Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Refrigerator Pickles

how was your memorial day weekend? i knew it was summer because we drank lemonade made from our lemon tree, ate pickles made from our cucumbers and snacked on yummy sweet green beans. 

I made these refrigerator pickles a bit ago but every time i stared at it in my fridge i was like, this is gunna be nasty...but guess what? they were amazing! i love pleasant surprises....i think because you cook the dill and its all brown and suspicious floating around...but anyway - these were super easy and will definitely be made again...i used a combination from this recipe and this one. I just adjusted it to make only one big jar of pickles using 2 cucumbers. Next time i will write it out...promise!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Sweden on the Brain

A picture I took of Carl Linnaeus' childhood home in Smoland...
(where a part of my family comes from)
I have been busy reading these books....i am just about done with the second one...yesterday the boys and i watched Pippi Longstocking and today i read this post and it made me miss Sweden dearly...

she touches a bit about how Swedes raise their kids, and the Swedish mentality about children...very differently than America...for instance...

  • Many stairwells in Stockholm looked like this (below) ramps built in for strollers and wheelchairs. the city was built with the handicapped and mothers in mind, which i loved. (i know it looks steep like a wheelchair would go flying...but they aren't so steep as they look!)

  • We went to a lot of museums and a lot of famous dead people's houses and it seemed like (i know it wasn't always the case) that in many of them they had specific areas for children. One of my favorite places we visited was the Rottneros Sculpture Garden and inside they had a Pippi playground. We see that at IKEA they have a children's play room as well...very Swedish
  • A lot of the houses (more so in the more rural areas) have separate houses. I asked my Uncle why and he said that when the child becomes a teenager they move in there. ummm...brilliant...sorta...love the idea of a stinky loud teenager in a sorta separate house...dont love the idea of what they can do there...but still - it says a lot about their view on independence and trust and control...Americans tend to make every decision for their kids then slingshot them out into the world and let em figure it out...
  • Spanking is illegal and has been for a long time...when my cousin told me that (he lived with us when he was 17 and i was 12) i was appalled and excited to tell my parents...they calmly explained we live in America now...dern...
  • the legal age of consent is 15...legal age to drink alcohol is 18...which i have to say that in a place with amazing public transportation, i dont mind so much...the drinking...the consent age would not work in America i don't think...
i see a lot of how i was parented and how my parents were parented with a lot of the Swedish mentality and it is neat to be able to know that and decide whether or not to take it or leave it. i love the freedom that the children have - love the sense of cultivating the child and not squashing the spirit. i love that kids are outdoors all the time. i know (like my parents explained) we are not in Sweden...but still...its where the bulk of my lineage is from and a lot of Swedish idylls have been stubbornly handed down..

i so miss it there. i had a wonderful 3 weeks there and saw amazing things and met amazing people. I still need to go back...i still NEED to go here...like soon...definitely on that bucket list!

PS...i know there is a lot of talks about the British Royal Family and the recent wedding...but have you ever seen the Swedish Royal Family? Here they are in all their Royal hotness!

Prince Carl Phillip

Princess Madeleine (she is my little sister's age...almost 29)

Princess Victoria (one year older than me...33)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Okey Dokey Artichokey

Our bloomed artichoke from our old house...see original post here
who doesn't love artichoke? i dont know too many people who don't...especially after trying a stuffed artichoke, but i was just out in our garden and finally i see a wittle teeny artichoke baby bud coming out - so exciting! they take forever to fruit...so in anticipation of future artichokes, i am posting some of our favorite recipes!

