Wednesday, October 31, 2007

I took the girls for a walk this morning. I checked out a book on identifying edible plants and although it is the tale end of the season we had fun making several finds along the road. It was one of those golden mornings when the air is really crisp and just right for a walk. Since the usual "Shenandoah Shores-pedal-happy-motorist club" was not making as big of a show this morning we even ended up sitting by a big hedge on Mountain View and just watching the sparrows play in the huge berry hedge along the road for quite a while. If the pace of the day is just spot on (and often it is not--meaning I am trying to do too much) the girls will be quite content with this sort of thing for a long time. The sparrows made me a bit wistful, so happy and carefree in their berry hedge. As we left Angelica said she wished we lived in the hedge with the sparrows. Sometimes I couldn't agree more.

The rest of the day was spent making Angelica's penguin costume and finishing up my first knitting project, a scarf for Ben, which while imperfect I am proud to say is finished--and "finished project" is rarley a point I score as a sanguine.

Also finished the plantain balm that I started back in August, which is rather half a point because it should have been tended to weeks ago. I melted beeswax in a double boiler which I had never done before and it smelled WONDERFUL! It wasn't nearly as messy as I thought it would be. Plantain is a very common weed that grows just about everywhere. Here is what it looks like.

anyway you chop it up and put it in olive oil in a clean jar and let it sit like forever in a dark place and then mix it with the beeswax.
It turned out a little smelly but not too bad.

So anyway two projects checked off the list.

Now onto bed.

Monday, October 29, 2007


I am so exited. I downloaded sections of Mozart's Requiem mass from i-tunes for FREEEEEE!!! It is so dark and wonderful and full of pomp. I am loving listening to it with Haloween and All Soul's day right around the bend. Man, I really hope I get to go to a funeral with trumpets, drums and EVERYONE wearing black someday. I like it when the mourning is really out in the open like that. I'd probably be a huge fan of those professional mourners if they were still around.

Sorry if that's a little too morbid for everyone .

On a lighter note Angelica had her fifth birthday today and was delighted with her new wellies, Italian sticker books from Nonna, and finger puppet theatre from her Oma. I am kicking myself because we got pictures of Angelica opening her presents but the most photoworthy moment of the day was Zita in her rainboots and underwear covered in chocolate cake batter licking the cake spoon was missed. Oh well I can't run around with the camera all day. Digital cameras are a rather cruel thing to give to mothers of small children anyway. Rather like catnip. . . . .

Angelica is REALLY into the "Little House" series of books right now and we have just started into the second book. reading a chapter or two before bed at night Quite frequently now her fantasy involves her being Laura and ZIta, baby Carrie. I of course am Ma, Ben, Pa, and Pia is Black Susan, which she is usually less than enthusiastic about.

Well, time for my tea.

Sunday, October 21, 2007


Look at this woman. She is so awesome. She can spin wool and carry her fat little baby's weight with her forhead. I both admire and envy her. And look how happy her baby is!

My forays into spinning have ended before they have begun. I checked out this great book on spinning out only to find out that my wool is mostly unsuitable for spinning because you are only supposed to use certain parts of the fleeces and wash it a very particular way, neither of which I did, but I'm trying to keep a stiff upper lip about it and soldier on. It is still great wool for stuffing all sorts of things with. Bears, dolls, pillows, mattresses, etc.

But as for spinning I shall have to procure some more wool for that particular diversion. . . this project may go on hold for a while since the holidays and the baby both arrive simultaneously this year. The book was a very good read though and it was written by a lady from Evansville Indiana, which should please the Indiana crowd. It is called "The Joy of Spinning." She totally ripped that off from "The Joy of Cooking" people but that's okay. I don't hold it against her because she is so knowelegable about this womanly art.

Oh and picking out pumkins is serious buisness around here.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

As promised. . .

Roasted Red Pepper soup. ( just a tad late in the season but if there are any scraggly red peppers left at the farmers markets or in the gardens feel free to avail youselves--it has been a HOT october after all. . . )

4 red bell peppers
2TBS butter (no substitutions mind you.)
one onion
couple sprigs fresh rosemary (in a pinched dried will do but the flavor of the soup will be less robust)
1 1/4 quarts chicken stock
3TBS tomatoe paste
1/2 cup fresh cream

Okay soupies,

put the red peppers under a broiler until their skins begin to blacken. ( you have to turn them from time to time to make sure they are nicley roasted on all sides.) Then throw them in plastic baggies for twenty minutes.

While you are waiting, chop onions like there is no tomorrow, then go do something like put laundry in the washer or talk to your cat. Okay by now you should have killed twenty minutes.

Go back to your precious babies and take them out of the bag and peel the skins off. Sometimes this is easy, sometimes hard. If they don't all come off, don't sweat it. Chop up the flesh of the peppers and discard, skins, seeds,stems. etc.

Heat butter in the pan until melted and add onion and rosemary and let them cook gently over medium heat about five minutes. (THIS SMELLS SO GOOD!!!!!)
Add peppers and stock and boil about fifteen minutes. Stir in tomatoe paste. Another couple minutes later add cream, salt, pepper, and a dash of paparika. Toss the whole concotion in the blender and blend the hell out of it.

