Rainy Day Cupcakes :)

Image So Sydni found this show on Netflix, DC Cupcakes. that she really likes. I like Cake Boss myself 🙂 So, she and I have been on a cupcake kick. We made our first batch last week, Princess vanilla cupcakes and we made up our own frosting with leftover halves.. Half a tub of chocolate frosting, half a stick of butter, half a cup powder sugar and half a stick/bar of cream cheese. We had so much fun, that we decided to make a monthly edition cupcake. Come on guys, remember we try and entertain ourselves…

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I bought the Wilton 4 piece tip kit last week. The tips weren’t giving me the DC poof I was after, so back I went. I hate spending money, but this was in the name of cupcakes! I bought a sifter too btw, jus sayin’.

We found a recipe that actually is modeled after a cupcake DC has, vanilla/vanilla, that we thought would be perfect for our January cupcake. We also picked up gold and silver sugar toppings, yes I know I splurged. But! I will have those things in my new baking hobby forever.. or until I run out or break something 🙂

ImageYesterday being one of the YUCKIEST days in awhile made it even cozier in our kitchen. The batter was delicious before it even went into the pan so no worries there. Now for my first homemade buttercream. It’s only 3 things. Okay I’m NEVER buying another cake for birthdays again. Let them eat cupcake cakes!! We filled our piping bags and stared down the cooled cakes….

Mind you we, I have been watching YouTube videos for this, Sydni says she already knows. I wanted to try ALL my tips plus some I’ll prolly never get! But we went the 2A round and a 2E? and started having a time! We split them up to decorate, good thing we had two bags this time.

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So far from perfect, we had a great time making these cupcakes!!

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Girl Time..

Even though the holidays do bring about the opportunity to spend more money  than usual, you do get to go out. Things are usually decorated, you just can’t help it, the Christmas feeling. New to this area still! (We don’t get out much) We went to a new place for us and man o man, it was huge. Blakeney Shopping Center is the name, Holy cow. I saw their Facebook page and it had COUPONS on it, you know, the click for offer. I saw one for 20 % off Bath and Body Works, emailed that sucker to myself and Syd and I set off!

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We got out. It just felt good to be with her. This is our first year without Santa and I’m glad. I get to talk to her about Christmas, others and her own. She knows we work and pay for her Christmas. She is learning so much. Way more in tune than I was. She is starting so understand value, something I didn’t get until a couple years ago. I’m so happy with the direction she is going. Don’t mind you, we have our occasional fits, buts for the most part she gets it. Sometimes more than me. We got to walk around and even eat out which is a very special occasion for us at a new place for us Brixx Pizza. It was an awesome time for us both!!

ImageI let her know humility with me instead of hiding it like most American parents. And I would like to think, one day she will grow up to thank me for never having as deep of a footprint as the rest of us 🙂 I tell her up front and honest as much as I can. She knows about bills. We have been tossing around ideas for saving energy and/or money. Things we’ve read on the internet or things she’s heard in school. Yesterday she turns to me.. “You know something else we can do to save money?”, she says. We could be vegetarians because we grow our all food then. With an outlook like that, I can’t be negative. Man I wish I could be more like her.. Just go with the flow.

ImageWe got home and I pulled out the complete manicure set to end a perfect girls day. She had been wanting to go to the nail shop, but I have a feeling she will be getting a nail design kit for Christmas, so we practiced on all our fingers and toes!! We call it.. Snow drops on Santa’s sleigh 😀

Starting a backyard pumptrack today!!

Image Yeah, we’re excited. Enough with the videos.. We have a wooded area behind our neighborhood that has been looking more and more like it wants to be a pump track for me the kids. They are already loving playing in the woods, which I love, but they can’t ride their bikes. Bingo, plus I can practice to get ready for some serious shredding.. Sorry, that was definitely a joke. We went out yesterday and kind of mapped the rough estimate. There is lots of open clay patches and a small hill already.

I’ll up date you guys tomorrow with progress and pictures!!Image

Playful days, you know, I got a lot of memories…

Image We spent this weekend helping the kids build a fort out in the woods behind our neighborhood. My permaculture zones 4 and 5, mind you 🙂 It stated as a foraging trip for some fire wood to burn in the pit that night. We’ve been encouraging the children to play outside more and more, out there is fine. I grew up in the deep woods. They had pretty tight boundaries back there and were loving it.