Stuffed Artichoke:

Block of Cheese - cut into little squares - about the size of a penny and width of a pencil
Bread Crumbs - about a cup
Artichoke - Medium Size
1 clove garlic
Seasonings - garlic salt, lemon pepper to taste

Cut the stem of the artichoke so that you can stand it up in your steamer (you can steam the stem separately and eat it too!)
*Optional - Cut the top of the artichoke leaves with kitchen shears - its not mandatory, but it looks nicer and is easier for little ones especially to pull out the leaves*
Put the clove of garlic inside the top leaves of the artichoke - it should hold it in pretty well. Steam artichoke for about 45 minutes (depending on the size - it can take up to an hour for larger ones - you know its ready when you pull on a stem and it EASILY comes out)

Set oven for 400 degrees. stuff cheese squares into leaves - i like to put it in just about all the leaves if you can - sprinkle bread crumbs and seasoning

Bake for about 10 minutes in oven or until cheese is melted


Grilled Artichoke
The other way we love it is grilled - you steam it, cut it in half, sprinkle with olive oil and seasonings and grill for about 10 minutes....yum!

Steamed Artichoke
or...you can just steam it and create yummy dipping sauces of course!

Baked Artichoke
or...you can bake it - sprinkle with olive oil and fresh lemon juice and seasonings...and don't forget the garlic stuffed inside - cover with foil, place in a roaster and bake at 425 for an hour and a half!

Also...just missed it...dern! but mark your calendars for next year - the Artichoke Festival in Castroville - i have wanted to check this out for a while...i must make a note to check on dates for next May!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Mid Week Vay-Cay

we work from home. we own and run our business, which has meant for the past *almost* 10 years - no vacations...i mean, we have been able to take long weekends, but we have always carried our business with us - dealing with customer issues in the airport - in line at disneyland - in the hospital the day after the birth of our first child...you get it...anyway - we try to not feel chained, so occasionally we will take a day off mid-week and go somewhere - we have done this locally, but we have also gone off to Catalina, to Santa Barbara, to Disneyland...and a couple weeks ago we made it down to La Jolla.

Bryan's mom was in a tournament and as a last minute kind of thing - we booked a hotel room (using our rewards points...love that!) and were tourists for a day. we took it easy - went down to the cove and said hi to the sea lions and shopped around a bit - went back to the hotel and had room service and hit the spa and put the kiddos to bed.

bryan and i even got to go out after the boys were sleeping and had dessert at a fondue place - it was so nice! i sometimes dread staying overnight places with 3 kids, especially in the same room...we have had some awful nights, but it usually always ends up being worth it - and even easy like this night was (thanks to a special meema helping!)

so fun and the kids loved the hotel and it was nice to not have to clean up for a day! san diego is so close - i sometimes forget it is there, but we must make a point to mid-week vay-cay there more often!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Barnes Boys Fashion - Boots and Baseball Hats

this is a kinda funny true story...the other weekend i went to santa barbara with my best friend. we were walking down state street admiring all the beautiful people and then this "lady" walked by and she was wearing the most bizarre outfit - a sequined top like she was gunna go clubbin' - a (way too tight) mini-skirt that did not match aforementioned top...tennis shoes and a baseball cap. we both furrowed our brows and looked at each other and wondered how someone could leave the house thinking that outfit would be okay. but we both agreed that the baseball hat completed the outfit...

fast forward to this...

i swear...i do not dress Bryson anymore...i pick out Bodie's shirt and pants most days (some days he has a certain shirt he wants to wear...usually kite shirt or charlie brown shirt). but bodie is very particular about his shoes and hat. he loves wearing hats and most days he has one on...which i think is funny...

On Bryson (right)

Shirt - 
Cardigan - American Apparel (He buttoned it himself)
Jeans - H&M
Boots - Cowboy Boots from a Western Store in Modesto
Wobble Goggles - From our trip to see the Imagination Movers
Hat - Its his Little League Team Hat - The River Cats!

On Bodie (left)

Shirt - Circo by Target and Embellished by Sweet B
Jeans - Hand-Me-Downs from H&M
Shoes - Nike
Hat - Target

i love that they have the freedom to dress in cowboy boots and wobble goggles...i love that bryson is excited to pick out an outfit and it makes me happy they are such care-free dressers...because all too soon they will start wanting to dress like all their friends and may lose a little of this imaginary wonderfulness...so i am going to keep documenting their amazing sense of style!

