Monday, December 31, 2012


Yep, this is what Santa brought me for Christmas.  I would have gladly returned it to him if I'd had the chance!  but, I figured if you've gotta have one of these during the holiday season, why not make it fun, right?  So, I asked the technician to wrap it in red and green.  It's been a bit of a pain what with the first snowstorms of the season having blown in the last few days.  Can't get it wet, can't help shovel (and around here, that's a monumental task for Music Man to tackle by himself).  We've had to enlist the boys (not always cooperative) help with that.  Maestro did a bang up job on the front walk yesterday, I was proud of him for pitching in...almost willingly.

I did this stepping out my front door.  The threshold on the jamb is lose...I know not to step on it, but I was reaching behind me to grab the door while trying not to drop a bag on my arm, rushing out the door after the kids.  Stepped on the jamb and my foot started to slide forward off it.  Felt myself falling, so tried to step down before I landed on my butt and instead heard the very loud and distinct "SNAP!" when the fibula bone broke on the bottom 2 inches and the ankle turned to mush with a very bad sprain.  Yep, that was some pain.  Music Man happened to be outside when I did this, he came rushing to me and all I could say was "I heard is snap bad"...then I just clung to the railing, sitting on my butt, trying not to pass out from the pain.  I couldn't even talk.  I had him run the kids to school (thank goodness he was home that morning a bit later) while I tried to get myself back in the house.  Crawled in the door and got myself on the couch and laid there until I felt I could get upright without fainting.  Not the most fun I've ever had, for sure.  I waited a day to go to the doctor because one, I've sprained my other ankle about literally 1,000 times in my life, and I don't rush to the doctor for that anymore.  I wanted to see if the swelling would go down, as it had ballooned up almost instantly, so they could better diagnose it.  And two, we have lousy insurance with the new job, we have a $9,000 deductible for the family, so I knew any x-rays they would most definitely want to take could come out of pocket.  So, I wanted to wait it out a bit to see if it would be better the next day.   But, by the next morning, I still could put no weight on it, I knew I needed to get to the doctor as it was most likely broken.  And it was, the little bugger.  Unfortunately, "slow down" is not in my vocabulary, and I'm sure that's not helping the healing process one bit.

I'm thankful in this situation for a couple of things, believe it or not.  One I'm eternally thankful that I am in a walking cast and don't have to be on crutches.  This chubby body and crutches don't mix and in the winter to boot, no thanks. I've had to do that once before when I crushed the big toe on that same foot in November years ago.  No fun at all.

I'm thankful for my husband picking up the extra chores of laundry washing, and the chicken care.  I did get up there one day before the snow to clean out the coop, and the ground was so uneven, I almost killed myself.  So, I can't go out to them as they are up a fairly steep incline (as is all this property) and I just can't safely do it. I miss my girls for sure, though.

And, I'm so very thankful for my friends.  My friend, Lynne, did so much for me in this fiasco, from taking me to the doctor (she's a nurse and came to check it out...then said, yeah, you're going to the doctors), to carting my kids around, to finding me crutches and clothes that would fit over the cast....the list goes on.  We've bandied about the idea of leaving Chester because the price of homes is so high here, but we'd be leaving such a wonderful support system of friends behind.  And it means the world to me to have help when I need it.  It's not something I'm used to, but it's so wonderful to know that your friends will be there when you call. She cares for me in more ways then physically, and I'm deeply thankful for her (and her whole family, really). 

So, as we approach the new year, I don't really have resolutions, but there are things in motion around here that we hope will bring some positive changes for us in 2013.  Best to you all in the New Year.  Be safe, be healthy, be happy and have peace.

Happy New Year, ~Peacemom

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas

Since we don't have a white Christmas Eve here at Casa de Peaceable Kingdom, I bring a cute photo of some folks kicking it back marshmallow style.

For all, I wish:

May the spirit of Christmas bring you peace, the gladness of Christmas give you hope, the warmth of Christmas grant you love.

Happy Holidays, everyone and peace be with you.  I hope the new year grants you many blessings.


