Jeff, 'H' and I went to 'A's final dance class to watch her dance. It wasn't a formal recital, it was more of a chance for the parents to see what the children are doing in class. 'A' is a sweet girl. She picks out her outfits for each class and will only wear what she wants to wear. So, there she was, dressed in her pink leotard and her pink ballet shoes, following along with the dances. Before class started, she told us she was happy to be at dance class but not happy that people would be watching her dance. During the class, she had a moment that we weren't expecting, but at the same time, we weren't the least bit surprised that it happened. She melted down. At first, I whispered to Jeff that she looked really tired. Then he said that she looked starstruck. Before we knew it, she was running to my arms with tears streaming down her face. She sat on my lap for a bit and watched the other girls dance, and then decided to rejoin the group. After that point, she was fine.

When the class ended we gave her a single rose with a sprig of baby's breath and talked about feeling nervous and about how proud we were that she decided to go back on the stage and have fun dancing. She's looking forward to another 6 week session of dance, complete with another final class where the parents will come to watch. I'll tell you, if I had been in her shoes, I wouldn't have gotten out of my mother's lap and rejoin the group, and I wouldn't have wanted to sign up for another round of classes. I'm so proud of her!

This situation has brought up a topic of discussion for Jeff and me, something that comes up again and again. Parenting styles. How do we parent and help our children navigate these life situations in a way that works for both them and us? How much of the conventional wisdom do we listen to and how much of our inner voice do we listen to? What happens when they are in conflict? What about the times when things happen so fast, when we haven't had a chance to think things through, when we have to react quickly to reassure our children that they're OK, and at the same time help them find their way?

I guess this is where all of the other discussions that Jeff and I have come in handy. We talk (and I think) a lot about how to parent our girls. Most of all, I want them to feel comfortable with who they are. That's easy to say, but how do you get there? I keep that idea of wanting them to accept and be comfortable with themselves in my mind all the time. I try to honor it before I react, before I speak, before I ask them questions, as I answer questions, while I comfort them, and while I am encouraging them to try something new. A lot of times my actions and words will come from that place, and things will flow so well, both between us and within ourselves. Sometimes they don't. Sometimes my own childhood experiences cloud it up, or my mood that moment overrides it. Perhaps my own insecurities that I've cultivated over the years will make that place of love and acceptance just disappear. But it comes back pretty quickly, and I always make an effort to start things over when I'm feeling in tune again.

I think about these things as I watch her cry and run to me in the middle of a performance. And as I watch her experiment with cutting her tights with scissors and then strongly regret doing it when she finds out she can't wear them again. She did that tonight and was so upset that she covered her ears and yelled at me when I tried to talk with her about it. I made some space between us and found that place of love and acceptance, recognized that she is feeling so awful about it that even my neutral words sounded vicious, and decided to just sit and hug her in silence. That healed us.

The rest of these photos are from our trip to the winter farmer's market on Saturday. It's almost March, and pickings are getting slimmer, but we still have a lot of variety. We're still convinced that we can eat local produce all year long and love it.

We had Squasharoni for dinner tonight. My sister introduced us to it and Jeff and I love it. The girls have enjoyed it in the past but for whatever reason decided that they didn't like it tonight. Mmmmmm, it is yummy!
A few notes - I don't bake it, I think it dries out too much that way. I leave out the breadcrumbs and use toasted, crushed ramen noodles instead. Tonight I added 1/4 cup of silken tofu I had on hand and doubled the miso. I blend my squash/tahini/miso mixture in the food processor so it gets nice and smooth and bright orange, just like mac 'n cheese.

12 oz dried elbow macaroni pasta
2-1/2 tbsp olive oil
1-1/2 cups sliced onions
5 cups peeled cubed butternut or buttercup squash (approximately 1 large squash)
1/2 cup water
1 tsp salt, divided
1/3 cup tahini
1 tbsp white miso
1 tbsp umeboshi vinegar
1 tsp tamari
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 tbsp dried parsley
1/2 tbsp dried oregano
3/4 cup dried whole-grain bread crumbs

In a large saucepan, cook the pasta in boiling water until tender but still firm. Drain, rinse, and set aside. In a large, deep ovenproof skillet, heat 1-1/2 tablespoons of the oil and saute the onions for 3 - 5 minutes or until translucent. Add the squash and water and bring to a boil. Add 1/2 teaspoon of the salt. Reduce heat to medium, cover, and cook for 15 - 20 minutes, or until the squash is soft.

Preheat oven to 375F. In a small bowl, stir together the tahini, miso, vinegar, tamari, and remaining salt. Add the tahini mixture to the squash and mix together until creamy. Add the reserved pasta, remaining oil, the walnuts, parsley, and oregano. Top with the bread crumbs and bake for 20 minutes. Serve immediately.

A regular day at our home

Glimpses of today...

:: Tree Pose. 'A' is teaching her wooden model to do yoga. ::

:: Sweet Pea Seeds. The girls made these at the State Park Preschool Naturalists program yesterday. ::

:: These bulbs were a gift from my mother 8 weeks ago. They just emerged from their dark, cold home in our garage. Stay tuned for some spring growth! ::

:: Remnants of the scarf I started 8 years ago and finished this week are ready for little fingers to try some finger knitting. ::

And now two little princesses are waiting for me to apply their nailpolish...

Sewing and cutting

I love that 'A' spends time looking at her sewing project before, during and after working on it. That's one way I know she's ready to undertake a project like this.


Snow! I'm so happy that Grandmother Winter has decided to stop here and spend some time with us.

