Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Hello All,

I am needing a good dose of spring, it's raining, blustery and just plain blah outside today. The boys are on vacation this week and it's been a combination of beautiful, warm, cold, windy, snowing and raining. They have been playing cars...all day....almost every day. Music Man and I have no complaints, they've been really playing well and having fun with each other with minimal fighting all week. Not having extra cash in the budget right now, it put a big kabosh on the fun plans I had for the week prior to a month ago and unemployment. So, we're very thankful that they've made the best of the situation for themselves.

Earlier this week, some of their cousins came over for a fun day of sliding. It was marvelous out the day they came, sunny and really warm. They had a fun time, and the boys always love hanging out with them. They are considerably older then our boys, but always include them in the fun and make sure that they are taken care of and having lots of laughs. After sliding in the warm sun produced wet clothes, they went in the house and enjoyed an impromptu game of hide and seek. I have to wonder how bad the dust bunnies were under our bed when I went into our room later that night to find some of the stuff under the bed had been moved. Brave children, those dust bunnies are fiercely protective of their underworld! All in all a very fun visit and a nice chance to catch up with my sister-in-law, enjoying a lovely afternoon together.

And, it got me that much more wanting spring to spring. I'm ready. It's not been that cold of a winter here thus far, but it has felt long. Last year was the first year since moving to NH in 1978 that I can see why people leave to go somewhere warmer for the winter...6 days without power last winter tipped some kind of scale for me and I can now understand the charms of not having to deal with that, or shoveling, or constantly feeling cold for months on end. I don't leave to warm up in an office building, I'm here in the cold all the time. We keep the heat on a constant 58 degrees (unless we have company coming over that is, we do turn it up for company). So, you never really lose the chill here are home. I'm ever amazed at how the boys can walk around with no socks on our hardwood floors, with one layer of clothes on and be comfortable. Meanwhile , I'm under long johns, wool socks, sweater and/or fleece. Craziness.

I posted this picture today purely to cheer myself up. I hope you enjoy it. The whole taking-a- picture-a-day thing sort of feel apart about a week and a half ago when I had some not so great things happen and had what I could do to keep it together. So, perhaps March will bring that project to reality, it remains to be seen. Until then, please enjoy some of the archive photos I've got to show. This is a beautiful flower, not sure what, taken last summer at the Olson House in Cushing, Maine. You Andrew Wyeth fans will recognize the name, and of course so will my parents, as it's their hometown now.

Peace and the whisper of spring breezes to you, ~Peacemom

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Today, it's enough for me that I was able to sit in the sun on our front porch (albeit wrapped in a blanket) and enjoy the chickadees that came to say hello. It's got me wanting spring in the worst, gardener-missing-her-soil kind of way. Someday soon, spring will have sprung and I will be digging in the dirt again. Been a lot of digging in the dirt already this month in a metaphorical sense for me. Now I'm ready to scrub the bits of compost from under my nails.
Gardening is a good kind of dirty, honest, and filled with purpose and sore muscles. Yep, looking forward to what a garden in our new place brings our way.
Wishing you chickadee-dee-dees of your own today, ~Peacemom

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Pinewood Derby Preparations

This picture that's the day in the life of Moi yesterday was Pinewood Derby car construction. This is Music Man and Maestro painting the car that will be speeding down the raceway tomorrow at the Pack Meeting. Maestro loves Cub Scouts, and I think he is getting a lot of fun out of it as well. It's a nice activity they can all do together one evening a week. They take Little Red even though he's not old enough to participate in things yet. A bunch of activities actually do allow siblings, so he gets to do some things. He can't wait to be old enough to dig in there himself.

As you can see, Maestro's car started out with the blue and green stripes and red sides. Then he got the inspiration to paint it like his favorite Formula 1 team and make it Ferrari red. Tonight as I type this they are down in the basement and the work bench (with Little Red POUNDING on the drums next to them) putting flames and numbers on it. I can't wait to see the finished product!