Voila, you are finished. Ladle into bowls.

This soup is even better on the second day and is very delicious with roasted potatoe fries and chicken.

N.B. You can always add more cream, if you like your soups, super creamy.

Also a special thanks to Maria Klassen, the genius who first put this soup recipe in the blender, and Caryisa Powell who first dipped a potatoe fry in it which made my kids think it was super.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Long rambling post. . . (yawn)

Well I have lots of cute photos but they have to wait until I can get Ben to load them properly. . .

We have really been enjoying this October weather and getting ouside more again. The girls and I have seen several cool things outside this fall, Probably the winner was the other day when we noticed that the cat was chasing a praying mantis across the yard. When we chased off the cat, the mantis meandered over to an old rotton applecore in the corner of our yard that some bees were busily eating and proceeded to knock off the bees and eat them one by one. He would put them between his little claws and munch on them like a club sandwich. It was one of the coolest things I have ever seen.

I just realized today that I am seven months along and really only have ten to thirteen more weeks of pregnacy left which seems incredibly short when you throw in Angelica's birthday, Halloween, All Saints, Thanksgiving, Advent and Christmas. Yikes. I still have so much to do, even though I have crossed the following off of my list. (warning-non mothers--very booooorrrring list.)
1. procure wool diaper covers in newborn size (check)
2. learn to play guitar passably to please a five year old (check)
3. procure lambskin (check)
4. procure little wool baby booties (thank you mother-in-law! - also check)
5. learn to knit (check--thank you "stich and bitch"!!!)
6. assemble babyclothing and diapers (check)

now the big still to do list.

1. assemble things for birth--still need to order stupid birth kit
2. sew cloth wipes
3. Christmas presents made or bought or whatever.
4. wash and launder diapers and baby clothes
5. lanolize diaper covers
6. find some decent nursing bras--does such a thing exist ?(sigh!)
7. the YARD!! (ahhhhhhhhh!--tons of scary raking comming!!)
8. find some sort of boxish wooden thing with drawers to put babie's things in.

okay the list is over--read on

I have to say though I am looking forward to Advent already. It is one of my favorite times of the year liturgically speaking. This year my mom sent the girls a really pretty little paper Advent Calendar from Assisi which I can't wait to use. Then of course there is all the other great Advent traditions-- the readings at mass, lighting our advent wreath, singing Veni Emmmanuel, and of course "Comfort, Comfort" !!!!from Isaiah. I asked Ben if we could name the baby Isaiah. He said no, absolutley not. He is still married to "Samuel" which I have to admit I am too. I just like "Comfort, Comfort."--and prophets.

We had a kickin' bonfire over the weekend that was tons of fun. Apple cider, pumkin muffins and lots of good friends. Beth brought me an aloe plant and a drop spindle (which she made) for my birthday! So now I can't wait to learn to spin which will complement knitting nicely. And Clare brought me really yummy italian decaf espresso and burt's bees!!! my fave! --so anyway it was a great time.

Oh and I finally met Tamby! She is great!

I will post the red pepper soup recipe soon for those who have requested it. . . . .

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Midwives check up. . .

Wow I can't believe there are this many mosquitoes around in October. I've been bitten more this past week than the entire summer combined. Well, in any event, they should be dropping like flies with the winds that seem to be blowing in and blowing out the last of this really hot Indian summer.

Jamie and I went to the midwives yesterday up in Charleston, WV. Karen's new apprentice who is the lady with the cute tatoo and the red hair, checked the baby's position and this time he was head down. Yea!! I assumed this was the case ever since last month when I went and he was still kind of breechish and up high and then about a week later he flipped around like three times and it hurt so bad it woke me up. I remember thinking he was probably just getting down to buisness and I guess I was right. My pee stick wasn't perfect--but it was nothing big--just had eaten lots of red meat latley which can change the Ph. I always get slightly annoyed when the pee stick doesn't read perfectly. Its like when you get one stinking multiple choice question wrong on your almost perfect test. Not bad, just annoying.

Anyway, enough on pee-sticks. Afterwards Jamie and I broke with tradition and intstead of congradulating ourselves on healthy pregnancies by cheating and buying our usual creme cheese coconut brownie at "Jumpin Java." we went across the street to the great consignment store that we just discovered that day and had never seen before.

Wow. It had the cutest kid stuff in the world and I could have bought everything in the entire store. I ended up getting three really cute maternity shirts, and the girls, pajamas and raincoats which they have been needing. I bought a sweet little handmade wool sweater in a sort of light mocha color for the new baby and this little red wool vest for Angelica. It was the first time I seriously wished I knew what I was having because some of the stuff I just passed on for lack of foreknowledge. They must get lots of rich people dumping stuff off at this place because the brands were really higher end, for the most part.

Anway it saved me about ten trips to the salvation army which has good stuff at times but you have to go constantly and you NEVER get everything you need on the same day --and usually end up buyng things like food dehydrators, and hand painted fish platters.--which are nice to have but not as useful as raincoats and pajamas.