We're getting ready to go out and play in all of this wonderful snow. It'll be a break from what we've been doing so far this morning: making snowflakes; making maple candy; and playing tag, hide and seek, and musical chairs.

I sent in my name and my check to Denison Farm, the farm we visit every Wednesday in the warmer months to pick up our week's worth of vegetables. The CSA sign ups are still going on. Signing up is a reminder to me that spring really is right around the corner!

playtime today


Some play at home, followed by more play at our local children's museum, then a quick trip to the library, followed by more play at home. What a nice day!

Tonight and tomorrow:

Finally we're getting some of the snow I've been missing all winter! Thank you, DC area, for sending it up here where it belongs!


We've all been visiting - Jeff went to a mountain town with friends for the weekend and I went to see friends in a different mountain town.

Last week I took 'A' to a speech therapist to address her "chewing but not swallowing food" issue. What I learned was incredible. Essentially, she is chewing a few times and then for some reason, either because the food doesn't have enough texture or enough flavor, she unconsciously decides that the morsel in her mouth isn't worth finishing, so it gets left there. It's an oral hyposensitivity issue. As the therapist described it more, it was as if she held up a mirror to me. She was describing me. Suddenly, so much made sense. All those childhood years of not wanting to eat and not liking the food my parents fed me, followed by adult years of trying tastier, more exotic foods, and liking them, made sense. I was labeled a "picky eater" when I was little, and was thought to have had a personality change when I got older and started eating a variety of foods. But you know, in light of the fact that I am probably hyposensitive, I am willing to bet I needed a lot more texture and flavor when I was little. Since I didn't get it, I chose to not eat much instead.

I am so happy that I have a chance to parent someone who is like me! It certainly makes it easier to understand what kind of food she might like to eat.

A few from Friday

Another skirt for 'A's baby

Today's creation is another skirt for baby. This one has a sleeve for an elastic waistband and a hem. Wow, baby sure is lucky to have such a doting mama!

More sewing going on here

Tonight we brought a present to a little boy who recently turned two years old. What do you get a boy who likes to make messes and eat his toys? We thought it would be nice to give him a painting smock and a necklace made of cereal. I used Amy Karol's pattern from Bend the Rules Sewing for the smock, and made the smock reversible, not only for looks but for practical reasons too.

Sewing this smock was so much fun! It was fairly easy but called for some attention to detail and some patience and overall it was a pleasure to make. I lengthened the pattern a bit so he can grow into it. I'll definitely be making these for my girls.

Speaking of sewing, 'A' picked it up yesterday all on her own. I was making the epipen case and she picked up a scrap of fabric and asked if she could sew a dress for her doll. I pinned the fabric and sat her down with a needle and thread and told her to go to it. She has been stitching here and there, first with lacing cards using shoelaces, then on a plastic canvas with a tapestry needle and yarn. She understands how to make stitches, but this was a whole new league for her. After she sat and was thinking about how to start, she said, "Now we have to put holes in the fabric so I can put the needle through." What a logical thought! I sent her to the window and told her to hold the fabric to the light to see all the holes. She understood. She sewed the fabric just where she wanted to and we were both happy to see that it fit her baby perfectly!

I learned a very important lesson watching her sew yesterday. This year she hasn't been in preschool, and next year, the year she would ordinarily go to kindergarten, she'll be home with me instead of in the classroom. Things are going so well, and I trust that our family style is working well for her, but I do have moments when I wonder, "How will I know what she's ready to learn? How will I know she's learning?" I don't use any sort of planned curriculum with her now, and I can't see myself using one next year, either. In my mind, learning happens everyday, during our regular activities. When you don't have a curriculum to follow and you don't rely on a system of evaluation, you're pretty much left with your instincts and intuition to set the path. When she picked up the fabric and asked to make something, figured out how to do it on her own, with no frustration, and then was overjoyed to put her creation to use, I understood at once that she will let me know when she's ready. She sees me sew, and when she was ready to try it, she asked to do it. She does that with everything. When she's ready to learn, she just does it.

When I think about how she is growing and learning, and what my role is, I think a lot about trust. Trusting 'A', trusting my instincts, and trusting the process. It's one thing to think about trust and another thing to actually do it. I'm finding that my ability to trust the process can only come when I have total faith in myself.

Look at this poor old kitty. She's almost 17 years old. She's hanging in OK. Slow and arthritic, but happy.


She may not technically be a baby anymore, but she's still my baby...

We're getting snow today - not a tremendous amount, but enough to satisfy some part of my winter soul. The girls and I took a trip to the library in Saratoga today and as we drove home, I wondered if we would see any more than a flurry. Then, as we got close to home, there it was, coming down like a winter wonderland, beckoning us to come out and play.

Today I got crafty. I love, love, love making things that serve a practical purpose and fill a need. After the whole realization that 'A's epipen is here to stay, I thought about how nice it would be to have a case to carry it in, along with a few doses of Benadryl. Until now, I've been throwing it all into my purse and hoping I can find it when I need it. Now it finally has a home! I wanted something compact, sturdy and attractive. And here it is...

I figured out the pattern and design myself, since I needed it to carry the epipens and have a separate pocket for the Benadryl single dose packets. It's built to last, a good thing, because I have a feeling I'm going to be carrying it around for a long time.

About Me

My name is Jillian. I started this blog as a way to experiment with my camera and it's a become a nice little spot where I enjoy spending time. I'm a mother to 6 and 4 year old daughters, wife to a cool computer guy, and mama to a cuddly cat. We enjoy eating local, organic food; managing several food allergies; homeschooling with love; spending time in nature; and we love to take time each day to be creative. You can also find me over at From Scratch Club from time to time. Welcome!