Monday, December 10, 2012

Winter Libations

Music Man is a homebrewer of beer.  He's done some fun concoctions, all of them highly drinkable and unique.  Unfortunately, I don't like beer, never have, never will.  I just don't prefer the bitter of it.  I do, however, covet a lovely hard cider.  Mostly my brew of choice is Woodchuck Hard Cider out of Vermont.  But, watching my dear hubster brew the last batch of the malted splendor got me to thinking I wanted to make my OWN cider.  Then, my fellow blogger Jenna, over at Cold Antler Farm had a recipe on her site for making some.  It looked so easy, I just had to give it a go.
I followed her recipe, which was as simple as this.  Take unpasteurized cider and add honey and champagne yeast.  Let sit in a brewer's bucket (or big ol' glass jug in our case) and let sit for a few weeks until the bubbling stops.  Then bottle, leaving the sediment in the bottom of the bucket/jug. 
As I tasted it, I found it to be a bit lacking in the sweetness department, so I added just a touch of raw cane sugar to each bottle before we sealed them up.

 Then I had to come up with a name for this brew, which I called "Not Yo Mama's Cider" has a 12%-15% alcohol content once it's fermented up  good.  It's got a bit of a kick for sure! 
It was very easy to make this delicious homebrew. 
I urge you to try to make this at home, it was so easy to do and for we homesteaders, it's one more special treat to make yourself!  Cheers!!
Wishing you cider fun of your own, ~Peacemom

Friday, December 7, 2012

Pine Cones, Road Apples and Christmas Spirit

The place where we cut our tree is right here in our home town.  They are a tree farm that has been in town for a long time, but they are getting out of the business.  So, when the tree is cut this year, we were sadly aware that it may be the last time we do so.  We've gotten our tree there the last three years and very much enjoy the farm, folks that run it and the ability to cut a tree right here in our little town.

Sunny the Morgan and Olivia the Christmas donkey are always on hand to greet us.  The boys got to feed them carrots this year.  This is a big thrill for Little Red because he's totally enamored with anything fuzzy and warm and nuzzling.  Our good friends have an Australian Shepherd, Dusty, that he particularly loves.

The pond always holds much more interest for the boys then the actual choosing of the tree.  This year was especially good as the pond had a layer of ice on top.  They chose rocks to throw in and anyone who's had the thrill of living in a frozen climate knows the sound that rocks make when thrown into a frozen body of water.  It's sort of a pppzzziiing!  This was quite entertaining for them. 

Consequently, Music and and I picked the conifer that would adorn our little abode.  I like to chose a tree with a few pine cones attached, sort of makes it feel like it's got its own ornaments already attached!
The boys each took turns helping Dad cut the tree down.
As you can see, it was quite foggy that day, sort of tree hunting in the netherworld, if you will.  Maestro was a bit freaked out that he had to dodge many, many piles of horse poop aka:  Road apples.  It made me chuckle to know that at his age, I was slogging through it without thinking about it as I was basically raised on taking care of horses. The menfolk carried our lovely tree to the stand to pay and get another piece of chocolate.  Little Red asked me why I'm never in any pictures.  I had to explain that I'm the family photographer and it's hard to be in the picture and taking the picture at the same time.
Christmas hugs and kisses from here at Casa de Peaceable Kingdom.  Hope you're enjoying your holiday season as much as we are! 

Joyeaux Noel, ~Peacemom

Sunday, November 25, 2012

For All Received

I've been preoccupied the last month.  Much has been going on here, many goals set in motion and it's been exhausting, exciting and stressful all at the same time.  More on that as it gets more permanent, but for now, let's just suffice it to say, I've been maxed out mentally.

This season of thankfulness sets me to thinking about how absurdly much I have in my life.  Sometimes, I focus on the things I don't have because, well, there are lots of times I don't have what I need in a moment.  But...then there are times like recently that I'm thankful for things that I don't ever take for granted, but sometimes move to the back of my memory when they are supplanted by more needs of the future.  For all that I have, I am truly thankful...and here are a few of those things...

