March 24, 2015

This is what my 50mm lens can do

Dear Benefactor,

Thank you for overseeing the process of getting my camera lens back in working order- I've missed it terribly.  To have it back in my hands, well I imagine this is a teeny bit similar to what Pip felt like (on the good days).

Benefactor, did you know that my husband is running and running and running these days to train for his 40 mile run on his 40th birthday?  The boys and I manned his support vehicle this weekend (while he ran 28 miles?  30?  Some ungodly amount.), so I don't have much to blog about, except look!!  Look at the lovely photos my 50mm f/1.8 lens took when I would pause from driving around handing out water bottles and gels, and begin to snap away.

You can hardly see it, but that's Bromley Mountain in the background.  He had passed Stratton Mountain too, but that was in the first hour and a half of his run when the boys and I were still lounging around at home. 

He chased down another mountain vista- Magic Mountain.  Phew, the car had to climb quite a hill in order for us to pass out some gel and take this picture.  Quite a hill.

Eventually he dropped back down into calmer elevations. 
Eventually we all went home.  
Eventually Champ began to feel like this...

(Sorry, this one is from my 85mm lens, but it's cute right?  So I had to add it in.)

but overall it had been a good run for him, and a great camera outing for me.

Thanks again, Benefactor!

March 21, 2015

Homemade pizza! Homemade soda! Crock-pot made sore muscle balm!

Photos lingering on my computer stress me out.  What if something were to happen before I could print out this sea captain/Harry Potter/Prince Phillip (of "Sleeping Beauty" fame) picture of Ace? The world would seem devastatingly mean if it eternally withheld this printable masterpiece from me.

Once I had a hard and fast rule to only let a month's worth of snapshots sit idle, then quick quick quick download, print and clear space for the next month's batch.  Haven't implemented that rule in a while; instead I've been dipping in to my three month version of photography organization.  Not as lovely, but it eases my anxiety of digital photos potentially wandering off forever more in to cyberspace.

Ah ha!  Take that December, January, February- caught and wrangled you in to 
hard data!

~Huckle and the snowblower are nearly inseparable, so when Champ needed to clear the deck on his own due to space constrains, Huck threw a pity fest at the door.
~ After years and years, the family agrees we have hammered down the perfect homemade pizza method.  Key concepts:  use this book (thanks L!), fridge or freeze dough before baking, use pizza stone, oven temp 500*, don't overload the toppings.
~ to go with the pizza- homemade soda!  That colorful mess of herbs and sugar eventually turned into that bubbly glass of "Not Coke".  Now there are bottles of concord grape, ginger ale, "Not Coke" and green tea coconut sodas vying for space in the fridge.  

~ and this mess?  Why this mess turned into a sore muscle balm for Champ.  He was bound to eventually get sore calves from running all those miles, right?  I combined recipes from here and here.  The final recipe ended up looking like:

1C dried arnica
3-4T cayenne powder (depending on how much heat you prefer)
2" peeled ginger root cut into hunks
1t frankincense powder
1/4 C coconut oil
1/4 C castor oil
4oz shea butter (I only had 2oz on hand at the time)
8-10 drops clove essential oil
8-10 drops tea tree essential oil
15-20 drops peppermint essential oil
15-20 drops eucalyptus essential oil
15-20 drops lavender essential oil
1 drop vitamin E oil

  • Everything but the essential oils got tossed into my crockpot.  I added in a little extra coconut oil and castor oil to cover the base once melted- total oil/butter amount adding up to a little under 3/4 cup.
  • kept the crock on low for 1 hour, then turned it to "keep warm" and went to bed (more info on the crock pot method here).
  • In the morning I strained out the oil, added in the essential oils and vitamin E, and packed it in jars.                                          
Champ has been using the balm ever since and his calves are singing it's praises.

Happy Spring!  Will you be photo wrangling?

Ps: in other news it snowed here yesterday, but is that news to any of us (at least on the east coast)?

March 17, 2015

Today the boys wore Irish bowler hats

Hmmmm...  I'm finding it kind of hard to get a picture posted here of Champ and how preparations for his 40 mile birthday run are going. Mostly that's because there was a rockin' school wide assembly last week and exuberant, joyous student faces are in all my photos from that event...  just imagine the energy!  Suffice it to say that things are moving excitedly along; thank you for all your supportive thoughts and well wishes!
exciting and joyous like Bear's ribbon from his Winter Olympics Day

Yesterday the boys and I began to prepare for St. Patrick's Day as soon as Bear was home from school.  You know I'm such a sucker for celebrations, right?  I find holiday most holiday celebrations grounding.  They causes me to stop all the other stuff for a while and zoom-focus on family, and tradition, and food, and in this case- faith.  It's relaxing even to just type that; thoughts of brisket and a St. Patrick prayer hovering in memory.