Bodie is studying his big brother's poses and amazing fashion abilities.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Thankful For the Roses

I have been in a sorta crummy mood and I gotta tell you...you can't be too mad if you put some of these on your desk...automatic mood lifters! Today i am going to be grateful for beautiful roses from my garden and a beautiful gardener (aka my husband) who knows how to prune rose bushes so that I can enjoy said roses! See?! Feeling better already!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Bobby Appleseed

I posted earlier last week on the update on Bodie's Pomegranate tree...looking at it over the weekend made me realize that I had another placenta in my freezer...and have had it there for 8 months! yikes! We decided to get an apple tree for Bobby...a Gala Apple Tree to be exact...and I finally got it and planted the placenta recently.

This trip was very memorable for me and it makes sense that he have an Apple tree, since they are ready to harvest around his birthday. (that is also why Bodie got the pomegranate tree).

Bryan made me do all the nasty work since last time he almost fainted. i was totally fine with it all too (this may be TMI but i had to cut it up so it wouldnt kill the roots) i just tried not to think about it all and did a little mental hum while i was doing it...it wasnt until later - bryson got a stick and went over to the pot and told me he was going to find some placenta...i instantly started gagging whilst screaming at him to STOP!! oh gawsh...could you imagine? no...on second thought...don't...wipe that from your brain...happy thoughts!

He seems quite pleased with it. And with all the applesauce and apple gnawing going on I am sure he will be a huge fan! 

Does this diaper make my butt look big? I double-stuffed...ha! 

PS...i also decided to do an apple theme for bobby's birthday (which is 4 months away)...can i tell you how amazing this is? this "planning ahead" business? i already found apple tableclothes on sale...i can start crafts and not feel overwhelmed...i need to do more of this...it is life changing!

Look....Wrestling Already!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Love it! Random Edition

1. i hate pigeons...freakin flyin rats...always have...still do not like Bert from Sesame Street because of it...i think i need this print from Sophie Blackall

2. ugh...i really feel like i need to teach bryson how to tie his shoes before he turns 6...but i rarely buy him shoes with laces...maybe he needs these cool kicks...from Bensimon via Gilt

3. i so...so...so don't need a black dress...but there is this wedding coming up and the dress code is black and white and this dress is oh so cute...and oh so out of my price range...by Alice + Olivia via Gilt

4. OH GOODNESS! How i LOVE this marketing campaign...and how i LOVE my Tom's! Can't wait to see what it is! (Thanks V for the heads up!)

5. i simply can not wait for this show to begin May 26th!!! here is a little video from the BBC version...golly...note to self...i MUST get the BBC version!

6. Speaking of dancing...now that i am taking weekly classes and buying dance gear again for the first time in 14 years...how did i ever live without these tights? they are NOT just for dance...you would fall in love too!

7. i need to write more love notes to my husband! these cards by Seraph are darling!

8. am in love with this song

9. is it possible to have too many "B"s? via Moxiethrift

10. love this picture and love me some lilikoi!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Barnes Boys Fashion - Accessorizing

i was trying to just get the 2 boys...then of course bryan and bobby wanted in on the fun...

on Daddy:

Shirt - H&M
Jeans - H&M
Shoes - Puma
Shirt - American Apparel

On Bodie (left):

Shirt - Sweet B (orig. post click here)
Pants - Sweet B (orig. post with more deets click here)
Boots - Hunter
Headband - Its his "hi-ya" karate headband...actually its mine...but he has stolen it

On Bryson (right)

Pigeon Shirt - Fauna Kids Clothes
Jeans - Osh Kosh
Necklace - Bryson Original (can you see its a ribbon with a thingamabob on it?)
Shoes - Vans

On Bobby:

one piece by Smafolk

see...he gets it from his mama! 

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Imaginary Play and Yogurt Container Thoughts

okay...love this smile! first of all...true smile...not his crazy awkward posed smile...but such genuine excitement. he is holding up a letter he had his teacher write for me at school...which he made an envelope for and asked for a million pieces of tape to tape up...

the letter said, "I Love You Mommy - do you want to go on an Easter egg hunt with me?"

