comfort food for a former Texas girl, and today I was in need of comfort. After twisting my ankle and busting my back on a tiny toy I have been alternating ice, heat and movement to see if I can regain mobility that is a little less wobbly, waddling and woeful! I searched Yelp and after a stop at a place I limped right out of... I brought home the bacon. Well, carnitas, actually...

Recently I have been scouring North Orange County for the yummiest carnitas (see today's review on Yelp!) after being accosted by the smell emanating from a tiny taqueria next door to the Cherry on Top where G-pie enjoy monthly mommy/daughter dates. She happily ate her cold colorful concoction, but I was not satisfied with the creamy chocolate in my cup. I went next door where the smell was originating and discovered deliciousness (see that review here). Unfortunately we found that they weren't very consistent in delivering that delightful dish. And so began my quest.

Since I can't literally hop right now... I will blog hop!

Blog Hops Everyday Friday Blog Hop

Monday, January 9, 2012

Teaching kids about money

My kids are growing up in an environment of entrepreneurship, and from about 5 my oldest has been coming up with ideas to make her own money. She has had a bank account since she was 7 and has been encouraged to save by our own "matching" program. Whenever we shop, she has the job of comparing and contrasting for best value. If she saves us money on the shopping, she pockets it!

We also have a family currency which gets used in interesting ways as our family grows and learns... the fun of making your own money, really gets the discussions going on how to actually make money!!

We have always supported her ideas and helped her develop strategies for marketing, ways to save on production and advice for when to cut her losses!! For the past couple of years she has participated in a homeschool Kid$ Market, and that is a fabulous experience. Join us for the next one on February 15th (leave a comment and I will send you more info!).

This year Sugar Daddy is offering an Entrepreneurs Class at The Bellah CASA, an alternative education enrichment provider. We are excited to see what a little real world, hands on, life learning will produce among the kids who participate!

This blog post inspired by social moms writing prompt which I learned about via my twitter feed! Do you tweet? And how do you share your financial savvy with your offspring? Comments welcomed.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

A few of my favorite things...

Today the holidays are coming to a close at my house... we are un-decorating and as I place things in boxes to be stored until next year festive fun, I am reminded of how much the ornaments on our tree mean to me- they represent 15 years of sharing the season with Sugar Daddy.

Each of our children has added to the collection with their baby's first ornaments, salt dough creations and delicate handmade trinkets. One of my sisters-in-law has gotten them keepsakes to hang on our branches over the last decade and they will have a trove of treasures to start their own traditions. Certainly among my favorite things...

We are blessed to live in beautiful, sunny Southern California, and while I restore the simplicity of our household decor my littles are playing in the hose outside in their choice of bathing or birthday suit. Before they discovered this delight, they were driving me to distraction!! So many favorite things about this, I can't even list them all...

Lastly my new favorite actual thing (many thanks to my other sister-in-law) is my new teapot- pictured here with a few of my other favorite things.

I am blessed by an amazing family. In addition to the comfortable family unit I grew up with- my mom & dad and big brother- which has crafted my character, continually providing a place to explore the depths of human connection. My immediate family is a favorite, as well as my extended family: my thoughtful and huge-hearted mother-in-law, my husband's brother who is always making sure our families stay connected, my fatherly uncles-in-law, the aforementioned sisters I have added to my heart and the countless cousins who I am blessed to share seasonal celebrations with.

Family is one of my favorite "favorite things".
And don't even get me started on the fantastic friends who feel like family!

Today's post inspired by:
Thursday Favorite Things

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Simple Everyday Prenatal Radiance

How do I stay so radiant? How to I maintain my sanity and keep chaos at bay? I have said it before and I must reiterate. Yoga. If it weren't for yoga, my children would need far more therapy in their future. =)

The practice of yoga goes beyond breathing and balance, stretching and strengthening - during pregnancy it provides a valuable time to connect with your hard working body, honoring it's miraculous transformation, holding space for the sweet little spirit within, connecting to your maternal instincts, building stamina- and so much more.

A new way of seeing yoga has been appearing to me, the psychological impact of focusing mentally on physical aspects is becoming symbolic of the work I am doing emotionally. (Not sure why I call it work, really it is just exercising my emotional "muscles"... playing with my ego, in a way.)  When I explore the parts of my thinking that block, limit, or become uncomfortable- yoga gives me a way "do something", even if it is only a physical representation of an emotional growth. The spirit follows when the flesh is strong.

Sort of like having a baby. Waves of unexpected, unimaginable pain, coming out of nowhere, lasting for who knows how long. Life is like labor, and yoga, childbirth- breathing, focusing, and performing phenomenal physical feats. Once it is time to push, once I can "do something", I am a warrior- a proud warrior. And yoga prepares me for the big performance.

For those who have practiced yoga- Simple Everyday Prenatel Radiance is an excellect resource. If you are comfortable following a flowing routine and need a simple solution that you can access on the go and do almost anywhere, this ebook is essential! I downloaded it to my Incredible Android using the free Kindle app and the inviting instructions, paired with stunning images is inspiring, invigorating and stabilizing.

My hips love me (after doing it 3 1/2 times this past week) and the sweeties all agree that my mood is much improved on those days when I follow the beautiful blonde on my phone! Simple Everyday Prenatel Radiance by the always amazing, zen mama, Laura Jane makes a great way to say congratulations to the newly expecting and is equally suitable and even more useful for the about to burst!

Even if you don't get through all the poses as your offspring join you (invariably they do- because they want to do all the fun things their mama does- and besides I think I must look like some sort of slow moving jungle gym to them!) - anyway- DO the affirmations, even if you feel silly- words are powerful. Namaste.

Perfect for every pregnant woman you know- and it is on sale over at Amazon, where you can send it to anyone who has a digital portal of pretty much any sort.

Happy 2012

Yesterday began a new family tradition which I discovered on Pinterest. Being the over-planner that I am, we started ours at noon: 12 envelopes of family fun! It did become a bit of a chore, and really illustrated to Sugar Daddy and I how quickly an hour passes when trying to do the simplest of things with toddlers in tow.

We also incorporated a fun little competition for a prize at the end of the evening, and we all enjoyed the ups and downs of the games that kept us guessing who might win. Basically we earned and received tickets throughout the day and they could be spent on treats, but the person with the most at the end of the night got $20.12! As it turned out- due to a lucky roll of the dice at midnight- G-pie and I tied!

We enjoyed a buffet of Mediterranean style appetizers (aka left overs and veggies with nuts & olives) which I had out all day and then a dinner of tea sandwiches and fruit at a kitchen floor picnic. This was probably my favorite part.

Our envelopes held the countdown announcement, a family focused question which we video taped the responses to, things like - your favorite Spring memory, your favorite field trip, etc. and a Star Wars trivia question to answer each hour- our theme for the day, we also watched the first 3 Episodes throughout the day. Each envelope also had an activity for the hour- watercolors, clean up blitz, Family Dance Party, dice throw for tickets, guessing games, and other "simple" activities.

All in all, it was super fun- although in the interests of full disclosure I must admit we stopped the activities at 8:00, just after the little went to bed!! We decided just get our hourly ticket, and roll the dice each time!! (And I actually fell asleep on the couch right after the 10:00 dice toss.) They woke me at 3 minutes until midnight, and we watched the ball drop- we counted our tickets, announced the winner(s) and off to bed I went! Next year with a little tweaking, I think we have a great plan- and I have taken notes on my Springpad, a wonderful tool for organizing menus, shopping lists, website links and notes for over-planners like me.

What sort of family New Years traditions does your family enjoy?

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