Thursday, October 30, 2008

the stuff of life

I'm so behind! I've been busy being out and about taking pictures of the changing colors,

attending weddings, putting the finishing touches on my Halloween costume, carving pumpkins, and cooking, cooking, cooking.

My poor family. I think they've about had it with my soups. Seriously, in the past week or two, I have made Mushroom Barley Soup, Roasted Butternut Squash Soup (thank you Alicia, it was so delicious!), Vegetarian Chili, Creamy Potato and Kielbasa Soup, and Lentil Soup (ok, ok that was from a can, but I still subjected my family to it!). But, to my credit, they have each been cozy, yummy, and satisfying... in my opinion, all the things an autumn meal should be!

Tonight I couldn't bear to cook another meal. I was totally spent, so we went out here for a slice instead, which was great. A band was playing in the lounge, and Addison was completely enthralled by the music. He always is when we see someone playing live, particularly if there is a guitar. In fact, it has been his focus and obsession as of late.

A friend of ours gave us this toy ukelele and every day Addison puts music in his stereo -- usually his favorite, John Mayer-- and rocks out.

Then I brought out the big guns.

He was ecstatic.

And Addison, I couldn't be prouder of you, because I know you are going to make it big someday. In whatever you choose to do.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

amazing prints

I adore these prints, recently released in Ashley G and Drew's Etsy shop (of the cute blog, Kitty Genius). Oh the dots! Wouldn't they brighten up your home this winter? Or any time of year for that matter?

Monday, October 27, 2008

# 11: Photobooth at the Ace Hotel

Accomplished! Aren't we nerds?

I was in heaven....

Why? Because I got permission from my dear, sweet husband to buy. these. shoes.

And I did. And I wore them, and my feet hurt. But dang, I looked good.

It was a great weekend, and ended way too soon. And, I even managed to accomplish one of the things on the list I made way back when... Can you guess which one? (I'll post the results of my mission: accomplished tonight!)

How was your weekend?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


We are so lucky here in Portland to have farms all around the city for year-round weekend trips to pick berries, flowers, and enjoy fresh local produce, outdoor concerts, witness beautiful weddings, and families enjoying each other's company.

This past weekend it was my own family enjoying one another and bringing home varieties of squash, apples, avocados, pickled beans, cider, and of course, pumpkins for carving.

third year at the pumpkin patch

We enjoyed a little tour of the farm animals doing their signature barnyard performances right before our very eyes, like pages from a storybook.


But I think my favorite part of the trip was capturing little bits of magic with the camera,

about to fly

and watching others do the same.

photographers everywhere

I love having this blog and sharing bits of my life with you all. Thank you for all your comments and encouragement (and tips!) during these first two months!


birdie, birdie where is your nest?

Oh, I am loving this idea from Molly over at A Foothill Home Companion!!

Little birds with the cute little wire feet have always been my favorite kind of Christmas tree ornament, so I think I'll be making a few this year!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

I've been tagged! Here's me...

long shadows

Sweet Senacia tagged me for a little meme.

Seven little known facts about me!
  1. I was a mother before I could legally drive a car.
  2. I could eat an avocado every day of my life and never tire of them!
  3. I was born in small mining town in Idaho and I've never been back since we moved away when I was an infant.
  4. An estimated 90% of my wardrobe was either thrifted, free, given to me as a gift or hand-me-down, or purchased at a very deep discount.
  5. Since I was a little girl, the only thing I've ever really wanted to be was an artist... or Jane Goodall.
  6. I have color-graphemic synesthesia
  7. I love to cook, as long as I don't have to measure anything precisely.

Thanks Senacia!

Friday, October 17, 2008

My path

Shari, over at The Glass Doorknob, is doing a cool "week of paths."

Here's mine:
For Shari's "A week of paths"

My daily trek to pick my son up from daycare is in one of the loveliest neighborhoods in Portland (at least in my opinion). Its not pretentious, pricey, or urban. In fact, you could easily forget that you are in the city at all in this little area. The yards are oversized and unfenced, there are no curbs or sidewalks, and many of the houses look like they could house Anne Shirley's neighbors on Prince Edward Island. I long to buy a house there and live out my dreams...

Maybe someday in the future I'll make the daily trek here to my cozy home...

Halloween through the years: Part 1

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays.