Then the boys saw the perfect place for a clubhouse. I can’t tell you how happy it made me to see these XBOX addicted boys having so much fun designing the perfect spot. I mean it’s not unfathomable, we did stuff like this every day as kids. But, unfortunately, these aren’t those kids. Technology rules their domain. They are the ones I worry about off grid. Not just off grid, but life in general. How are they supposed to have an imagination if it is always given to them with superb graphics in the latest video game. It’s hard to complete with that sometimes. The oldest prefers the artificial world. He even talks about it like it’s real life.. “Well, in Minecraft I built this or found this.. That’s just like in Minecraft, where I found..” What the…

So it was a great feeling to see not just our kids, but our whole section of the neighborhood kids, back at the ‘clubhouse’. Everybody was pumped about who’s spot was who’s, dragging up different pieces of the clubhouse. It was imagination at it’s finest! So the next weekend you can, take your kids or just yourself and hit the woods if you have any. Let your imagination go wild and make you a sacred space, encourage your children to do the same. Take in the fresh air and the laughter you are bound to hear 😀

This is my American dream…

Image I mean think about it. Wake up with the sun, crawl into your custom breakfast nook to enjoy the kiss of sunrise. Think to yourself.. What do I want to do today. Get rid of the have to. We don’t have to grind away at a corporation setting to have things, nice things. We just have to change our perception.

Remember in school, where they ask you to take out a sheet of paper and write where you want to be in five years.. ten years.. Every year it changed, so why was it so important to push specific goals? For me to realize later, I failed them all in some way or another. I remember my 8th grade ten year was to be married to Buck Cargile, well that didn’t happen. Neither did I become a veterinarian, nurse, astronaut and I’m pretty sure the first female President floated around through elementary school. What’s the point? What if our teachers didn’t ask for specific goals, just directions. Maybe write out our favorite hobbies over a few years span, collect them and let us explore the options that have appealed to us best.

I think its more important to lean towards behavior rather than strict goals. If focus is put towards good behavior and open direction, we could have several places we could end up and that would be perfectly fine. I want to look more into ‘unschooling’. When we get our place, I would like to unschool Sydni. Let Nature be her guide. Giving her questions and answers at the same time. I picture us going through out our day making observations and talking about it. Going to the library to look further into things we had questions about. Just this time together, outside of four walls, will be beneficial to us both. Working in the garden together, talking about the principles of things without it seeming like a drill, working out the details of the house. Letting her see that we built our house, we own it, not the bank. We are free to do as we please with our time due to the simple way we live and that is true riches.

Phone free? Are we ready??

ImageI went on a trip this past weekend phone free. Partly an experiment, mostly because I didn’t pay the bill on time and was mad at myself. Who needs a stupid cell phone anyway, right? I had actually thought about not going because I wouldn’t have a phone on the road. How stupid.. I don’t remember the road trips of my youth involving my mom on her phone half the trip with my aunt Susan checking us all in on Facebook every stop we made. I will make this trip an adventure. So the night before I Google the directions from the invitation, checked them twice and printed them out.

Check mark there.. What else did I need..? I had been thinking through all of my younger trips, mostly to Florida with us practically living on the Ga/Fla line.There were all these call boxes on the side of the interstate in case you broke down and needed help. I remembered seeing the same signs for the roadside service throughout South Carolina. Allright! Feeling better about not having the phone. I had directions, call boxes for the time I would be in SC and Michael reminded me to find a payphone if I needed it. I was smart enough to write down important numbers because I didn’t know them by heart anymore :c

Here we go!! I noticed right off I paid better attention to all of my surroundings.. Other cars, road signs, my own car.. No navigation means I didn’t know how many feet until my next turn. And you know, it really did feel good not knowing, telling Sydni we will be there when we get there. I knew about how long each leg of the trip was, so I took comfort in just driving.

First bad sign of not having a cellphone… The call ‘boxes’ I remembered from Florida weren’t in South Carolina. I knew I had seen the entering/leaving SC-DOT assistance zone or whatever it said, but I didn’t remember the boxes. Well, it’s because they are not there. The sign directs you to dial *HP from your cellphone. Not getting bad discouraged(thankfully I wasn’t in need at the time), but I thought, wow, how inconvenient for people who didn’t have a cell phone in their hand for whatever reason. Say they have the best coverage plan in the world, but if they have a dead battery and a dead car, they won’t be dialing *HP either.

So on trucking we go, following our Google directions to Milledgeville. This is where we ‘arrive’ in the middle of 441. Definitely not my aunt’s house. Not good. Still not panicking, this is an adventure, remember? I decide to head back towards down town to try and located a pay phone or directions. My aunt lives really close to a power station. If someone could point me there, I would know where I was.

Two major things different from my younger trips when we would occasionally get lost and needed a little help. There are no payphones left in that part of Georgia and most stores you stop at.. if they speak English enough to understand, very rarely can you get good directions.