1.  A husband that loves me for who I am, chubby-ness, crankiness, gray hair and all.  He also sees the person who lives inside me, the one that cares deeply about the world around me, wants to make it a better place and has an incredibly soft spot for anyone and anything that needs me and the gifts I have to offer.  He encourages my passions, loves his sons more deeply then his own father's example should ever allow, his caring for our souls on the level he does is evident in the every day uttering of  a simple "I love you" to each one of us, said with meaning and sincerity.  He's the man who brings me flowers on our son's birthdays and always wishes me a happy birth-day as well.  He works very hard to keep us in the best way he can.  I love him for his very being and am thankful for his presence in my life and for the father that he is to our children, he's not always patient or perfect, but he is very dedicated to them and involved in their lives and activities.  We are all lucky for having him.

2.  I'm thankful for my boys.  They are funny, loving, smart, healthy and amazing to me in so many ways.  Yes, they bicker and pick at each other, their room is a mess most of the time, and they beg me to watch too much TV or play Wii too often.  But in the many moments that I allow for them to inspire me, love me, and touch my heart and soul, I'm truly amazed by them.  They are my little miracle gifts from God, the ones I prayed for long before they ever arrived and the ones I'm thankful for every day.  They are not perfect but they are outstanding to me in any case and have allowed my heart to expand more then I knew possible. I would be a complete person without them, but I'm sure thankful I get to know this side of me with them here to open that up and let it grow.  They really are my sunshine and I'm happy He chose them to be in my world.

3.  I am thankful for my extended family.  My family, who's of course known  me all my life, sees past things that others might get hung up on because they, too, know the person I am on the inside.  My social graces aren't always what they might be, lordy I struggle with bluntness. And they love me in spite of my flaws, and I in spite of theirs.  Our family is far from perfect, and we've been through some things that most families don't have to deal with, but in the end, we always know we have each other's best interest at heart.  I can be myself with them and not sit silently in a room fearing I may say something that someone may take the wrong way.  They get my weird sense of humor, especially my Mom, and for that I am truly thankful. We allow each other our differences.  To be able to be yourself with others is a gift from them that can't be bought.

4.  My friends are wonderful in my life as well.  I have some friends that I've had for many, many years and make new ones all the time.  I love the kindred spirits we've met since moving to Chester.  I have people here who "get me" on a level that no one else does (except perhaps my husband and mother, who share my interests).  And, some of them are people you don't have to make your home spotless for and feel comfortable dropping in on you (and then don't care if you're in your jammies at 1:00 in the afternoon!).  Yes, friends, new or old, are a wonderful part of my life, I treasure them and am thankful for them as well.

5.  I'm thankful for so much more including a warm home, a steady job for my husband, food in the larder and beautiful sunrises, the list could go on and on...but the last thing I will tell you about being thankful for is that I have passions in my life that I care deeply about.  Since discovering organic living when I was pregnant with my son, my interest has grown so much in that area that it's become a main focus.  I learned how to garden myself to grow the food, I found wonderful people who share that passion and made new friends in trying to source the food I couldn't grow.  I'm thankful for a drive in me that forces me to create with my hands, those are authentic, tangible gifts.  I'm thankful for my desire to cook all that food that I grow or buy from local farmers to give my family the best health possible.  Without the desire and skills to cook it, it would be pointless to care about it as much as I do.  I'm also thankful the folks who stop by my little blog and read a slice of my life from time to time.  I enjoy writing very much and hope that ya'll enjoy reading it. 