For one, I adore costume parties, because I love seeing the creative ways people have put together costumes. You learn a lot about people by the way they dress up. Did they dress up in something totally off the wall? sexy? completely and unabashedly inappropriate? Did they hand stitch their costume to make something authentic, or did they buy it off the rack in a plastic package? And then there are those that make the minimum effort and have a hat. And that is all. Party poopers.

I thought it might be fun to share with you some costumes I've worn over the years!

Here I am at about age 4, dressed up like a ballerina. I love how my mom did my blush in circle shapes! That's my sister, Julie, next to me.
Halloween 1984? 1985?

Me at my first grade Halloween party at school. My mom and brother Adam (the clown, there), came to celebrate.
Ballerina in 1986
Notes: Look at the cute robot behind me! And, look at the mass amounts of sugar, even in addition to the candy! Also, I love how my little bro is checking out my cupcake....

Here we are in 1988 (I think). I'm a princess this year, Adam is a pig, and Julie's a ghoul of some sort. I'm sensing a theme here where I do something extremely girly that involves wearing "grown up" makeup, while Adam is something lighthearted and funny, and Julie goes for scary.
Halloween 1988

1993. These are getting more embarassing as we go along. Though I guess 1993 was probably an embarrassing year for everyone. I'm a "hippie" and Adam is somebody from the notorious Mortal Kombat video game.
Hippie in 1993

Oh man.

More later. That's all I can stomach for now!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Have you heard them?

It's only a matter of time before this amazing Portland band, Blind Pilot, makes it big. I have been listening to them non.stop. for about a week. Some music just makes me feel like I am newly in love. These guys do it. Swoon.

Sadly, I missed their performance at one of my favorite venues in Portland, since I only heard about them the week afterward. Right now they are on a West Coast tour, from Bellingham, WA to San Diego, CA in which they travel by bike.... Could I love them any more?

Thursday, October 9, 2008

The $10 Dinner Challenge: Chicken Noodle Soup

I don't have money invested in the stock market, and I'm not getting ready to retire anytime in the next 30 years, but I think we all agree that the past few days on Wall Street have been a little scary to watch.

But, while I don't have control over the big picture, I can still make a healthy meal for my family on a small budget and keep a few dollars in the bank. So, I'm taking on Stefania's $10 Dinner Challenge. But, I really didn't want to sacrifice quality. I try to shop at sustainable and responsible stores, and I didn't want to make an exception for the challenge. So, I priced all these items out at New Seasons, the local natural foods stores we have here in Portland, Oregon.

So here it is: Natural and Mostly Organic Chicken Noodle Soup for under $10

2 quarts chicken broth (Natural, Free-Range Pacific Foods) - $2.50
2 onions (organic yellow) - $1.90
2 carrots (organic) - $0.65
2 celery ribs (organic) - $0.40
1 Bay Leaf (I couldn't find a price, but in bulk, the cost should be teeny) let's say $0.05
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley (fresh from my garden) - free!
4 oz pasta (bulk elbow macaroni) - $0.25
1 chicken breast, poached (free-range, no hormones) - $3.00

1. In a soup pot of large saucepan over medium heat, combine the broth with the onions, carrots, and celery. Add the bay leaf and bring to a boil. Simmer until the vegetables are tender, 15 minutes.

2. Finely chop the cooked chicken. Add to the pot along with the parsley.

3. Meanwhile, cook the noodles according to package directions. Add noodles to each serving. Remove the bay leaf before serving.

Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Total Spent: $8.75
I even have enough left to buy a loaf of french bread from the deli! (Though not at New Seasons prices. Probably at Fred Meyer's.) And, technically, since this recipe serves 6 to 8, I would have been granted a budget of $15.00 and could probably go ahead and get a loaf at New Seasons anyway.

I wish I had taken a picture of our dinner when I made this meal the other night, though a picture wouldn't have told you how simple this was to make and how absolutely delicious it was.
Plus, it was warm, my toddler loved it, and it nursed our colds.

Gosh, who needs financial analysts when this Chicken Noodle Soup can solve all your problems?

Tuesday, October 7, 2008



I've been out of sorts ever since I came back from Mexico. It's been two weeks, but I can't quite figure out if it's post-vacation sluggishness, the cold and rain, the crazy busy pace at work, the air of panic across the media, my toddler's sudden jump into extreme independence, the mild cold I'm fighting, or the absence of my husband while he's been on a rare business trip.

