Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Summer Reading

Wow, I'm really taking this "unplugged" thing seriously! We have been busy and it has been good to take a little time away from the computer and spend it with my family. I have also taken the chance to do some summer reading.

These two books were a little present to myself. Flea Market Style by Emily Chalmers has long been on my wish list, but I don't usually splurge on "Eye Candy" type books. I am so glad I did, especially since I found it in a lovely local shop at a good discount. It has made for some day-dreamy afternoons in the garden over an iced tea.

Peter Reinhart's Artisan Breads Every Day, was recommended to me by the owner of the same local shop. I haven't dived in yet to make any thing from it, but the pictures alone have my mouth watering, and reading some of his tips makes me think this might be a good one.

We have taken up travelling downtown every 2 weeks to the Central Library, a grand old brick place with marble stairs and 4 floors of books! I'm a library fanatic from way back, and to this day I experience a happy rush of anticipation upon entering those book filled buildings. The children's room of the Central Library is bigger than the whole of our neighborhood library, so Pony Girl thinks it's pretty great too.

Pictured: Simple Sewing with a French Twist by Celine Dupuy and Savory Baking by Mary Cech

The library is a fantastic way to try out a craft or cookbook before purchasing. I have made some rather good choices this way and not been disappointed. It is also a wonderful place to discover hidden gems!

I am also enjoying an indulgence in magazine gazing lately. Loving Tree Fall's "Princess and the Pea" Doll pattern in issue 16 of Mollie Makes. A local foody mag is good for seasonal dinner ideas. Hmmmm...I think I may be starting to see a pattern in my reading material here.

Last but certainly not least, I ordered Action Pack Family Cooking edition 2012 and we are so excited to get cooking! We are definitely a family that enjoys cooking together and this issue looks fantastic with printable recipe cards!

I love Action Pack! Never heard of it? It is a downloadable magazine for kids (and the rest of the family) No ads, just great stuff! Put together by the multi-talented Kathreen Ricketson of Whip Up, this series of magazines is awesome with a great range of topics! So, if you have kids, grand-kids, nieces, nephews, friends with kids, you should check it out.

So, what are you reading?

Monday, July 16, 2012

Lola Unplugged

Hello there!

Goodness me, where does the time go? I'm having a twinge of vertigo whilst looking at the calendar and realizing it is well past half of July! We finally got the go ahead on Summer with the weather turning golden on the 4th. Since then we have been well and truly Summering. So, I have "unplugged" and busied myself with the great outdoors and some wonderful times with my girl (& The Engineer when he is home from work) during the school break. I have even been so caught up in the doing and living that my camera keeps getting left behind and all I have to show are a few quick snaps from my phone!

There has been a bit of feasting from the garden...

There have been picnics in the park...

A good amount of monkeying around on playgrounds...

A quick pickle here and there...

As well as a not quite so quick bit of pickling...

There have been some super cool experiments...
Magic Ice Orbs created by putting a few drops of food coloring into a balloon, then fill the balloon with some water, tie off and freeze over night. Remove balloon and voila! Super cool!

There was a grand day at the river...

A bit of girly fun...

And a heavenly batch of home made, hand churned blackberry ice cream!

There was also a rousing family water balloon fight in the back yard and I was the winner! Well, if by winning you mean the the one who most resembled a drowned rat. And no, I haven't any photos of that.

So, forgive me if my posts are spotty, my replies and communications iffy for the next little while. This being "unplugged" is just too much fun!

I do hope that wherever you are, no matter the weather, that you too are having a bit of fun!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Just call me Grasshopper: Lessons from a 7 year old Master

About a week ago I posted this to The Twitter:

“Today I am in breathless awe of my child. I learned some really big, truly amazing, & very important things about life thanks to her.”

So true was this thought, so intense was this feeling; that I felt a visceral imperative to write it down and send it ‘out there’.

One of the really big lessons was about trusting myself as a mama, trusting that I know my kid and that we are "in tune" with one another much of the time. The second part of this lesson is trusting her and knowing that when she is allowed to be truly herself, she feels safe and happy and can accomplish great things.

Another very important lesson is this: Yes I Can!

Last week we were a couple of hours away from heading to a play date and Pony Girl turned to me and said, "I want to sew a dress Mama."
"Ok," says I, "Maybe tomorrow we can try."
"No, now! I want to make a dress for my play date."
"Honey, we don't have time, we can't make a dress right now." I reply.
"Yes I can!" She says with absolute certainty.
"I'm sorry honey, we can't."
So she walks up to me, cups my face in her hands and says, "It's o.k. mom, trust me. Yes I can."

And she did!
We made a sketch, chose the fabric, had a plan and just started. She has used my sewing machine only once before to sew a simple square of fabric, but this was a whole dress! I did the ironing parts and she, this amazing kid, sewed every seam, hem, and detail on her dress! Going slow, "It is important to be careful and slow so I make less mistakes." she says. Her concentration is total. I tell her to keep the fabric straight and...and...hover. She tells me, "Mom, I got it, don't worry, relax!"

Why am I so surprised? She told me she could do it, she knew she could do it, and she did. Not only is my crafty mama's heart bursting with pride that my 7 year old made her very first dress, but my lion mama heart wants to show and tell the world what this awesome kid has done! More specifically, I want to show her 1st grade teacher. The one who said she couldn't focus, the one who wanted to wash her hands of her when she couldn't force the results she wanted out of Pony Girl, the one who said she belonged in an alternative placement classroom (I visited 2 of those classrooms) where she so very obviously did not fit the criteria, and the one who made her feel less than.

As I watch her play with her friends, overhear her say, "Sure, I can make you a dress too!" as she walks up to kids on the playground and introduces herself and asks if they want to play...I want to tell that teacher that her tremendous concern over Pony Girl's lack of social skills is entirely unfounded.

See, if you listen to them, if you trust them, if you encourage them, if you let them be themselves, if you can shift your perspective and really see them, if you believe in them - they might just believe in themselves.

Yes, I learned that from her. I keep learning how truly amazing life is, how good it can be despite all of the challenges; how sometimes when we learn how to navigate through some of those challenges, we find out we are the heroes of our own lives.

She is my hero!