January 31, 2013

If only they sold oregano oil at 7-eleven

Still riding that wave of sickness?  Here is a list of tips that helped us muddle through it.

-Oregano oil. I read this book a few months ago and decided to give oregano oil a try as it is considered to be anti viral, anti bacterial, anti fungal, and anti inflammatory (among other traits).  It continues to impress me.  I rub a few drops into our feet each night before bed as an immunity booster, and rub some into our chests if congested or coughing.  We take it internally if in full battle with a cold.  I put 3 drops (about 5 for me) into a little bit of water or juice.  Ace likes the stuff enough that I can put a few drops in his drink cup and he sips on it all day long, otherwise we take the drops every 3 hours or so over the course of a day.

-Coconut oil.  Some claim it is anti fungal and antiviral. Here's what I know: it feels heavenly to rub some on an irritated nose.  If it helps keep the germs out while moisturizing, well then all the better.

- ginger lemon tea.  A few hunks of peeled ginger root, a squeeze of lemon, smidge of honey, and some hot water.  ReliefSteeping it in a Teavana tea tumbler that a super awesome friend gave you is optional.

-Elderberry syrup.  My sister-in-law, S, introduced me to elderberry syrup, maybe in your family it was your grandmother.  Whatever the case, it is a proven immunity builder and we take it daily during the winter months.

-Apple cider vinegar.  You know how you can almost feel a cold coming before it truly hits?  You're a little off, a little dizzy.  Maybe you are extra sleepy and don't have an appetite.  As soon as I notice myself  becoming unbalanced I take 1T ACV in a little water and keep at it every few hours over the course of the day.  I don't know why it works exactly- maybe the balancing out of acidity in my system?  No idea, but it has helped me get two feet back on the ground.  It's not a cure-all, I still get colds occasionally, but I've found that if ACV can't nip 'em in the bud, it does help limit their duration.

-Thieves.  The back story to how this oil was created is worth the read.  I make a homemade version of it and use it in the pot of water on the woodstove, and to wipe down door and toilet handles.  Once again, we rub it on our feet whenever I feel our systems could use a little boost.

Sometimes all of the above just doesn't fully cut it.  When that occurs, pile your sons into the car and drive to 7-eleven (your nearest store).  Buy a few slurpees*, peanut butter crackers, and 7-eleven's version of Tylenol cold (because that's all they apparently carry).  Come back home, feed the boys their super healthy lunch, take some cold medicine, and all curl up on the bed.

*for the record, the medicine blew my mind and I won't be taking any more.  However, that slurpee was just what the doctor ordered. 

January 29, 2013


We did a lot of lounging around this weekend.  Same 'ol story you are either hearing or living these days, "well, my head hurts and I got this cough...".  Our version is nothing to speak of really, except that it slowed everything downAnd slower paces?  They give you a good excuse to be lazy and stay in your pajamas and leave the board games out all day and show up at Papa's work so he can drive you around for a while.

I also spent a bit of the weekend taking pictures of Ace in an attempt to portray him as younger than he is.  I suspect I am only fooling myself. 

On Sunday afternoon, we did indeed hunt down Champ and load into his warm ski shuttle.  He drove us (and a few skiers along the way) all around Stratton Mountain.  The bumps of ski poles and hum of the motor, NPR quietly droning on in the background; all of it helping to lull us into a peaceful calm.  Each time we visit, it reminds me of riding the bus in a big city except with no responsibility attached to the ride: observing the crowds of people spilling on and off, having no particular destination in mind, just circling the same loop over and over until finally feeling moved to disembark.    

Once back home, Bear had the most reserves of energy, so I gave him the task of frosting the "thanks for driving us around so we could all just chill out" cake.  It's pretty much what we ended up eating for dinner.

These kind of posts need to be written too.  Days are not always sparkly and wonderful; thrilling things do not happen constantly.  My tooth hurts, we are sick, I'd love a bit more money in our bank account, Champ was not with us all weekend.  It is what it is and it's not really all that bad when there is leftover chocolate cake to be had

January 23, 2013

It's cold. Canon is not cold hearted.

Yup.  It is cold today and I have a hat and fingerless gloves on while I type this.  Tea too.  I've figured out how to get as close to the fire as humanly possible without catching on fire; Huckle taught me that move, although from where I hover, as close as doggily possible seems to be a milimeter closer to the flames

My heart is warm though friends, my heart is warm.  Mostly because finally some good news regarding this person, or that one, has begun to trickle in.  Have you been praying since reading yesterday's post?  You kind little reader, you.  Thank you.  Admittedly though, my heart is warm like those cinnamon heart candies that I scoff up and melt to make the most amazing Valentine (this is what I've named it) popcorn because Canon got back to me regarding my camera issues.  I promise you when I submitted my claims I was kind and nice and didn't even name drop and the company still came to my rescue which shows you just what an awesome company Cannon is.  Back in my possession are a brand new Powershot (well, that camera was still under warranty) AND a completely fixed 50mm lens (so not still under warranty) with my only expense being the cost of shipping the items to Canon.  

