Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The crunch that saved Crunchy

Crunch. Crunch. Crunch.

That was the sound in my kitchen tonight as my family couldn't keep their fingers off a pan of homemade granola fresh from the oven. Yum!

I'd been grumpy at dinnertime. We got home late after grocery shopping, so I didn't eat lunch on time, which always takes my blood sugar a while to recover from. Then Baby skipped his nap, and yelled at me the whole time I was getting dinner ready. So let's just say I was a little tense, and nobody would have really minded if I'd disappeared to my mom's next door after I finally got Baby to bed.

But I've been trying not to run away like that so often. Instead, I cleaned until dinner had levelled my blood sugar and I felt better. And then I decided to make granola, which I'd been planning to do all week, and hadn't gotten to.

I found this applesauce granola recipe, and thought it sounded easy and yummy. Then I found organic oats in the bulk bins for 70 cents per pound! My boys would eat granola for every meal if they could, but those tiny expensive boxes are always empty by the third day. So it's definitely worth the effort to make it and keep it stocked.

Plus, we got a little time to bond after my dinnertime cranks. As soon as I pulled out the ingredients, both boys were in the kitchen, wanting to help. Puffer patiently held the honey bottle upside down until it drizzled out the right amount, added the vanilla, and blended in the sugar. Grouper carefully measured the sunflower and flax seeds, chopped the walnuts, and mixed them in with the oats. Puffer stirred and stirred until everything was coated sticky sweet.

And then we waited together until the house smelled like oatmeal cookies.

"We should sell this!" crunched Grouper.
"It's Family-Made Granola!" crunched Puffer.

I'm not sure we could keep it around long enough to get it to any customers. But I'll happily make it with my kids every week if they want to.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Gardening day!

Sometimes I think gardening is even better for me than yoga.

I walk out the back door, and suddenly my thoughts slow down, and I breathe more deeply. I use my body differently doing yard chores than I do for housework, so it's good exercise. And once I get into a project, I don't want to stop. An hour and a half can fly by just like in yoga class. Plus my garden looks better when I'm finished!

The boys and I spent a nice long time outside today, cleaning up the leaves, toys and junk that was blown across the yard during the week's stormy winds. Even the playhouse roof was blown off! But today it was sunny, calm, and beautiful, and I would have spent all day outside if I hadn't had other things to do, too.

I love that my littlest is big enough now to hang out with me, happily, while I work. He played in the playhouse, chased his ball, and took every chance I offered for a wagon ride. He had to take turns with the loads of leaves I carted across the yard to mulch the bare ground which will eventually be garden. I raked a LOT of leaves, and hoed and pulled weeds from every low spot that had pooled rain. The big boys helped pull weeds, too, throwing them into the giant hole they dug in the fall. We plan to cover them with soil after the sun cooks them a bit, and even out the ground again for a garden patch. Right next to the chicken coop!

We still have some things to do in the house before we'll be ready to pick up our chicks from the feed store, but we're getting closer! They'll need to stay in a brooder in the house for a month or so while they grow feathers and the weather warms up outside.

The area behind the garage where UberDad and the boys will build the coop is level and ready. It's supposed to rain again this weekend, but hopefully they can start building the weekend after. In the meantime, the boys and I have more work to do to get our spring garden going. I have seeds waiting patiently, hardening in the fridge.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

To the mother of the lively boys...

Right before Christmas, an anonymous reader commented on this post about my ideas about spanking. I've just finally finished my reply to her here, and I really hope she hasn't given up on me completely and might still see it.

My "Fetching" fingerless gloves's ever-popular "Fetching" pattern, with undyed aran-weight Blue-Faced Leicester wool yarn.

I caught my first cold of the season this week, which left me feeling lightheaded when I stand up too long, and gave me an excuse to watch tv at my mom's and finally finish my fingerless gloves last night.

I made the first one two weeks ago, and then promptly lost one of the size 6 needles I needed to make the second. I was finally desperate enough wanting to knit that I dug up another set of sixes out of a UO (unfinished object) I'd given up on.

