July 27, 2011

Amazing Love

Summer = Camp and while it may not mean a full on experience of sleep away for a week or more,  camp is pretty serious business in many people's lives from June 'til August.  This year, Bear joined the masses and because a Vacation Bible School camper.


See how he loved it?  What 3 year old doesn't love being thrown into basically a group of strangers by his usually thoughtful and understanding Mama?  I  wouldn't say Bear's first camp experience was a piece of cake, but we had growth, oh we had growth.  
I have fond memories of my own Vacation Bible School days.  They come and go like a slide show in my mind: colorful camp tee shirts, an owl made out of a tin can, a glow in the dark necklace I was so proud to make that I still own the thing (somewhere).  There was a church basement with a particular smell; not good, not bad, and a wide sprawling lawn where we sang songs I can't now remember.  I wish I could say I recall talking about Jesus and His great love for me, but I don't, that came years later.

By Wednesday, I could coax a fake smile from my boy before drop-off and noticed a developing courage that saw him through his camp mornings.  Or maybe it was that I allowed his beloved "bear" to attend camp on Wednesday if the plush promised to behave himself.

 
Bear began to round the corner and I was pleased.  No, that's wrong.  Supportive, proud, maybe.  I hoped that he was beginning to develop his own slideshow in his mind, a spirit of optimism and tenacity in his soul.
That may be asking a bit too much of my child's first camp experience, but I'd be dishonest if I didn't admit it. 

By Friday, it was clear to me he had grown.  No, he wasn't front and center for the closing program and he didn't enthusiastically sing the songs with the other campers, but he was part of their whole.  He was a camper.


 I listened to the songs, watched the literal slideshow of their camp days and was practically moved to tears by it all.  My son had just turned the big 3, I am a raging pregnant hormonal beast and the sum total of camp week amounted to more than I could have hoped for.  All this, sitting on a folding chair one Friday at camp.


Now that it's over, Bear talks fondly of his camp experiences.  He sings along with the CD they sent and even occasionally does hand motions to his favorite tune "Amazing Love".  If I ask him about the lyrics he sings "Amazing love, it blows you away!" and that pretty much sums up MY most recent experience with Bible camp.

We came in to camp week focused on Bear learning about the great love of Jesus.  Whether or not he grasped that, I most certainly got a jolting reminder- a camp gift even greater than the goldfish and juice offered.  

July 21, 2011

aka Chick Peas

I had a huge can of garbanzo beans.  A few pounds huge...


so Bear and I decided to turn it into hummus (or at least 1lb of it into hummus- the rest I froze for when I feel like eating another hill of beans).


 Mmmmm, it was good!  We made it even better by whipping up some pitas to go with it.  Here's the recipe (in case you also have a pile of beans just aching for some pitas ):

Pitas (from "Baking Ideas" 1980-81)

3 1/2 -4C flour
1T yeast
1 1/4C warm water
2T olive oil
1t salt
pinch of sugar

- mix 1 1/2 C flour and all remaining ingredients together.  Gradually add in remaining flour until dough like consistency and knead for 5 minutes.
- rise 45 minutes
- punch down and shape into 12 balls
- roll each ball into a 5" or so circle from center to the edge (not back and forth or it won't puff)
- allow to rise 20-30 minutes
- spritz each circle with water if desired, then bake @ 375* 10-12 minutes until puffed and brown.



The day we made these, we didn't do the second rise because it was close to lunch and we were HUNGRY.  They still turned out delicious, but the extra rise does add bit more puff to them.


Sometimes I make the dough the night before, refrigerate it and then pull it out in the morning for the second rise.  Once I bake it off, I freeze the extras so I can have a pita whenever the mood strikes.  And with all these beans, it's probably bound to strike again soon.

July 19, 2011

In my shower...

Hi everyone!  Hope you had a delicious weekend...


I most certainly did.
 ***********************************

On my last post about henna and what I use in my hair a few of you expressed an interest in learning more.  Since I love to give my readers what they want (always, always you should get your way, right?!) here's my latest hair lowdown:

links!
- I order my henna from Mehandi.
- I order amla, the shampoo bar and shikaki from The Indian Food Store .  Maybe you will be able to find Hesh products in your local stores, but I can't :(

methods!

- I added water to my amla/shikaki jar mix - eventually I'll transfer it to a squirt bottle to make application super easy in the shower.

- I also started to use a green tea rinse.  To make it, add hot water to a mason jar and 2 bags of green tea.  Allow it to steep- the longer the better.  Then I use it just like a shampoo in the shower (mixture lasts about 4 days).  It works crazy well and smells good, too.

- I'm back into using oil treatments now that my hair is a TEENY bit longer.  No true set measurements- I just heat up about a tablespoon of coconut, jojoba or apricot oil and then add a few drops of essential oils that I am in the mood for- lavender, bergamot, rosemary, lemongrass and/or grapefruit are my current choice favorites.  I rub it into my hair and scalp, cover it with a head wrap or bandana and then forget about it until my shower where I do use a drop of "real" shampoo to get the residue out.  

- As far as a weekly schedule, I tend to use my amla/shikaki mixture 2x week, green tea 2-3x/week and then the shampoo bar one day and the oil treatment another. 

There's no rhyme or reason to my madness and I'm sure I'll be tweaking my methods again, but for now it has become easy and quick; this is awesome because it leaves more time for the important things in life, like enjoying the weekend.



Delicious I tell you.  Delicious.


