Friday, March 20, 2009

Stonyfield Fun

Hello Everyone!

Today being the first official day of spring, I wanted to wish you a Happy Spring Equinox! It was not so long ago that I was wishing you a Happy Winter Solstice, but it sure feels like it was. What a winter here in New England, we had 6 days without power, under layers of ice, snow storm after snow storm to contend with and me VERY tired of shoveling our long driveway over and over. But, here we are on the cusp of rebirth and I for one am singing a happy song! Perhaps one of my favorite enjoyments of spring is seeing the birds returning. I greet each new one I see with a happy "Welcome Back!". My telltale signs of spring include the return of the turkey vulture, red winged black bird and the great blue heron. I know the traditional-sign-of-spring bird is the robin, but see, we have robins that hang around all winter, so for us that's not the case. The other three are my signs, gifts of hope given to me in the time when I need them most. Birds, wonderful little dinosaur offshoots, aren't they?

Little Red and I were officially invited to Stonyfield Farm for a yogurt tasting. This was cool and a lot of fun. We went to their headquarters right here in Londonderry where we were met in the lobby by a life sized cow they have decorated with recycled yogurt container labels. Very cool. I truly love the fact that I can get organic yogurt made right here in my town. It costs a bit more, but is worth it, so yummy. And really, I can't beat local, now can I? We got to taste test 2 different blueberry and two different strawberry flavors and rate them on a bunch of categories. They did not pay me in money, but ohhh, they gave me free yogurt coupons and you know, to a coupon hound like me, that IS money! They also gave me a copy of Gary Hirshberg's book, shown in the above photo. It's autobiographical about how he started Stonyfield and his amazing ability to produce a successful organic product while still being a steward to the planet and making lots of money doing it. Great read if you are interested in companies that are helping the planet along the way. He tells about other businesses that share similar philosophies and I gleened a new appreciation for the companies that are getting it right, even more then I did before. Unfortunately, I had already gotten a copy of this book free when I sent in qualifying yogurt lids. They run LOTS of great promotions sending in yogurt lids. I've gotten the book free, voted for new flavor names, a year's subscription to Organic Gardening Magazine, donated money to my favorite charities and most recently will be getting a year's subscription to Prevention Magazine, cool man.

So, I find myself in possession of an autographed copy of "Stirring It Up: How To Make Money And Save The World". Hmmm...what to do with it?...I decided I would offer it up on the blog here! If there's anyone who'd like to have a hard cover copy of this wonderful book for absolutely FREE, I would love for you to have it. I only ask that when you are done reading it, you pass it along to someone who might find it equally interesting. I've learned a lot from it and would love to have others do the same. The only thing you need to do to win it is impress me with a trivia fact. Something about nature that you think I don't already know (I'm pretty knowledgeable about that passion of mine, so you'll have to really wow me, okay?). This should be fun, don't you think? Pop me an email with the trivia fact and I'll decide who is the winner once I have all the facts in. Okay, so it's a little silly, but I'm always up for new and fun things to learn.

Have yourselves a great day out there, ~Peacemom

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Winter Beach in March

Good Almost-Spring-Morning to You!!

As you can see from the picture, we made it to the beach on Saturday. Now, for those of you not in New Hampshire (where we only have 18 miles of coast anyway), beach days in March can be quite interesting. It was a balmy 54 degrees at the sands that day, but some of the surfers (yes, there are ALWAYS surfers, even in the dead of winter) told me that the water temperature was about 38 degrees. So, as you can see, the boys are in the surf in their winter insulated boots. Maestro got so much water inside his, that 4 days after the fact they are still drying out. When I pulled his boots off at the car, literal streams of water ran out of them. Ugh. But the boys had so much fun laughing and playing in the surf, it was too much of a temptation not to let them get wet. A little cold feet never hurt anyone and they were having a great time. In the above picture, you can see that they are watching a couple of kayakers who were also enjoying the surf. Since their Mommy and Daddy kayak, it was fun for them to watch these crazy diehards. We do ocean kayak, but our boats are 17 feet long, not these little waver skirters. We've got the yacht of kayaks, where the above are the sports cars.

In any case, it was a beautiful day at the beach, because, well, any day at the ocean is better then just about any day anywhere else in my eyes. It was a little hard for the boys to understand why they couldn't put on their swimsuits and dip in the tide pools, which is our usual activity in the summer. Until they felt the water, that is. But they still had a great time playing in the pools with their trucks and a red boat that Little Red is particularly fond of. It has wheels on the bottom and so fills with water, not really sea worthy, but he likes to play with it in the pools just the same.

We then travelled up to Kittery, Maine for a fried clam dinner at Bob's Clam Hut. Usually we really enjoy their fare, but this time, it was good but not outstanding. I think next time we'll look for a different place to try out. We managed to bypass the Kittery Trading Post as pretty much anything new is not in our budget right now. That's a tough one since we really love that place. It just gives you the feeling that you want to be doing all the stuff they sell equipment for. This is where the kayaks were bought and we're hoping to get them back on water this year since we've not put them on since Maestro was multiplying cells in utero. I miss kayaking...ALOT. So, now that the boys are older, we're hoping to have the chance to actually take the boats to the ocean and putt about for a day while they stay home and have some fun adventures of their own with a babysitter (or family member if there's any wanting to help out with that unfulfilled dream!).

It's really tough when you first have young children. Especially when you have them older in life as Music Man and I have. It's a lot of adjustment to go from complete freedom for years, enjoying your many passions, to having to plan every detail down to the nose to just go to the grocery store never mind outdoor adventures. I truly admire the parents who figure that out, being able to just bring the baby everywhere they go. We had two children that were born ill and when that happens, your complete focus is just on getting them well and getting through another day with your sanity intact. Ours were also born a little closer together then we might have planned, but now that they are older, it's a great age gap because they are able to play together well, enjoy the same types of experiences and are best buddies. Just as we always hoped as brothers they would be. So, for these 6 years, we've given up just about all our past times to focus on them solely. I don't advise doing that, to any new parents out there. Keep some of your passions alive and also be prepared to discover passions you never knew existed.

When Maestro was born, he was quite ill and would literally screamingly cry every waking minute of his day (which was literally about 16 hours a day), except when he was eating. He was in constant pain and as a new mother, that was just about impossible to take. To not be able to relieve his suffering, and then to find out that the breast milk he could not tolerate was partly to blame was more then I could handle. I had some pretty serious post partum depression after he was born as well and so all that combined led me to start writing. I would write just to stay sane, to get it all out and to not torture my husband even more then he was being tortured already. Poor man had a crazy wife to come home to in addition to a screaming baby. I still write for many reasons, but I truly enjoy the process of it and it has become another passion for me. It is one that has managed to help also ease the loss of some of the others in my life, like horses and kayaking. Perhaps the kayaking is only on hold since the boats are still in our lives, we're hoping to figure that out this summer.

Well, I'm off on a tangent and just wanted to share some winter adventures, New Hampshire beach lovers style. Spring will officially arrive on Friday and I'm hoping to not have snow so I can barbeque something on the grill. After this picture was taken, two days later, we got 8 more inches of snow and THAT'S spring in New England folks. I keep telling myself that gardening season is just around the corner now.

Salty air and waves to you, ~Peacemom