I celebrated by firing off a few shots on the way home from preschool and then, because this 50mm deserves a properly educated owner, I allowed myself to only edit* 2 of the 4 pictures I took (the lovely examples you just viewed above).  These other 2 schooled me as I squinted and moved and adjusted manual settings trying to get all things as perfectly artsy as I could before yet another finger went numb in the bitterly cold air.   

Seriously, I could have gotten frost bite today and I would still be giddy.

*all of them were cropped but that doesn't even count in my book (the novice manual)

January 22, 2013

This being human is a guest house

Patiently waiting: photos of scribbled upon windows, the washable markers a gift to Bear from Santa.  All along, I thought the pictures might match a post about acceptance and living in the moment- I abhor dirty windows-but the post would have been cliche and boring (even if true)The pictures were tabled until the proper time and  this week the timing was speedily reached.

I figured it out: the view was never about me, rather windows into the lives of friends and family.  This weekend our phone rang off the hook, e-mails fired in, the front door knocked upon; their stories were always sad, mostly urgent.

The best Champ and I could do was listen, listen as bad news kept rolling in with all manner of despair attached to it.  It tumbled right on over those protective, colorfully scrawled window panes and I wryly smiled as Eminem's "guess that's why they call it window pain" scrolled through my thoughts.  There is a sense of desperation in hearing of others' pain and feeling quite useless to help.  A juxtaposition too, at least for me, as my own biodome is just peachy keen these days.

I tried hacking away at all that dismal sadness.  Prayer of course helped.  Rumi came in when called upon -as comforting as ever- this time with "The Guest House"Comfort food made it's presence known as well: I hovered by the stove and cooked anything and everything comforting I could think of.  This weekend's guests needed that and I needed to feel like I was doing something tangibly helpful. Do you ever feel the same?

Further into my picture files I found a recent series of Ace.   He's eating (how comforting!) and the paperwhites have bloomed.

My prayer today: may that very sunshine streaming through the windows and nudging my narcissus to bloom find its way into the lives of all who are hurting.  Godspeed.

January 15, 2013

Rare, like quinoa used to be

It's quite a treat when we have opportunity to welcome visitors for the very first time.  We have lots of repeat guests, but newbies?  rare.rare.rare. which is why we had an especially wonderful weekend spent with a particular set of cousins.

By the end of their stay, Bear had a tough decision to make: did he prefer the cousin who baked cookies with him, or the cousin who played hockey with him and gave piggy back rides?  I believe he declared it a tie.

I had no trouble making my decision: K and G, of course I love you dear cousins, but your daughter-my second cousin K- was my favorite by far.  Have you looked at that picture?  Clearly.

Brand new visitors?  rare.rare.rare  and so we were glad.glad.glad to have you all join us in Vermont.

 In unrelated news, I had leftover quinoa and a hankering for a new kind of muffin.  After a quick troll of the internet, I came up with...

 (recipe adapted from the these are so healthy that they make my muffins look like candy Fitnessita muffin recipe).  

quinoa mini muffins that startled me with how yummy AND FILLING they were.  I adapted the recipe to be mini rather than full size, I used brown sugar and cow's milk and the nut meal was ground up mixed nuts because that's what was on hand just as dates and pineapple were the dried fruits of choice.  Yup, besides those um minor tweaks I followed Fitnessita's recipe and we (no "we" does not mean Champ when it involves bakery items made with quinoa) gobbled up the results.

Look closely- past the quinoa- what do you see?  Bear's snowmobile parked outside the window.

                                     (a different cousin, but just as cute, no?)

 It's being put to good use this winter.

January 11, 2013

If only...

...I had been a few seconds faster

the dogs would not have had a soggy meal.

 Have a fabulous weekend everyone!

January 10, 2013

Paint Mice

I'm still working on tidying up all my end of the year photos from 2012. This means you will be getting odds and ends blog fodder for the next few days.  Isn't it thrilling?  

Today it's all about mice. and feet. and paint.  And a darling little book named Mouse Paint (it's cousins are Mouse Count and Mouse Shapes).  

To begin the activity, yup you guessed it, we read the book.  Then Bear explored how many colors he could make out of paint using the primary set of red, yellow, and blue.  Once his curiosity subsided a bit, I painted his foot yellow, then red, then blue and had him "stamp" a big piece of paper with each color.

                        this picture makes me miss my 50mm

After all the primary colors were imprinted, we moved on to creating and stamping the secondary colors.

