Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Visit Me At Seeking Joyful Simplicity

I have been devoting all my writing energy to my blog at seekingjoyfulsimplicity

Here I talk about our life:

"We are taking steps to move away from the materialistic life toward a more simple and natural life. I work part-time as a clinical dietitian and writer, and full-time as a homeschooling mom. We dream of a better life in the country, living closer to the land, with a garden, fruit trees, rabbits, chickens, goats, bees. This is where I will share our journey as we take steps every day to move us toward that dream as we learn to live joyfully with less stuff, while creating more of what we need including good wholesome foods, clothing and home crafts. We will be saving our pennies too. There is a lot for me to learn and do, and I will be sharing my successes and failures along the way as we  look for a creative way to live a simple life balancing work, family, and joyful simple living."

You will find recipes for whole foods, personal care products and other home craft projects. And you can participate in our simple life discussions!

Stir fry cabbage and quinoa  

Herbal hair rinse recipe.

Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Moments in our days...

Fifth grade form drawing and Greek pottery...

A busy toddler...

Healthy snacks...

Welcoming spring...
hope you are enjoying your days!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Finishing Saints and Heroes for Second Grade

Sita and I will be finishing up her Saints and Heroes block this week by talking about Saint Francis. This has been a beautiful block, and I wanted to end it well. I have been struggling with Saint Francis, as his story is especially significant to me as a nature and animal lover. I wish I could have learned of him when I was a child.

None of the resources I have come across did a very good job of presenting Saint Francis, his life and his acts of kindness and generosity. They all seemed to be very superficial at best.

I finally found a resource that touched me.

This lovely book, written by Robert Francis Kennedy Junior, and illustrated by Dennis Nolan has been perfect. It emphasizes the qualities of generosity, compassion, and love for all God's creations that Saint Francis inspired.

I presented Saint Francis last evening, as we were preparing for bed. We talked about his life as a child, his mischievous but always generous ways. And we talked about how he learned to care for the poor and the sick. Today we talked about his love of God's beauty in the world, and his relationship with all God's creatures.

We enjoyed the beautiful illustrations and created some of our own.

I must admit, this block has been challenging for me. I was raised Catholic, but my parents left the church for a number of years after a scandal was revealed (financial). My mother only returned to the church after a long absence. Sadly, the saints are not familiar to me, and my spiritual beliefs tend more toward eastern philosophies. But I can appreciate the beauty of these inspiring individuals. Their generosity, compassion, love of God and all mankind, and their courage in the face of prosecution are all worthy values. I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to learn about these individuals, and to share them with my daughter. I look forward to sharing them with Alina, when she reaches the appropriate age.

And I am grateful for Rudolph Steiner and the Waldorf education movement that has brought these powerful and beautiful lessons to me and my family.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Harper's Ferry West Virginia...

...Is a place we enjoy visiting often. Yesterday we enjoyed the longer daylight hours and pleasant weather.

Climbing on the rocks.

Playing by the river.

 Wild spring onions.

View from "Jefferson Rock". According to Thomas Jefferson, the views from here were "worth the trip across the Atlantic."

Jefferson Rock.

Historic downtown, much as it appeared 150 years ago.


As the day ended, we headed home, pleasantly tired from the walking, hiking, climbing and playing.

Monday, March 5, 2012


Was very busy...

Lessons always start with a candle and a verse:
The sun it shines so warm and bright,
It strengthens all I do.
Now let me take this bit of light,
So I shine brightly too.

More Saints and Heroes. Last evening at bed-time I told Sita a little about Mother Teresa's life as a girl, finding her calling in life, and her burning desire to care for the poor. Sita did some writing today. This is the most writing I have required her to do, and she complained some last week. But today she did really well with her summary, capitalization, and she was proud of her writing.

We did a drawing of the earth, since Mother Teresa has inspired people all over the world to care for others.

While Sita was doing her lessons, Sean kept Alina busy.

In addition to lessons for everyone, there was plenty of outside time, a little bit of cooking and a little bit of cleaning. It was a good day.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

One of Those Days...

Last evening my very perceptive husband stopped off on the way home from work to pick up a new bottle of wine for me...

He put it into the freezer for a quick chill, and we promptly went to bed and forgot all about it. Fortunately today was a good day, otherwise I might have been serving myself wine popsicles early this morning.

Yesterday was cold, heavy rains, and my sweet toddler Alina was in a REALLY BAD MOOD. In fact, I was worried about her health, since she was acting so out of character. She spent most of the day upset about little things, in my arms nursing, or clinging to me in tears. No fevers, no runny noses, no rashes or anything else I could see. She just wasn't happy. So I spent the day holding her. Not an easy thing to do, she is a very tall two-year old.

It was hard letting go of everything that I needed and wanted to do yesterday. And yes, I felt more than a little resentful. I didn't have a moment to myself yesterday, I couldn't even poop in peace. (I know, too much information, but you KNOW what I am talking about!) Husband has been particularly stressed at work, and he has the cold I had last week. So he has not been at his best, which makes everything harder for me.

I had a little meltdown last night. You know, where you lock yourself in the bathroom and cry as quietly as you can. Wash your face, blow your nose, and come out trying to look normal?

I did end up with some time to myself last night, even though I stayed up much later than normal. Despite the lack of sleep, I felt much better in the morning.

As for Alina? Turns out, I believe she has a yeast infection. She is much better today, with a little yogurt smoothie in her (thanks to big brother Sean's smoothie expertise), lots of love and attention, and a little bit of medicine as well.

Today the sun is shining and we have temperatures in the 60's. The girls got to play in the mud, and I got to spend some time doing something enjoyable - yard and gardening work.

With a little bit of help.

Meanwhile the wine is defrosting, dinner is all ready, and husband is coming home early today.

The difficult days of being a mother are short and everything changes in time. There will be more days when wine popsicles seem appealing first thing in the morning, but for today, tea and toast started the day.

Dreaming of Spring and Gardens

Spring is coming! And with that comes thoughts of our garden. Last year we started with tearing out our beautiful azaleas, hostas, and rose bushes. I gave them away to make room for our raised bed garden.

Our backyard before our garden.
We then did a lot of work to create raised beds and to amend our poor clay soil. We had a very successful first garden, despite no real plan and a late start. We enjoyed green beans, peppers, strawberries (whatever the squirrels and chipmunks left us!), sweet potatoes, grape tomatoes, squash, cucumbers and tomatoes. Not bad for our tiny town home yard.

I continued to add compost from my indiscreet compost bin...

Lovely compost!

My compost bin.

Look at that lovely black soil.

This year I plan to start earlier for some cool-weather spring crops. I started our lettuce seeds inside today, something I have never grown before.

I spoke to the seeds and asked that they please grow and provide our family with their delicious nutrition.

We shall see.
Springtime is here for sure, I see the signs and I feel the changes in myself as I prepare for longer days, more outside time, and more gardening. Looking forward to a full kitchen of home-grown vegetables and herbs to preserve for next winter.

What's going in your gardens?