Wow, was that an A.A. Milne sentance or what.

As for today, it was mostly grocery shopping and cleaning. No mail. . . .rrrr. Perhaps tomorrow.

Monday, October 8, 2007

"A Rainbow at your beck and call. " Christopher Columbus-the musical

Well, I was so exited about how super clean the house was for Ben to get home and then today the weather was so hot that I ended up siting around and doing crafty stuff with the girls, so the house got a little torn apart.

But here is the little "baby Jesus" Angelica wanted to make to match her doll house couple, whom she decided were Mary and Joesph. I ordered the dolls from the Nova Natural catalog years back for her Easter basket just because they were so cute. They ended up sending me a woman dressed in blue with a rather peasantish looking husband. They have remained a very progressive childless couple until now, livin it up in their sweet dollhouse with nary a babe to be seen. Well it was high time we put an end to that nonesense so here is their first offspring. (Angelica wanted the star on the baby's belly because well, it IS baby Jesus, you know. )

Otherwise, it was lovley to have my husband back again. We took our daily stroll to the mailbox together today even though their was no mail because it was Columbus day. I was once in a musical about the life of Christopher Columbus as a sixth-grader, back when people cared about the poor fellow. I can still remember the horrid song I had to sing about "Life at a Loom." --I was Christopher Columbus' sister. Yeah that was a rather lame part. I think I did get to be courtier number five or something too. Oh well, those Kolbe musicals will forvever be comming back to haunt me.

But at least tomorrow there should be tons of mail!!!! Yea!!!

Sunday, October 7, 2007

I almost forgot.

Who could post an enrty about a red panda without a picture? I know. . . . cuteness overload.
Sorry its been a while. Ben has been gone this last week in Indiana visiting his fam and showing Bill around. Beth and her girls stayed with me and there were lots of fun times, wool pickin, and laughs. Angelic got stung by a bee and I fixed the leaky kitchen sink all by myself despite my big belly and was very proud of that. (doesn't the kitchen sink always leak when one's husband is gone. . ?)

Yesterday we took the kids to the mysterious high security animal testing facility oustide Front Royal to show them the freaks of nature that science has created and the goverment spends lots of money keeping safely out of site. . . . . well okay, that's what I always THOUGHT that weird place with all the gates and high fences was. . . turns out it is a Smithsonian research facilities where they breed endangered species and try to work on nature conservation etc. They have a once a year October Conservation Festival where they are open to the public-complete with bluegrass music and a burrito booth---so I guess some of the mystery and intrigue is gone forever.

But the event was fabulous. The kids loved seeing all the booths with stuffed birds, ostrich eggs, etc. We got to see one of the few of a highly endangerd species of furry antlered deer from Asia, lots of cute non endangered bard-rock hens and puddle ducks (don't ask me what they were doing there) and . . . . THE BEST PART. . . . .RED PANDAS!!!!!! Hooray! They were so cute and I have wanted to see one in person so much ever since we saw them in Life of Mammals.

They are even cuter in real life and we were able to get really close and see them drink, eat bamboo and sleep on their tummies. We missed the leapords and the bison, and some other stuff due to time contraint and hungry bellies, but we enjoyed the bluegrass music on the grass during our picnic too.

The best part is the event was not over crowded and definitley did not have that feel of one of those events where you are totally lost in a crowd the whole time. It really was a nice sized event and you also weren't overwhelmed by too many things to do. To boot is was full of ladies with cute babies in Ergo baby carriers which made me drool over them even more. (sigh)

When we got home my Dansko clogs had arrived in the mail that I won on e-bay!!! Yeah! Too bad its 90 degrees outside and too hot to wear them. . .

Today I went to Christendom mass as it was homecoming weekend and it was a good plan with the kiddos being so tired from the day before. Beth and I took the kids to low-water and let them play in the mud and water for a while.

The weirdest part of the river though was that the minute I stepped in the current I felt this huge pull on my belly like a contraction but not quite --- it was so strange. I swear water effects pregnant ladies so much. . . .

Oh and lastly Zita has developed the strangest habit. She has this obsession with ears, which is rather hillarious considering her own were so funny and floppy as a baby. It all started when she was nursing--oh at about eighteen months, she would play with my ear. Well then when she weaned it became her little comfort thing to hold my ears and play with my ear lobes. A few months back she would like to go to sleep that way, holding my ears. She still comes into our bed early in the morning and asks to hold my ears. Well that's not too bad, but now she has started to hold other peoples ears. She tries to do it to Angelica all the time, which drives Angelica nuts. And then this whole weekend she has tried to do it to little Joesph Powell several times. Sbe even told me she likes to hold Daddy's ears. So now she has a full blown fetish with ears.

I always expected to have a child that sucked their thumb, picked their nose, had to have a blanket all the time, wet the bed, but this, I never expected. Its too funny.

Well that's a rather long fill in of the weekend --but there you go. Now I'm going to stay up late tonight waiting for Ben to get in so he can open his package with his new mask that arrived in the mail.