The third store we stop at, I get the nerve up to ask a lady leaving the inside of the store to pump her gas. Between her and the man parked next to her, they proceeded to tell me where to go. The guy even wrote it all down on a napkin. Trucking again with our napkin and a bucket load of hope, we follow our directions til TA-DA we see the smoke stack of the power station within 10 minutes. At this point I know where I am and get right to my aunt’s with no problem!

The way home wasn’t bad at all. Sydni and I talked most of the way. She told me stories, we made up some together and just laughed. I wasn’t endangering anyone with talking or trying to text while driving which is always a plus! Though the concern of breaking down with no communication won, with us turning my phone back on when I got home, it really got me wondering, even if we were ready to go back to no cell phones.. Has the world changed so much that things would be that different? Is it really more dangerous to travel without a phone these days? Things are different. No pay phones at every store with a friendly clerk who could point you in the right direction.

I dunno.. Food for thought…

Lie to Me: Five Lies I’m Proud of Telling My Kids

Love his Daddy advice 🙂

Daddy Drinks

Parents lie to their children. That’s a fact of life. Some do it better than others, but we all do it. Could you imagine a world where parents were honest with their kids?

“Actually, Timmy, there’s a really, really good chance that you won’t be an astronaut. Considering your complete inability to understand long division, you’re probably going to sell cars when you grow up. Now let’s talk about Santa Claus.”

So we lie. Mostly about the little things. My parents were great at it. The most famous lie my parents ever told their kids happened during a move from Georgia to Texas. My parents told their kids that it was against the law to transport a dog across state lines.

Brilliant. The dog was a pain in the ass, they didn’t want to take him along. I understand this now, and it serves as inspiration for my own suite…

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An Autumn Breeze..

It’s starting to feel like Fall. Cooler mornings just make my coffee taste better. We have been walking Sydni to the bus stop every morning instead of driving. We live at the end of the cul-de-sac, so lately we all set out for the stop sign. Gives us time to talk, stretch our legs, take some deep breaths.. you know, real hippie stuff 😉 Our mornings have been way smoother because now our nights are way smoother. We finish the night together in her bed reading one last story. I try to let her read one on the couch, just so she doesn’t associate reading with wanting to go to sleep, ya know? And at the end of her second story, I’m usually finishing it and she’s yawning. Perfect. I tuck her in and it’s done! No whining about not getting to watch a movie or anything on Netflix. I didn’t take it away, I just limited the amount of time, at a certain time. When she gets out of her bath, she may watch whatever she chooses until 8:00 p.m. She also is learning her bath time influences that time slot, she has to make the nightly choice.. Play a little longer in the bath or watch an episode of Good Luck Charlie.. I going to smile in this small success moment 🙂

We finished our last succession of planting for Brussels sprouts, arugula, spinach, romaine and a salad mix. My container carrots are starting to show sprouts, we’ll see how they do.. Tricky seeds. They did awesome in that same container this spring!! Instead of mums, hopefully my front stoop will hold carrot tops!! Two more weeks before we drop the alliums. WE are trying some potatoes this Fall to see their success. Some red potatoes(my favorite) and a new variety gifted to us. Russian Fingerling potatoes. They sure are funky looking tots!! All I know is when they are chunked up with a mince garlic clove and some diced onion brushed with olive oil and roasted.. Slap your mama right there! We do the same with the Brussels, sometimes chunked together with your potatoes on same baking sheet.

We are harvesting okra, cowpeas and assorted peppers daily. I will put a set of cayenne peppers in the dehydrator today, to grind into powder next week. (Ground pepper, onion, garlic, etc.. in cute jars makes GREAT gifts, especially from an organic garden) We got tired of okra, so thank goodness the peas started maturing!! We ate our first helping two night ago. It was fantastic. The food and the feeling that came with it.

As we are getting ready for Fall, getting our garden ready for a new season, it gives me time to reflect on all we have accomplished this season. Sometimes in the midst of replacing one done plant with another about to begin, you realize you are ending a whole season. I’m pulling up a Roma I started the seed for January 1st, the bell peppers I’m still pulling from I started the same day. It’s incredible how far we’ve come, how much we’ve learned from others, from our earth and from our plants. The deepened respect I have for my Mother Earth every time I see a sprout come up, every time I pull food off a plant I planted to feed my family. It is absolutely empowering.

We are learning plant diversity, rotation and companion planting to eliminate more chances for diseases or pest infestations with out the use of harsh chemicals.

We are learning things are things and are different than happiness. We are opening up to let our lives be redefined by our own means, not society’s.

Live simply, breathe deeply and smile often..