Whatever it is, I'm ready to snap out of it. But until I do, its nice to escape and see the world through the eyes of all you lovely bloggers.

This post from Shari is some of the most delicious writing. Ever.

Stefania encourages me to save a few more bucks.

Have you laughed your face off over at CakeWrecks yet? You won't be sorry.

And oh how I adore this idea.


Also, having a 2 year-old is always good entertainment. Tonight the topic was "How Babies Get Into Mommies' Tummies" (No, I am not pregnant, dear mother-in-law).

Addison: You have a baby in your tummy? (This is a common question around here)

Me: No. Do you think I should have a baby in my tummy?

Addison: Yeah.

Me: How do you think a baby gets in there?

Addison: Through the hole in your tummy (points to my belly button)

Me: And where do I get the baby to put in my tummy?

Addison: At Fred Meyer.

Me: Oh! And how long do you think the baby should stay in there?

Addison: Ummmm, five years...... actually, ten days.

Oh change, are you around the corner?

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Autumn, I love you.

I adore this pairing of photos that Joanna posted yesterday!

The colors are delicious!

Today, I can finally see the evidence of autumn's arrival... rain, falling leaves, cold weather, and everything in my house expanding due to the moisture (from dresser drawers to puzzle pieces!).
I think I'm finally ready.

Things I love about autumn:
  • getting cozy
  • cooking with hearty, harvesty foods and making soups, breads, and slow cooked meals
  • heavy blankets at night
  • Halloween!!! (I adore costume parties... why don't they happen more often?)
  • This pumpkin patch, complete with corn, hot cider, popcorn balls, pie, and the Maze!!
What do you love?

Thursday, October 2, 2008

And now for something real....

I work at a truly amazing organization. I made a silent promise to myself that I would not blog about my work, but this topic transcends the day to day of my workplace and really isn't about my day to day job at all.

I work at a non-profit that is in the "business" of helping children, human beings, to become healthy, whole people as they grow up among extremely difficult family circumstances and within impoverished neighborhoods. I work with amazing individuals who have made this their life's work and who come to the office every day with wisdom, courage, tenacity, patience, a sense of humor, and a story to share. And, we all come from very different walks of life. Then again, don't we all -- every single one of us?

Today was the first of a 2-day staff retreat, and the topic up for discussion was diversity. I learned so much, and felt a wave of truth and good intention and humanity swirling through the room as we all discussed difficult topics. I feel so honored to work somewhere that facilitates this kind of real human interaction and creates a safe space to take on some of the tough stuff. Diversity is such an important topic, and our discussion impacted me so much that I want to share a little bit with you. Its complex, but I hope it comes through ok over my blog...

Can I tell you a little bit about something called The Human Value and Goodness Approach? It goes a little something like this...


We have a tendency to categorize people as good people or bad people. This sets up a false dichotomy in which we take sides against each other, requiring the elimination of one side. (One mild example: If we place a lot of value on eating good, wholesome and nutritious foods, we may look at those who eat at, and take their children to eat at fast food restaurants on a regular basis as bad people.) This approach is less effective.

A more effective approach:
See all people as having value and on a continuum together, some with more awareness than ourselves and others with less. No one being completely bigoted or aware. We can give a hand to those with less information than we have and receive help from those with more.

Less Effective:
Human Behavior = Human Worth

We have a tendency to equate human behavior with human worth. In this model, our value as people is associated with how we behave. If we behave well we are good people. If we behave badly we are bad people.

More Effective:
Human Behavior does NOT = Human Worth

Human Worth --> All Humans Have Value

Human Behavior --> Based on Conditioning, May Be Good or Bad

In this model, our behavior does not impact our positive value as humans. Our behavior is reflective of our conditioning, and it is appropriate to evaluate behavior, but outside of the context of human worth and value.


There is a lifetime that can be said about this topic, and many have dedicated their lives to it. But rather than me talk at you about it on my blog, I just wanted to share it with you so you can think about what it means in your life, if you'd like to. It's powerful, and challenges all of us to come from a place of love when interacting with one another.

My next post will have some lighter, fun stuff in it. But I hope you enjoyed this meaty post too! Thanks for sticking with me...