Once the footprints dried we cut them out and arranged them around a poem I found here.  I also printed out her pattern and mouse color pages.  I colored in the beginning bit of each pattern so that Bear could independently work on a line or two while I cooked dinner, or helped Ace with something, or whatever.

For the mouse color word page, we did a few mice at a time.  I would hand Bear the appropriate crayons for him to hunt down and pair with the matching mouse to color in.  

We had a squeaky good time.
(that doesn't even make sense.

January 09, 2013

About those magnets on your fridge...

Our 2013 phone book arrived with a magnet glued on- "Abatem Exterminating Company!" it said.  I'm not in the market for any exterminators, but I did yank that magnet right off the yellow page and place it in my craft surplus drawer.  Those suckers come in  handy for swift little projects and so I stockpile.

{This was taken a few months ago while we had company.  The scene reflects the wild time we had- with the Boston Marathon medal hanging on the stove where dishes are stored, cushions tossed all around, chair askewAnd this was just a glimpse to one wee corner of my house...

My friend A introduced me to the magic in the magnet.  She had gifted Bear with a farm set of magnets upcycled from her stash and I thought it so clever.  Let me teach you how to be as clever 
as she...

 Supplies: advertizement magnets, stickers, scissors, wide roll of clear tape.

Peel off the paper part of the advertizement magnet as best you can.  Place stickers on paper side of the magnet.  Space them close together so that you can make lots of new magnets.

Lay tape over top of stickers being careful to avoid making any wrinkles.  If needed, smooth by pressing over wrinkles with your fingertips.

Cut out the stickers with a sharp pair of scissors.  Mine were not the sharpest, so I had to keep a margin around most of the stickers to make cutting easier.  I've since sharpened my scissors, so Abatem magnet, you had better watch out.

And DONE.  Now go out into the world and hunt down those calendar magnets.  Accept magnets from any business person you meet.  Feed your stash and then amaze folks with thoughtful birthday gifts! Your own magnetic poetry tiles!  How about a complete set of the characters from Homer's Odyssey?  If you can imagine it, I'm sure there's a sticker for it.

 Abatem?  I don't mean to abuse your generosity.  Here.  A link to put my readers in contact with your services.  Your welcome.

January 07, 2013

Old Befana

The thing about having visitors almost every weekend is that it becomes a great balancing act: teetering between real life and life lived among company.  Sometimes it gets a little heavy.  We (because it is a "we" thing when it involves Champ, Bear, Ace, and me all wound up together) can- and occasionally do- reach the point where our cup runneth over to the level of flooding.  That's when both lifestyles need to be reined in.  Actually lock the doors.  Say no.  Respond gently to those who don't quite understand their postponed visitation rights, but still stand our ground.  This past fall there was a lot on the plate of "real life" and so we closed down visits for a month.  The guilt dissipated by the second week.

                                           the tent migrated upstairs

There are rewards to having guests of course, as there is nothing quite like the effervescent trinity of camaraderie, great eats, and shared memories.  It's good for all involved and it keeps that chi moving to every blessed corner of this house's foundation.  I pinky swear promise I truly, honestly love having it regularly filled with activity.  Not everyone is at the level of entertaining we are, but you know what you gain when gathering with just one girlfriend over a warm mug on a snowy evening.  Chainsawing wood for the winter next to your very best friend (notice I kept that one unisex).

Each month brings a new variation on the theme.  It's in the recognition that this is such a short season of our lives that I embrace the bed and breakfast feel of it all.  After all, those who know me know that it has always been my dream to run an inn- I just never imagined it playing out like this, but "this" feels good too.

Soon guitar lessons and sports and school days will add a certain rigidity to our hours.  Flexibility will be at a premium.  The guests will travel the road north less often and some will have children entering into the very same time constraints as our household.  I know all this to be true and so I swing the door wide to our threshold now while I can.

Holidays and tradition tend to jostle with guests for their turn to enter.  We try to make time for them both, although admittedly this is the hardest aspect of navigating through our dual life (well no, actually it's tied with pre and post cleaning of  house).  Some traditions can lose their intimacy when shared too broadly.  This weekend brought the Feast of the Epiphany. Bear and I led the wise men to the manger.  We scented the air with francinsense and prayed gratitude for the birth of baby Jesus.  My in-laws, visiting for the weekend, joined us for Sunday's massThe sacred was shared. 

               I can't even begin to explain all of what's going on here
Old Befana arrived on the heels of those Magi as this morning Bear awoke to a room tidied over with glittering lights and a drop of chocolate.  Childhood magic?  Why it was twinkling in his eye.

These celebrations usher in the next winter wave: family motto dinner, our version of boxing day...  sacred, binding traditions with only the 4 of us as participants.  As it should be.  But then the door swings open again: the Superbowl, Feast of St. Atticus, Valentine's day step in and with these celebrations- more guests, more robust revelry, more angles of tradition. 

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