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First Season in the Books

26 Mar

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I thought I needed to put down some thoughts on the ladies first hockey season, before it feels like it never happened.

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First of all, I cannot believe the difference of the girls skills between the end of October when our season began to the last weekend of February.  When we stepped onto the ice for the first practice, one of the coaches asked, “So, is this the first time they have tried skating?”  Yeah, that is where we started.  Sophia improved from spending approximately half of practice wallowing on the ice, rolling around claiming that this was her very last practice ever and there were some very large crocodile tears that accompanied those words.  I had to wear skates for the first few games because if Sophia got too far away from the bench during her two minute shift, she would never get back to the bench in time for another girl to take her place.  So when the two minute buzzer would sound I would hop over the boards, pick her up, and then skate her back to the bench.  I had to do that for the first few games and then got to wear boots for the rest of the season!

The beginning of the season was a tremendous challenge for Aleah because she was not good at hockey.  Aleah likes to be a high achiever and isn’t used to being at the bottom rung.  During practice she was constantly glancing all around her at the other girls who were so much better than her.  Many, many times she wanted to quit- to just walk away from the hard stuff.  To turn her back and never return to this hard sport where everyone (besides Soph) was so much better than her.  She wanted to return to the spaces she felt confident- the places where she was already excelling.  But I continued to drive them the 45 minutes to hockey practice and as time wore on she became more and more confident at her skating, passing and shooting skills.

She had been trying for most of the season and I could see in her eyes how badly she wanted to shoot that puck past the goalie.  While we were at a tournament in Brainerd, she scored her first goal ever.  Immediately after she scored, she raised both arms up into the air and held them there for about 10 seconds.  She was smiling so giant that I thought her mouth was going to reach around her head.  I saw the hard work that went into that goal.  I saw the tears and frustration behind those tough practices.  As the head coach cheered for Aleah, he glanced over at me with tears welling up in my eyes and asked, “You going to be okay over there?” And I beamingly assured him that I was quite alright.  Never better actually.

Of course we got the big game puck and will have to do something cool with it.

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All in all, hockey was a wonderful experience.  Yes we spent some time in the car and yes we missed a few naps, but we also learned how to work through hard stuff and to be rewarded for it.

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After a practice towards the middle of the season Aleah said to me, “Hey mom.  Now I know why you like hockey so much. It is because it is SO FUN!”  You got it girl.  Hockey is so fun and I am glad we can go down this road together.

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Front Entrance

9 Mar

It is currently 43 degrees outside and the great meltdown has begun.  The roof is raining down the melty snow and it sounds wonderful.

We spent the morning outside discovering toys that have long been lost and remembering how good the sun can feel.  As I looked at our front entrance, I realized it could use a little help.  The snow makes everything look clean and fresh, but now that the white stuff is disappearing the front walk looks plain and boring.  Soooo, I did what any person who attends every single garage sale around- I looked in our shed and our greenhouse.  Boy did I hit the jackpot.

Here is the entrance to our house before the makeover:

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And here is the after:

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I am going to paint the stepping stone, I made out of rhubarb leaves and cement, sometime in the near future and I think we will be good to go.

What spring jobs are you looking forward to tackling?

Storybook Costume

26 Feb

February has been Celebrate Books month.  Each Wednesday has been something special.  We have had books and bagels, where parents and grandparents were invited to school to eat bagels and read  some books with their kids.  Yesterday was my favorite, “Drop Everything and Read” and the kids got to wear their pajamas to school.  Last Wednesday took a bit more work on my part because it was- dress like your favorite storybook character day.  Yes, it kinda felt like the horrible week before Halloween all over again!

We went through their book shelves and Aleah wanted to be Amelia Bedelia and Sophie picked Madeline.  Here is some of the work:

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We could not for the life of us find a wide brimmed sun-hat for Madeline to wear but we made it work =)

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As Amelia would say, “It was plum fun!”

As Amelia would say, “That was plum fun!”

Homemade Granola Bars

23 Feb

I am trying.

I am trying to make healthy things for my family.

I am trying to make healthy things for my family to eat but it is so hard!

We go through days using all organic, non-GMO, no sugar, super healthy food, but then we fall off the band wagon and go through McDonalds. What is wrong with us?  Ugh, I hate it.  Yes, yes, don’t be hard on yourself… it is hard when you have kids and are traveling and don’t have time blah blah blah.  But seriously.  I want my family to consistently and constantly eat healthy food.  Of course we would all sweeten our birthday cakes and everything else with maple syrup instead of sugar but we aren’t all made of money, right?

Look at the ingredients of this Nature Valley granola bar, it makes me mad sometimes-

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So in an attempt to take one more step away from packaged food I decided to homemake granola bars.  Woohoo.  This is better and more handy than simply making granola because it is portable and awesome.

I found this stellar recipe that involves ONLY 5 INGREDIENTS!!!  Isn’t that amazing?  No corn syrup, no granulated sugar and my favorite- no ingredients that I cannot pronounce!

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INGREDIENTS
  • 1 cup packed dates, pitted (deglet nour or medjool)*
  • 1/4 cup honey (or sub maple syrup or agave for vegan option)
  • 1/4 cup creamy salted natural peanut butter or almond butter
  • 1 cup roasted unsalted almonds, loosely chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups rolled oats (gluten free for GF eaters)

Head over here at Minimalist Baker for the complete instructions.

