diy felt board and (spastic) musings on motherhood

A few months back I made this felt board for my son. Nothing too fancy, just framed white felt and lots of cut colorful felt shapes. The frame is some cheapo one I picked up from Ikea. I didn’t tack the felt to the cardboard backing but I highly recommend doing so (either glue of your choice or staples being careful not to go all the way through the cardboard) or your child might have more fun continually pulling out the felt backing than playing with the shapes (as my son did).

This is a simple, fun and fast project that is perfect for pulling out on rainy days or for use during those transitions where you need your child occupied (dinner prep anyone?).

Lately the weather here has been uncharacteristically gorgeous for the NW and we’ve spent oodles of time outdoors either at the park, on walks, bike rides and pulling up buckets and buckets of weeds. I’ve done no planting (yet) this season, but our planter boxes look dang good. Now to tackle our yard strip, a particularly sore spot for the neighborhood. I’m somewhat positive that our 800 year-old neighbors who still manage to keep their lawn meticulous will throw a party once we tackle that beast.

I’ve been taking lots of “indoor” activities outside like painting for one (sorry about the porch Hon) and we’ve spent many afternoons soaking wet thanks to our “water table” which is just a hand-me-down tempered glass patio table that I top with bowls and miscellaneous kitchen utensils, rocks and the like. I’ll pretend it hasn’t affected our water bill. These photos are from last year (he’s so little!), but the idea is the same.

We’ve also been really into bug collecting, which reminds me that this slug

currently sitting on my kitchen windowsill is in desperate need of fresh air.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _

Speaking of things sluggish, I haven’t been blogging much lately, clearly, and I can’t say why exactly. But the novel I’m about to explode upon you might be able to shed some light on that. I don’t think I’ve wanted to post about the above stuff, without acknowledging the stuff that lies below.

I love being a stay-at-home mama. Adore it. A-d-o-r-e i-t. But…

sometimes it’s lonely. Okay, often times it’s lonely. And the repetition of ordinary household tasks: laundry, dish washing (have I ever mentioned that we don’t own a dishwasher?), grocery shopping and the like can become tedious, bordering on depressing at times. Lately I’ve been feeling incredibly antsy, flitting from feeling content in the ordinary, to just plain bored.

Then I look at how lucky I am to have the luxury to be able to choose between work and full-time mothering that I feel racked with guilt at the brattiness of it. Some days I have the patience of a saint and allow my son to bag every piece of produce and other days, well, I just want to buy the fucking lettuce. And then there are those glorious, pure-happiness moments, which I experience many times per day of being able to just “be” with my son, and move about our day at his pace. And in truth, when I can stop to enjoy the moment and not judge myself, it’s bliss. I feel blessed.

That said, the past month I’ve spent my evenings re-watching the Sex in the City series/movies (as evidenced by my obsessive interest in designer accessories c/o of my Pinterest boards); watching those four self-sufficient working women awakened something in me…a desire for something…more. And I’m not just referring to Jimmy Choos.

Every now and again I have the thought that I could go back to work part-time (pretending that finding a super flexible, super part-time job in this economy would be cake), but I don’t want to give up time with my son, for a variety of reasons, one being the fear that when looking back, I’d regret that choice. Or perhaps when the time comes where I’d like to seriously re-kindle my career, I’d regret not keeping one foot in the door. This cycle of thoughts keeps plaguing me these days. I’m not even sure a job is the answer. Re-reading my words here, it all seems…whiny. I acknowledge my life is not wrought with seriousness. Thankfully.

No wait. I don’t want to be apologetic about my feelings. It is hard work serving others 24/7 and finding enough balance to care for yourself. Everyone deserves to feel well-rounded, in whatever capacity that means for the individual, myself included.

So there you have it. The tangled mess that is my mind these days. The modern day Betty Draper Syndrome. I won’t mention the ringing (banging, clanging, pounding) biological clock either. Oh wait I just did. Oh, and I won’t pay much attention to the food bender I’ve been on as well (and the many pounds that I’ve packed on), because I’d like to caulk it up to boredom and indecision, move on from that and concentrate on not using food as therapy from here on out. I’ll use you instead. Smirk.

So my question for the fellow SAHM’s out there, or scratch that, working mothers included,

how do you balance your life as a mother without losing sight of your goals, desires and aspirations as a woman? Or for those as clueless to those pesky goals and aspirations as I am, how do you balance your time? What roles or nourishing activities do you partake in, or you’d like to partake in, that keeps you feeling like the witty, sociable, intelligent, in-the-know and sexy woman that you are?

Health, Nurture, Thrive

spring kcwc: storytime pj pants

My contribution to the Spring Kids Clothes Week Challenge: three pairs of springtime pajama pants.

I cut these pants out over the winter and am so thankful that the KCWC pushed me to finish them. They’re the perfect weight for spring sleeping, and as this is the fifth time I’ve used this pattern, it goes without saying that I adore it. I’m so sad that this size, 3T, is the largest in the small-sized pattern pack and both small and larger-sized pattern is now out of print. I’m hoping they’ll re-release it as a PDF.

Now for the modeling.

Betty is such a trooper.

Pattern: Oliver & S Bedtime Story Pajamas (pants only – top seen here and here)

Cotton Polka Dot and Line Prints: Garibaldi by Sara Morgan for Blue Hill Fabrics via Bolt

Cotton Black Waves Print: Joel Dewberry for Westminister Fibers via Mill End

Contrasting Waistband and Cuffs: Linen from Joann’s


spring kcwc

So after my crazed, over-ambitious sewing from the last kcwc, I thought I might sit the next event out. And seeing as how my sister just gave me a ginormous sack of hand-me-downs for my son, I’m not sure if we actually need clothes. But…but…but…the Kids Clothes Week Challenge is so fun! I plan to participate yet again, with a more, err, toned-down approach, but who knows how hard the sewing bug might bite.