"wow bryson...i sure do...next year...you have already had 5 different Easter egg hunts...i think we can put that to bed...but good try!"

he is also wearing a shield...which he also asked for a million pieces of tape for... and that rolled up piece of paper is his sword. daddy drew that lovely picture on the front...

i love how crazy excited he gets over trash...we have been saving every single container and he brings them to school and they create the coolest stuff with because kids have the best imaginations...i think we have seen yogurt containers be yogurt containers for too many years. he has the amazing gift of being able to picture it as part of a castle...or a bug catcher...or a money tin...or a chandelier...or....or....or...

its why i don't like buying toys for them...its why when i buy toys i like them to evoke the most imagination somehow...its why when we travel i don't like to bring a lot of their stuff - they just end up fighting over it anyway...but just give them a little bit of cardboard and old yogurt containers and they are good to go all afternoon - its truly amazing to me...i know i used to be that way too and it makes me sad i only see yogurt containers...but i think part of the cool thing that parents get to have when they have kids is a second childhood...Disneyland is still cool, but for different reasons - you see it through your kids eyes! Christmas becomes more magical because its up to you to create that magic and that is exciting! You watch them turn recycled paper into shields and swords and you start giving them cool recyclables to turn into cool stuff too...

i want my kids to view their childhood as a little magical...a lot of imagination and a lot of outdoors and i want them to forget those days where mom was so tired she put on cartoons and fell on her face. i know that i for one am in the process of blocking out those days...definitely not magical days :) but seriously - i do want them to use their imaginations for as long as possible...its why i make Zoodies...and it is exactly how i was brought up...which of course was the right way...i mean look at me? *wink* - today's kids spend a lot of time inside and occupy themselves with things that do the imaginary work for them. i know my kids will want to do this to...but as long as i can keep them outside i will! i will until they get too big for me to pick up...which may be any day now for bodie :)

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Garden Update - Placenta Tree in Bloom!

no...it doesn't grow placentas...remember this post? i know Kaci does! Well Bodie's little pomegranate tree is doing so well (by the way - i read that wiki article and did you know that some people think the forbidden fruit from the garden of Eden was a pomegranate, not an apple? fascinating, no?)

last year it gave us one teeny wittle pomegranate and we are thinking this year we may see many more. i think bryan finally got the placement right as far as sun exposure goes. this little guy is doing quite well in his little spot. they don't fruit until late fall, so it may be a while, but we love poms and now that we have our juicer there will hopefully be pom juice a plenty!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Corners of our Home - My Sewing Doo-Dads

I was able to steal away sans kids and meet up with some good friends at a flea market a couple of months ago. i had all kinds of these on my list, and was able to get some of those things...and some things not on the list...and some things that were on my list ended up serving different purposes than i first thought.

like this apple crate...i was originally going to mount it in the boys' room as a shelf. i still intend to do this - i want to put some of their nicer toys up there until bodie is a little less destructive...if that ever indeed happens...hoping hoping hoping...anyway...for now i am using it as a little shelf on top of my sewing cabinet.

my husband in his attempt to organize my *creativity* (which he sees as chaos for some reason) bought me a tool box plastic compartment thingy to store my doo-dads...only problem is that my doo-dads did not all fit in there because some were longer and plus the thing was ugly to look at.so this is my solution for now - a bunch of glass jars - some from the flea market, some re-purposed old strawberry jam jars and pear jears and others...the crate is also from the flea market and the box is one we got on our honeymoon in Bali. holds some things i dont want in a clear container for little eyes and hands to be curious over...some sharp things...

this makes me much happier than the plastic and also more functional! now it just needs some flowers - and now that spring is springing our garden can abide!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Barnes Fashion - Beach Edition

i love seeing all the cute posts lately of chic little girls in their vintage gear...its sad though because i don't often see a lot of boys with style...i thought i would join in the exploitive love and showcase my boys' amazing eyes for design. as you can see, they both dressed themselves (my older son even dressed his favorite frog himself too!) for a day at the beach. i didn't even see what they were wearing until i was putting them in the car and made them pose for me...which, as you can see they were super shy about...