July 14, 2011

The Strider


Turn away now if you are over the Bear heavy posts of the last few days.  

I promise to return to a bit more balanced blog space by next week.  I just couldn't help myself these past few days- come on, it was his birthday week, he's a toddler AND I just got a brand new camera*- that scenario just screams for photos, doesn't it?!


To top off his birthday week we were back at the skate park, but with a bike in tow this time.
 

I think I'm a pretty open minded, adventurous Mama, but there were a few moments where I had to sit on my hands so I didn't leap up and shout at him DANGER DANGER don't even think of going off that ramp!!


Not that he was in any real danger anyway, but seriously Bear, do you have to be so confident on your bike so soon? 

Friends gave him the Strider bike for his birthday and it is truly fantastic.  Bear's getting the feel of his bike and discovering his balance quite swimmingly.


Almost too swimmingly- especially with Champ's "encouragement".
 But I go along with it, because I can see Bear is thriving on developing his biking skills: learning to walk that fine line of adrenaline rush and safety. 


 Let me be clear here though: he definitely prefers to lean in to the adrenaline rush side.  I celebrate his spirit with my closed eyes and squashed hands.

*This post is my first attempt of using my Rebel and doing most of the editing in Photoshop.  From here on out, the labels will reflect whether I'm using my point and shoot or my DSLR.  Hear that?  MY DSLR!!!!!!


July 12, 2011

It was Bear's birthday, but...

I've been dreaming of it for over 4 years.


Started saving up for it, and then Life happened.
Began to save again, tried to remain positive.

And now, the wait is over, the ups and downs complete:
 

I OWN A CANON REBEL T2i!!!!!!!!!!!!
                           (Someone pinch me)


and while this is a pointless post besides announcing my new camera, I'll have you know that the announcement means oh so much to me.

(special thanks to my Dad who helped me with my purchase through a spectacular deal on reconditioned cameras offered to Canon employeesThanks again Dad!!!!)




July 07, 2011

Birthday week!

Are you kidding?  No time to blog- it's Bear's birthday week and we are spending every second celebrating it to the fullest!


Friends and family have been flowing in and out our door.  Cakes have been baked and good times planned.  Turning 3 has never been so exciting!

We've gone to landlocked Vermont's version of "the beach" (aka lakes and reservoirs) where Bear was rocking a cowlick.



and we've had some late night sports activities.


This morning Bear's beloved "bear" got up early to make him breakfast: tomorrow it's my turn to wow Bear with my culinary skills.  How do I top a stuffed bear's ability to make "coffee"?


I may have set myself up for failure, but I'm not too worried.  Tomorrow is Bear's actual birthday and a few small presents are headed his way.  As long as "bear" didn't go shopping, I should still be in the clear as a cool Mama.

July 05, 2011

View From A Float

I already loved the 4th of July before I had Bear.  Then, he was born on July 8th and I came to adore the 4th in a whole new way.  It's just a fun holiday; full of spirit, color and comradeship for fellow Americans- quite clearly displayed in the following picture:

Those waving float goers?  All dear friends of ours, visiting from out of state and more than willing to BE IN A PARADE with Bear, Champ and I rather than view it from the roadside.  I found their eagerly waving hands working the parade route to be both charming and hysterically funny.  Oh how it tickled my funny bone to see them waving to strangers and the strangers merrily waving back.
 
We provided post parade entertainment too, as we tried to figure out how to take a flattering shot of pregnant girlfriends.
 

It was more difficult
 
 
than I had imagined, but we kinda figured it out
 

Eventually.  It also proved difficult taking a group shot of all our current children.  Let me fast forward through the multiple outtakes to this
 hmmm.  Well, it certainly captured the moment if nothing else.
 
We had the first of many birthday parties for Bear this week.  Notice that while the grown-ups are entirely distracted, the children and dog know just what to do.


When the cake was polished off, we had a few visits

 
 from super heros
 

like any good birthday should have, thus drawing to a close Bear's birthday party #1.  With lots more company coming throughout this week, I'd say he has a fair shot of having at least one more birthday cake in his near future.  And perhaps another super hero or two.



July 01, 2011

PS...

Did I mention Bear is back in Vermont?  It's been about a week since he's been back and things have just about returned to normal.  Upon his return, we celebrated a belated Father's Day with Champ.



There are also stories from Bear's week long stay in Pennsylvania.  We've heard lots, both from Bear and the friends and family who met with him during his time away, but I know that those aren't all the stories and I know we quite possibly won't ever hear all the stories.  That's the beauty of his visit.  I do know that at some point he met up with a goat.

 
                            (thanks Dad, for the pictures)

Stories from Champ and I are not half as enthralling as a goat encounter, but I did get a little crafty within some of my free moments while he was away.  Right before he departed, I finished his baby doll sling.


Is there anything sweeter than a child with a doll baby in a sling- especially one he had recently cloth diapered?    


I got a little knitting done (for a real baby, but doll baby is helping to model it).  

                                Sorry no pattern for this one: I was flying solo.

Now don't laugh, but the final crafty project I wanted to finish up were potholders.  Yes, potholders.  Mine were so grimy and boring and I had the funkiest fabric lying around, so


new potholders I made!  With retro kittens on them.  Basking in pink goodness.  I now feel complete.

Have a Fabulous Fourth of July (or a good weekend if you are a friend from another country) full of stars, stripes, fireworks and cookouts!!!
 
 
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