We created rainbow necklaces and drank green drinks because I'm sure that's what all Irish do.  I'm like 10% Irish, so I know that.  Dinner was prepped for tonight, with all it's traditional fixings.  Is that true?  Are those foods traditional?  I don't really know, but they've become tradition for March 17th in our family and that counts for something.  At this point in our family canon, Bear knows what to expect during certain seasons and it thrills my every fiber to have him engage wholeheartedly in our traditions.  I want him to think of these times after he's long grown up; remembering us as a family with all the silly, serious, methodical, spontaneous activities that keep our years anchored on the timeline 
of life.

Bear led the charge on building leprechaun traps; another part of our St. Patrick's Day playbook.  What I'll remember most about this year's construction is Champ and his boys sprawled out on the basement floor with duct tape and boxes galore.  Chitter-chatter surrounding what will be done if a leprechaun is caught.  Will he stay with us?  What will we feed him?  Champ-with all the practicality and logic that oozes from his personality-calmly answering each concern.  

The leprechauns have pranced around our house for 2 days thus far.  They seem to have sent out scouts to test the traps; then this morning, really upping their mischievous quotient, we awoke to glitter and green everywhere.  Footprints indiscriminately on the floors! beds! faces! clothes!  The boys were surprised to find their room rather messy, but pardoned it easily with the pots of gold left behind by the wee green folk.

Magic.  Magic and tradition.  That's what I like about these kinds of days.

"Christ as a light, illumine and guide me!  Christ as a shield, o'ershadow and cover me!  Christ be under me!  Christ be over me!  Amen."  (our abridged version of  "The Breastplate of St Patrick") 

March 03, 2015

The Latest

Hello to you, and you, and you, and you, and you...!  Here's what went on over winter break:

Um, it snowed is still snowing.  I'm not sure how to show this but by posting photos and reminding you that I live in Vermont.  And it's wintertime.  However, to my Georgian and Virginian family members?  Sending much, much love (and perhaps an extra snow shovel?)!

We visited with folks both here and there.  I got to wear my friend's spectacular baby boy in a sling.  IN A SLING.  I wore that kid all around and his Mama was happy, and I was euphoric because I miss those kind of sling wearing days sometimes.  His Mama said I could come back any time to wear him again.  I will, maybe then I'll have Champ take a picture of what the delicious dear actually looks like rather than shouting "take a picture of the baby in the sling!  I'm wearing T and B's baby in a sling, for like, a long time!!"

At some point during our visiting rounds, I found myself face to face with the Main Street that slices through my hometown memories.  It was kinda nostalgic; especially with that unexpected glittery look to it.  It was snowing (gee wiz) there too, so maybe that's how Pennsylvania's snow photographs?  Perhaps.

The Barred Owl has decided to stick around, thus we couldn't help but name it Hedwig at this point.  A slight dilemma might be that Hedwig's favorite place to perch is directly above our bird/critter feeders, but I'm gonna let that go for now.  

Winter break is also the time that we get our next round of -as we like to call it- "cow".  So upon assessing the freezer to make room for the newest batch of beef, I used up the final goodies we had and made this stew using these foraged bay leaves.  Admittedly, I was kinda smug during dinner that night.

Looking into my blogging future for this month, this is what I see: Champ has a big 'ol birthday coming up.  No longer able to easily fit on unstable shelving, Champ turns 40 on April 8th!  Woo hoo!  To celebrate, he is running 40 miles on his birthday.  Just calm a bit down.  It is a little insane, but he's a runner, he did a similar gig when he turned 30, AND he plans on raising $4,000 dollars for a local non-profit.  So there's that.  We plan on being kinda busy with "that", in fact Bear has already begun to paint inspiring banners for him.  It looks to be an action packed next few weeks... especially for Champ's legs.

Love to you, and you, and you, and you...

February 14, 2015

Cupid approved

Happy Valentine's Day, everyone!  

I'll be hangin' with my family over these next few days seeing as Champ and Bear have winter break from school- waahoo!!!!  I'll meet up with you again in a bit.

Marriage is like a game of chess except the board is flowing water, the pieces are made of smoke, and no move you make will have any effect on the outcome.     - Jerry Seinfeld

Love and pink frosted cupcakes and a few conversation hearts too,

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