W.Y. the frog is wearing a swimsuit from Old Navy

Bryson (left) is wearing 
shoes and bathing suit from Old Navy
shirt by Sweet B
Tool Belt (courtesy of his babysitter Sarah)

Bodie (right) is wearing 
golfers cap by Kid In The Hat 
San Francisco Shirt - Thrifted
Swimsuit - Old Navy
Rainboots - Hunter

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Corners of our Home - Where we eat!

I love when people show corners of their homes...it has helped me tackle design issues with the approach of "a little here...a little there" and i quite enjoy the pace of that!

This corner has been coming together over the course of the year and 5 months we have lived here. we didn't have a table for a while and then came the need to get one and luckily we found this one at a garage sale in San Jose for $5...i love it! Bryan spray-painted it and may have sanded it...but that is it! steel bottom and wood top and it fits perfect in the little spot...pretty soon we'll need 5 chairs! I love this little corner because we spend so much time here and it is quite comfortable...but also because it mixes a lot of my favorite elements - thrifted, vintage, modern, handmade...a big jumble of ideas that somehow seem to fit together!

1. "Business Man" Mixed Media by Retro Whale
2. "Lets Go Camping Mixed Media by Retro Whale
3. Anka High Chair by Svan
4. Table - Thrifted, Chairs from Target - (uh-oh...don't see them in white...hope there is one in the store!), Placemats from Ikea, Jar from Flea-market and mums from trader joe's :)
5. "B is for..." Prints by Finny and Zook
6. "My Quiet Forest" Print by Ashley Goldberg (i love this print because i feel like it is me in a Max suit)

A Word (Or a few hundred) on Expectations

Yesterday's MOPs was so good. so good. you know when a certain theme in your life has been coming up again and again and then something happens to sum it up and connect the dots? well...that happened.

Our pastor Lou spoke on relationships and Expectations. I capitalize it because they are that heavy. I think that not that long ago i realized that once i give up certain expectations i have i am instantly happier. For me the most recent example was that when Bryson turned 5 I think I somehow for some reason expected him to not whine anymore. ha! like maturity would hit at 5 and he would be cured of all childish behavior. I dont exactly know why i had this expectation...where i got it from...but it was there...and it would come out to him...."Bryson you are FIVE now...you shouldn't be doing this" eeks...that makes my heart hurt that i told him that...i realized (luckily) that every kid is different - there is no magic age...not that i should tolerate whining. we saw this 11 year old kid whining to his mother and saying the most awful things to her and we both were like, "how can we not have a kid like that?" that sounds kinda awful now that i write it out...but i am sure if you are a parent (or especially if you aren't) you have said that at some point "i dont want my kids to turn out like THEM!" i don't know - its not a bad thing i guess - you sometimes need visuals of why you are telling your 5 year old for the 5,687th time that they need to not throw something or to stop talking with your mouth full or to say thank you...you know...you get it!!

anyway...back to expectations. one of the most challenging aspects for me as a mom is the lack of sleep. i love my sleep....love...just to be even more tangential...two true stories: #1) i broke up with a guy in High School for waking me up...he even woke me up with flowers...how crappy am I? My brother warned him, even, "I wouldn't do that if I were you!" he didnt listen and he totally got broken up with...#2) In college my sophomore roommate told people i was a vampire because i would stay out all night and sleep all day (just for a semester i was able to have all afternoon classes...it was amazing)...but now i am a mom and it literally took me 3 years to stop getting mad at my children for waking me up. 3 years. that is a long time to be mad at your kid. i realized even more recently the reason i would get so mad is that i was comparing my kid to "those kids" who slept through the night when their parents brought them home from the hospital. "the kids" who slept from 7-7..."the kids" who told their parents they were tired. "the kids" who enjoyed napping. my first child was from a different planet than "those kids"...he is from planet ENERGY...so the sun maybe...not a planet...