Just one small step in the right direction.

Snowpant Straps

11 Feb

We love winter.  We spend a whole lot of time outside in the white fluffy stuff and cannot have our gear holding us back from the fun.  Hudson’s cousin, Lincoln, gave him a great snowsuit when LIncoln moved to California from Wisconsin (they are currently wearing shorts out there and playing in the sand).  The one problem with this snowsuit is that the legs ride up when he sits down or rolls around on the ground throwing a fit.  So after messing around in the snow for a few minutes the pants were always riding up and his cold little calf skin would poke out =(

So I took some fleece and used the stretchy side to make a little stirrup.  It took approximately 2 minutes to sew these straps onto the bottom of his snowsuit and will make a world of difference for the rest of winter.

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We can warmly go for sled rides and even make snow tunnels without our little calves getting chilly

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and eat lots of snow because it is so delicious.

Slow Fashion Style

30 Jan

Here is a guest post from Terry, a wonderful family friend.  Terry and my mom were the ones who would go into JoAnn Fabrics and come out hours later while Tonia (her daughter and my good friend) and I would stare at the car ceiling and giggle about how lame it was that they were in this dumb store.  We have since had to eat our own words because Tonia and I love to sew and also shop for fabric.

I was hanging out with Tonia after Christmas break and she showed me a patch that Terry had sewn onto a wool shirt we had given her a few years ago (Tonia is a tiny person, so if I run across cute and tiny articles of clothing that I wish I fit in- then I give them to her).  Somehow the shirt with the patch looked better than the original.  I had no idea how this was possible.  All the patches I have ever done or seen have been trying to hide what was broken, but with this method the tear or rip is being embraced and made almost into art. Thank you Terry for this post and showing us that there are better ways to do many things.

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I’m part of the “Back to the Land” generation that way back in the 70s was exploring all kinds of lifestyle alternatives and horrifying our parents by wearing bell-bottoms and halter-tops and patched jeans – the bigger and more psychedelic the better! They say that all things old become new again. Today there is a return to an interest in local, handmade, and sustainably produced goods of kinds. For most of my life I’ve participated in that lifestyle as much as possible – gardening, buying organic foods, shopping local, etc., but somehow that ethic has been harder to put into practice when it comes to clothing. That changed for me this past fall when I enrolled in an online course called Slow Fashion Style with the artist Katrina Rodabaugh. During the three-week course about 400 people from all around the world learned together about the textile industry, its impact on the people who work in it and on the environment, and what we can do as individuals to make different choices.

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We also learned about the skills that have been practiced for generations that give us the ability to make and repair our own clothes. I loved the lesson in “visible mending,” which took me back to those hippie years but added the beauty of traditional Japanese sashiko stitching. We experimented with dyeing fabric with local plant materials, like coffee grounds and onion skins.

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Practicing these skills makes me feel connected to the generations of people who have passed them down to us, and transforms the article into clothing that is made not just of cotton or wool, but also of all the time and attention and love that I’ve stitched into them.

Since then my visits to thrift shops are even more rewarding. I hunt for cotton, linen or silk items that I can revive with a dip in a dye bath; wool articles that can be transformed into bags, pouches, mittens and scarves; and especially those pieces that were made back when clothes were meant to last longer than one fashion season and need nothing but an alteration and a good cleaning to continue to serve.

There are many resources available if you’re interested in exploring the world of Slow Clothing, starting with Katrina’s blog, and specifically this post of hers on visible mending, and the list of resources she created for her “Make Thrift Mend” project. On FaceBook like the Slow Cloth group page, and on Pinterest look for boards like “slow fashion,” “slow clothes,” or “visible mending.”

The winter months are a great opportunity to snuggle into your favorite chair with needle and thread and something to mend. Have fun making old things new again, wear your patches with pride, and SLOW DOWN!

Granola

20 Jan

There are a few things I really hate buying and want to make myself.  On that list of things to learn how to make and to make them on a regular basis:

1.  Bread

2. Laundry Soap

3. Granola

4. Bars of Soap

5. Money, kidding- just seeing if you are paying attention =)

So I started off my grand list by tackling the easiest one- granola!

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It was so easy to make, really quick and delicious too.

Here is the recipe I started with and have since changed a few things to make peanut butter, chocolate and even one with a bunch of dried fruit.

2 cups old-fashioned oats

3/4 cup shredded sweetened coconut

1/2 cup chopped almonds

1/3 cup pepitas

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon salt

4 tablespoons coconut oil, melted

1/2 cup pure maple syrup

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon coconut extract

1.Preheat oven to 300 degrees and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.

2.  In a large bowl, combine oats, coconut, almonds, pepitas, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt. In a small bowl, whisk together coconut oil, maple syrup, vanilla, and coconut extract.  Pour liquid mixture over dry ingredients and stir until well-coated.

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3.  Pour the granola mixture onto the prepared baking sheet. Spread granola into an even layer. Bake for 30 minutes or until granola is golden brown, stirring every ten minutes. Let granola cool completely.  Store in an air-tight container for up to 1 month. (I promise you, it won’t last that long)

Enjoy!

 

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