This morning I went to breakfast with a new friend of mine. Her son is Maestro's classmate, as well as his pack mate for Scouts. It feels really good to be making friends in our new town. I spent about 3 solid months very lonely, and decided that was my own doing if I didn't make the effort to get to know people. So, we ended up at a birthday party together for our son's friend and talked the whole three hours we were there. I took a shot at seeing if she wanted to get together for tea. We met at the little restaurant here in town and spent an enjoyable time getting to know a little more about each other's lives. And today we did the same. She's very down to earth and though we don't share any political persuasions, we do seem to have some things in common. And we can laugh together at each other's children's antics, and that's a nice way to share with someone. Laughing is always tops on my preferred friendship activities, so was very happy to discover that was something we could give each other. It was also a relief to put the stress of worrying about the future job situation away for an hour and just chat and laugh, really nice relief. Plus, it's always fun to get to know other people's stories and thoughts. I enjoy that, and clicking with a person on a friend level is great as well. She did recruit me to help out with the book fair in a couple of weeks, so that will be fun, too.

I hear that I'm needed for applause for the completed Pinewood Derby car (and I'm gonna suggest he name it something besides that!), so I'll end here.

Wishing you flames and numbers in your own little racing adventures, ~Peacemom

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


Tuesdays are very busy days for me. I have to actually go into the office to do my job, and I don't see as much of the boys as I do other days. It can be a nice break for all of us, or a stressful time full of too much to do in too few hours. Today, with Music Man home, I had a good day with some help. I managed to get Little Red registered for kindergarten in the fall, picked Maestro up at school, and had a nice relaxing evening with my guys. Today's picture is a reflection of our evening together...lovely warm fire, relaxing quiet time and Maestro enthralling us with his latest mystery, which he's reading out loud to us all. This is a tome called "Dial M For Mongoose" by Bruce Hale. It's really pretty funny, if you're looking for a good read for a cold winter evening. I've been introducing him to the world of "whodunnits" since that's a common bond we share. We both love a good mystery.
Wishing you peaceful family time together, ~Peacemom

Sunday, February 7, 2010


This is my very first attempt at making home made yogurt. It brings back memories of my first cheese making project as they both start the same way, heating up the milk. In this case, I used raw milk from our fresh milk/egg/meat CSA. The best milk, so good!

It's really quite easy to make. Sterilizing everything you'll need to use first, like containers, thermometer, pan, spoons, etc. Heat 1/2 gallon milk to 190 degrees, remove from heat and let cool to 105 degrees. Take 4 oz already prepared plain yogurt (I used Stonyfield Organic Plain), put it in a bowl. Add 4 oz of 105 degree milk to it to temper the yogurt. Then, mix all back into the milk.

If you want fruit in your yogurt, use 8oz frozen or fresh fruit, add 1 T sugar or honey and heat on stovetop until reduced about half. Crush with potato masher when softened. Spoon about 1/4 c of fruit in the bottom of an 8oz container with a tight fitting lid (I used 1/2 pint mason jelly jars), fill with yogurt. Fill a small cooler with about 1/2 gallon water that is 105 degrees, place jars in cooler and close the lid. Place cooler in a warm place for 4-6 hours and presto, you've got yogurt! If you use raw whole milk, it will not taste like the yogurt you're accustomed to. No tang, no bite, it's smooth and silkie and quite delicious. Give it a go, it's really easy and so economical. I pay $7.00 a gallon for organic raw whole milk at the farm, I can get about 20 servings from a gallon. So, I pay about $.38 per container and that includes the fruit (I used strawberries I picked last summer). Stonyfield organic yogurt is $1.19 in the grocery store here, so that's a serious savings, and we eat a lot of yogurt in our house.

On my pursuit of local only food, it's a great item to make on my own. Even the Stonyfield that I use as the starter is local for me as their plant is in the next town and also their milk, though pooled, is organic and local to New England. I am not contributing any plastic containers to any recycling or worse yet garbage heap, the ingredients were all within biking distance of my house and it is totally yummy. I control the amount of sugar, preservatives (none!) and coloring (also none!) that go into it. I feel that much more self reliant knowing I can make this for my family. It's all good, folks. Give it a go, it's really easy, very low-tech and you won't be sorry you tried a new skill.