I loved this pattern! It was simple and rhythmic, which I need since I'm usually knitting while also trying to have a conversation with someone. I did screw up the wrist a few times and had to keep starting over, but mostly that was 'cause I wasn't multitasking very well. I learned the basic cable stitch on the scarf I made last month, and the picot trim around the fingers on the hat I made for my cousin's baby last summer.

Oh! And the photo only has one glove in it because my other hand was using the camera. ;)

Thursday, January 24, 2008


We've been listening to music frequently in the house the last couple of weeks. And my littlest is showing definite signs of musicality.

His current favorite song: "Take a Little Nap (The Disco Song)" by Ralph's World. Which goes like this, "Have a little lunch. Take a little nap. Get down tonight. Get down tonight. Shake shake shake. Shake shake shake. Shake your bootie. Shake your bootie..."

Of course, the part Baby gets is, "Shake your bootie!" He wiggles his little bod to the music, and sings, "Shak-o-BOO-deh!" all around the house.

Do they have to grow up? Couldn't they stay toddlers just a little bit longer?

Monday, January 14, 2008

Here, chick, chick, chick!

As the name of this blog implies, I have a crunchy side. Underneath my slightly bland, t-shirt and jeans suburban mom exterior, hides a radical hippie chick/earth mama/urban farm girl just dying to raise her own chickens.

Yes, chickens.

Despite my lack of experience with any kind of live fowl -- and despite the worthy efforts of our friends to lead us down the path of vegan righteousness -- I have not been able to give up my dream of raising those fluffy, waddling birds that paint the Norman Rockwell picture of rural life.

I want pet chickens, dag mannit (as Grouper likes to say). I love eggs. I love their pretty feathers. I love the idea of my hens clucking beside me while I water the tomatoes and pick the green beans, tossing them plump, green hornworms as I go. I love the idea of raising our own food, encouraging genetic biodiversity, and fighting the atrocities of industrial animal production (not to mention Big Brother) with a daily trip to my backyard hen coop.

It's political activism that truly "starts at home."

So, this week I've been engrossed in learning everything I can about raising chicks, chicken breeds, chicken coops, municipal chicken laws, etc. There's a surprising amount to know, actually. For instance, who knew that sometimes chickens need DIAPERS?! Uberdad likes to tease me that I have a thing for hobbies involving poop. But I'll tell you now, I'm NOT washing chicken diapers with Baby's Fuzzi Bunz.

Happily, UberDad and all three boys are just as excited as I am. Puffer can recognize and name both a Silver-Laced Wyandotte and a Buff Orpington. And Baby Fish goes around "bawk bawk bawking" all day, and begging to look at pictures of chickens on the computer. We've been watching the Hen Cam during breakfast while we await our own happy flock.

Maybe I'll have my own chicken cam for you to watch someday.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Let the new year begin!

Admittedly, 2007 was not my most stellar year for blogging. For whatever reason, most of the thoughts in my head were either spoken aloud, written in my paper journal, or kept inside for good reason. Between my post-partum depression, my grandmother's passing in May, and the ups and downs of life with three kids at home, blogging mostly fell to the bottom of my priority list.

BUT, 2007 was a fabulous year for making new friends, watching Baby Fish go from sitting to scooting to crawling to walking to talking, going fun places with my boys (Oregon, a couple zoos, the beach, local farm, the mountains, local parks), knitting for myself instead of everybody else (socks, scarf, fingerless gloves) and celebrating 10 years of marriage to my best friend.

I don't know what 2008 holds. I'm not even sure what plans I might dream up. I finally took down the Christmas decorations tonight, and the new year has begun. Uberdad goes back to school tomorrow after two weeks of sleeping in. It's supposed to rain all night again, and it's going to be tough to drag ourselves out of bed on time to kiss him goodbye in the morning. But we're sure going to miss him tomorrow. We'll keep ourselves busy running errands so the house won't feel so empty without Daddy in it.
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