so once i gave up the expectation that i was EVER going to sleep through the night...it was an instant transformation. the nights i did happen to get sleep i was so so so so grateful. the nights where i woke up several times i just chalked it up to paying dues. i seriously can't tell you how big a thing this was for me. 

i remember a speaker at MOPs from a while ago who talked about anger and the things that trigger anger: 1. blocked goals 2. invasion of privacy 3. physical pain 4. unmet expectations and i forget the fifth one...mom do you remember? anyway...this has been good for me because whenever i get in an angry rut (which somehow amazingly happens once a month if you get my period innuendo) i try to force myself to think which of these have been triggered the hardest...its usually #1 or #4...like always one of those...i totally gave up the privacy thing after birthing my first child....and then physical pain went along with that too i guess! but when my goals are blocked i get mad...even if they are silly silly good for not much goals, like writing an email or taking out the trash or something little like that...lately i have been in a BIG rut...namely because of sickness that has invaded my family, changed shape and circled around twice and have made us hermits for almost a month. 

the anger stems from me just before getting sick to thinking that i am finally getting my rhythm back...working out again...sewing again...sleeping again...yeah - i totally have this 3 kid thing down...i am so on track right now, then BAM...here you go - how is this nice gross virus to totally humble you and put you in your place and realize that motherhood is not a stroll up a mesa, its a roller-coaster, so hold on tight!!

and i was angry...for like a week...angry...and then my husband got over me and politely told me that i needed an attitude adjustment...and when i didn't hear him the first time, he told me a little more sternly, no really - you need to snap the fart out of it...so again...i viewed my unmet expectations...i viewed my blocked goals...and there they were...the expectation that things get easier...the unmet goals of all the weight i was going to lose and things i was going to do...just giving it all a voice helps. just speaking the unspoken helps. just speaking it and forgiving yourself and realizing your limitations help.

there is an ongoing inside family joke that is in the form of the 12 step prayer that hung in our bathroom growing up....which now hangs in my bathroom here (why my mom thought this would be an appropriate bathroom hanging is beyond me) "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I can not change, courage to change the things I can and wisdom to know the difference"...oh how i cling to this prayer in my stage of life!! 

facing your limitations...accepting your limitations...and being at peace with that. i so so need more of that. as a mom the biggest disservice you can do is compare yourself needlessly. and we all do it. please stop. please accept things you can not change (i should enter an extension here "with your child"). you will be happier for it...i promise! 

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Garden Update - Spring in Bloom!

my favorite weed ever! this lilikoi (passionfruit) plant found its way into our yard last year...it fruited and we got about 40 lilikois...this year though...holy crow! check it out! the second picture gives you an idea of how much it has overtaken our yard...it is currently making a not so perdy tree quite decorative! it is all around our back trellis and up this tree - amazing! i won't be surprised if we get twice the amount from last year...or more!

I am lucky to know some gals from Hawaii and one of them shared her father's lilikoi sauce and lilikoi jelly recipe with me. i totally botched the sauce (because i didnt read the directions exactly, not because the recipe is no good)...and i liked the jelly, but think i could make it stronger, especially with all the fruit we will be getting it should be amazing! By the way...i get the most random e-mails from strangers that tell me they tried the recipes and it turned out great and asking me about them...i guess there isn't too much on the internet? it makes me laugh a little because i didn't even know what i had growing until i showed a gardener a picture of the bizarre flower on my phone! now i am an expert...gotta love the web!

and here is our cucumbers...2 of them got picked today to make refrigerator pickles...i have never done it before today, so if they are any good i'll share with you what i did...if they are no good, we'll just pretend it never happened, k? kthanks.

and the mystery of the giant citrus tree mystery fruit has been solved this year. they are indeed lemons. just very large, not that tasty lemons...you can't really tell by my horrible photography, but this one is green on the top and yellow on the bottom...like Sprite...but again...not as tasty...

And our bean pole...of course Bryan had to throw some flair in the garden...these beans are so so tasty - i had about 5 of them today and gave some to all the boys to try...if there were more ready i would've eaten them too...i think this is how we get a lot of our raw foods in us...by foraging around and being too lazy to cook...