I also made my very first totally homemade tortillas last night for Lime Chicken Tacos. They were a little crispy for a first try, but the flavor was great and the chicken with lime filling was really yummy. I'll post that some time later as it was incredibly easy to make as well. I get chicken from my CSA which always comes in whole form. Though I could cut it up and cook it separately well, it's already thawed whole, so I just cook the whole thing. I usually get about 6 meals out of one chicken. They are big, yummy and free range, so tend to have a good muscle mass to them. I had some left over rib, leg and thigh meat, so I decided to give the tacos a whirl for Music Man and I and they came out quite good. Since he's been laid off again, I'm in total survival mode, gotta do more for myself and not buy anything prepackaged any more (I've yet to perfect the Cheez It though, Music Man's big weakness!) . Of course, there are so many health benefits to that since I know exactly what goes in to it and where it came from. Perhaps that will be one of those wonderful by products of a stressful situation, really making me walk the walk instead of it being partly talking the talk. It's a whole different story when you're really making it work for yourself and proving to yourself you can be much more self sufficient then you ever thought possible. Feels really good, honestly.

Yogurt adventures to you, ~Peacemom

Saturday, February 6, 2010

And sometimes....

...we remember to be our own best stress reducers. Though I made some yogurt from scratch today, which was REALLY cool, I think I'll just post this as the best thing in my day today. How cute are they? Just wanting to focus on the most basic of important things today. A father and his sons sharing a belly laugh and some fun together, that's what it's all about for me today.

Hoping you have your own stress reducers, ~Peacemom

Friday, February 5, 2010

Music Man's existence...again.

And this is Music Man's existence again as he searches for a job. Life is all online nowdays. Of course, in the hunt for a job, it's all in who you know...

Wish him luck, ~Peacemom

Our future musician hard at work...

And this is Little Red hard at work practicing his electronic drum solo. Music is the voice of the soul, and really, he's pretty good at it! It is NEVER and I do mean NEVER quiet around here when there are boys afoot.

Wishing you young musicians for your soul, ~Peacemom

Forgot about my goal for Feb in all the turmoil...

I remember I posted a bit ago that I was going to try to post a picture a day that is a snapshot in my life for the next month. Then, Music Man got laid off and the world came crashing to a screeching halt. Now that I'm surfacing to find some sunshine again, I've decided to post them anyways, so that you can see something good in my days as much as to remind myself of its existence.
This first picture is of Little Red and I playing tic-tac-toe. He's getting pretty good at it, and wants to play all the time. We were sitting outside enjoying some late morning sunshine on our slightly sheltered front porch.
May you have moments of rediscovering childhood yourself...~Peacemom

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


Hello All,

Well, for the 4th time since we've been married, Music Man was laid off again last Friday. I can't really talk much about it as I cry at the drop of a hat right now. The company is supposedly struggling so badly that they couldn't even offer him any severance. Now, we go about the task of trying to keep a roof over our heads and food in our stomachs and health insurance for our children and praying against all odds for him to find a new job soon.

Right now, we're battling to get some letter from his employer that states he was laid off, not fired or whatever. They just let him and 5 other guys go with their last paycheck and a thanks, there's the door. Since the place was taking such a toll on his health and mental state, I'm not at all sorry that he doesn't have to go there any more. But, we're in the precarious state of having too many bills for the amount of very limited money my job provides along with the laughable unemployment he receives. So very tired of being in this place every 2 years when the economy shifts and he's left out in the cold.

That being said, he's looking into options for retraining, education and whatnot to try to better our situation. I'm very happy that he's looking into nursing as a career. It would suit his personality so well. He loves working with people, he's caring and kind and I really think it would suit, it's a fairly recession proof career, isn't it? No matter where you go, there will always be a need for a nurse. Right now, it's just trying to figure out how to make it all work financially.

The condo is sucking us dry and the rent we have to pay here is also very draining. That condo is the bane of our existence at this point. We just want to sell it and get out from under it, but right now, that's so tough to do. It's been a long, long year trying to decide what to do with it, and renting it has so many terrible tax repercussions when you rent along with owning a home you don't live in. No deductions for rent, and the mortgage deductions for investment property aren't quite what they are when it's your home (not sure why!!), so it's a tough one for us right now. Just want it gone so we can get on with things, and concentrate on the future. That condo is definitely the past for us.

So, all that being said, please put us in your prayers and thoughts as we continue on our way to dangling by the skin of our teeth...again. I'm very saddened right now. Trying so hard to summon the faith to believe it will all be okay, we always make it work somehow.

Needing some loving prayers for our family, ~Peacemom