Will you be participating?

1. Sew, Create

4 easy crock-pot recipes and prep idea

I have to admit, I have been too freaked out to use my Crock-Pot in the past. I can’t say why exactly. Well, perhaps because the whole idea conquers up images of scary-looking congealed concoctions from church potluck pasts. But over the year, I’ve conquered that fear and boy am I glad that I did. Not only is cooking with a Crock-Pot eco-friendly due to using less energy than a conventional oven, but it is a life saver for those busy days when you don’t have time to cook a hot meal in the evening.

I have to say, coming home hungry to yummy-smells literally makes me dash about the house doing my best Kevin McAllister impression.

Moroccan Crock-Pot Chicken

Layer the following ingredients in the order listed:

  • 4 bone-in organic pastured chicken legs (save the bones for stock when done cooking)
  • heavy sprinkle of sea salt
  • 1.5 T. Moroccan seasoning
  • 1 tsp. tomato paste
  • 1-3 Tbls. olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves minced, or six, uncrushed whole garlic cloves
  • 1/2 lemon wedge (squeezed and dropped into the pot)
  • 2/3 of a yellow or sweet onion, chopped
  • tomatoes (handful of Sungold or 1 medium Hothouse chopped or 1 can diced or whole tomatoes, with juice)
  • a handful (about 6 large) crimini mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 carrots, cut into 1″ pieces
  • 2 celery stalks, thinly sliced
  • small handful kalamata olives (optional)
  • chicken stock (1 cup for a moist, stewey dinner, or up to four cups for more of a soup – you can use water in a pinch as the bone-in chicken makes its own broth)

Directions: Cook on low for 8-10 hours or on high for 5. Remove lemon wedge. Ladle into bowls, removing and reserving bones.

Easy Crock-Pot Coconut Curry Chicken

Follow the instructions as indicated above, with the following replacements:

  • one hefty spoonful of coconut oil in place of olive oil
  • one tsp. turmeric and one tsp. curry powder in place of Mediterranean seasoning
  • omit olives
  • one 16 oz. can coconut milk in place of or in addition to chicken stock

Absolutely delicious, and a completely different flavor.

Beef Stew (adapted from Nourishing Traditions recipe)

  • red wine
  • 1-2 lbs. beef stew meat
  • salt & pepper
  • several tsp. seasonings such as oregano, marjoram, rosemary
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 3 stalks celery, sliced
  • 3 carrots, sliced in rounds
  • 6 garlic whole uncrushed garlic cloves
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2-3 cups beef or vegetable broth
  • peel and a bit of the juice from one lemon or orange

Directions: Marinate beef stew meat in red wine for about an hour prior to cooking. Ladle off most of the wine. Then add the remaining ingredients and cook on low for 8-10 hours or on high for 5-6. Remove orange or lemon peel and serve.

Shredded Chicken with Green Beans (this is the awesomeness I was eating the other day when I went on that epic rant)

  • four bone-in chicken legs or breasts (or small-medium sized boneless chicken breasts)
  • heavy sprinkle of sea salt
  • 2 tsps. dried marjoram
  • 1 tsp. turmeric (optional)
  • 2-4 carrots, cut in 1″ pieces (optional)
  • 1-2 lbs. fresh green beans, ends snapped
  • 2-3 cups chicken or vegetable stock, depending on amount of vegetables used

Directions: Cook on low for 8-10 hours or on high for 5. Serve in bowls, removing and reserving bones, then shred chicken (you won’t have to work much in order for this to happen).


Easy Slow Cooker Prep Idea

When Meg linked to this ingenious slower cooker prep idea, I was hooked. To cut down on organic meat costs, we order fresh meat packs in bulk from our local grocer. Whenever we get a new pack, I separate out chicken and beef stew meat and then add the meat, vegetables and even the herbs and spices to a gallon-sized plastic freezer bag. Then I label the bags, flatten them and pop them into the freezer.

I either put a frozen bag in the fridge the evening before I plan to slow cook, or leave it on the counter for about a half hour before adding to the slow cooker. Then I add the liquids, put the lid on and turn on the pot. If the contents are still a bit frozen, I typically turn it on high for an hour, and then drop it down to low for the remainder of the cooking time. A little prep work up front makes using a slow cooker that much easier.

What are some of your favorite slow cooker recipes?

4. Spring, 9. Paleo, Mangia

kids art: a three-week progression

So…I’m going to go all Proud Mama on you today, and share a few drawings my son has done lately. This one is from about three weeks ago titled:

Little Tiny Baby Daddy with a Beard

This one is from two weeks ago, titled: Daddy and Baby (my son refers to himself as Baby)

and later that week:

And this one, from last week. We can’t remember what my son referred to it as, but we named it: Spotted Green Bean (ignore my husband’s drawings)

To witness this sort of progression in his drawing, in such a short time, has been incredibly exciting. Recognizable figures! With limbs! Lately he’s been obsessed with markers, greatly prefers them over crayons, but he’s also been warming up to and experimenting with this gorgeous set of colored pencils, a gift from Santa:

Yup. He’s a Lefty.

Isn’t it fun watching this aspect of kids development?

The other day he started drawing this series of harsh, controlled zig zags and I had to clamp a hand over my mouth to squelch my squeals. I know, I know, I’m a total nerd. I might actually explode when he starts writing numbers and letters.

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