Living gratefully with many thanks, ~Peacemom

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Ocean at Autumn

This past weekend, we took our annual four day trip to Freeport, Maine to camp in the autumn splendor.  It's my favorite time of year to camp for many reasons, but the best of all...and you New England campers know what I'm talking about here...NO BUGS!  A few of the other bonuses are few people to compete for quiet with, beautiful scenery, migrating geese heard overhead, the campfire is much more necessary for warmth and the ghost stories by firelight can start earlier as the darkness falls sooner.  We had a glorious time together with 4 days of uninterrupted family time.  It is never lost on me that we have precious few years of this time together.
I called a few days before leaving to reserve a site.  This time of year there is little competition for the sites, so I usually wait to be sure it's going to be decent weather before taking the plunge.  Once the reservation is made at that late date, there aren't any refunds.  We have a site that we've always stayed in, Site 6, it's kind of a tradition for us.  I was happy when I called that it was available and made the reservation.  The helpful woman in the office explained that no one would be there in the office this time of year on the weekend, but we should just settle in and if we need anything to call the number on the office sign.  Yep, much more laid back this time of year!  When we arrived, we found someone else already happily set up in Site 6 with no one around.  I was not happy as this was the site I reserved for a reason, it was our tradition, and I was upset that these people would just move into a site that was ours.  Then I read the sign on the office door and our site was listed as available.  GRRRRRR...the woman in the office neglected to check to see if our site was indeed available and put it in on the list anyways.  I called and though she apologized profusely, there wasn't much we could do but take a new site.  The folks who set up there did it in good faith, they had no way of knowing it was indeed reserved and we weren't going to kick them out.  So, reluctantly, we chose the site next to it, Site 8.  The site is pictured above, and in the end worked out better for us then 6 did, with a nice area behind the camper for the table and fire pit.  Sometimes, you have to get over yourself and being disappointed and just take what life gives you.  This is a lesson that has been pressed into my being over and over the past year, since losing the barn we were so in love with.
Do you ever wonder how you could need SO much stuff for a few days away from home?  It's unreal the amount of packing and all that goes into a few days camping, makes you realize what you could live without if you needed to, that's for sure.
These were our neighbors for the time we were at the campground, which is surrounding a working farm.  We like to call these little chubbsters Oreo Cows, or Whoopie Pie Cows but their really Belted Galloways, a breed native to Scotland.  Little Red especially loved a heifer with the number tag "707" on it's ear, fuzzy and cute.  It's one of our favorite parts of the experience, the farm itself.  Being country and farm folks, we feel right at home there.
We spent a lot of time just exploring the shoreline and tidepools left by the receding tide.  Little Red is especially fascinated by all things nature, so he reveled in this unspoiled, unrushed time to just poke and explore.  This is the best homeschooling I can offer them.  They can read about a tide pool in a book, but how can they know the sensations of cold Atlantic water in the fall, seaweed swirling around their hands as they reach for a mussel or periwinkle to examine unless they are there, putting their hands in that actual water?  How do they learn the ebb and flow if the tide unless seeing it come and go in it's natural way?  Though I'm a firm believer in book learning too, there are many things you can't learn from a book, or from watching some ap on your Ipod.  You have to get out in the world and explore, feel, smell and taste it.
We let periwinkles sit on our hands and dance their dances, leaving trails of water along our hands as they moved.  It was a fun experience for us all, and we all named our pets periwinkles until we returned them to the sea.  There were definitely clam beds surrounding us as well, which we could see evidenced in the broken shells that were in ever crevice of the rocks.
We explored tide pools for fish and seaweed, noting the different types that were growing in the different areas of the tidal region.
Another highlight of the trip was harvesting periwinkles to eat!  I had read in a book years ago about a couple that have a place on Mt. Desert Island and they would harvest their food out of the ocean.  One of their delicacies was periwinkle stew.  So, I researched online to see how to cook them and we were all willing to give them a try.  They were actually quite good!  You just boil them for 3 minutes, and pull them out of the shells using toothpicks and plop them in your mouth.  They would probably be good dipped in butter as well, but we are a family that enjoys fresh seafood sans butter, so it was good for us this way.  And, we lacked the ingredients to make the stew, but I promised the boys we would do that someday as well.
Winks harvested and awaiting rinse before the hot boil.
After cooking, they are ready for the toothpick challenge.
Maestro enjoying the first wink, it was decided then that they were actually delicious!  I LOVE this kid's willingness to try anything, my true adventurer.
There were many other wonderful parts of our trip that included a nice meal at Gritty's, a wonderful stroll around LL Bean and the new Bow Street Market, Wicked Whoopies, a movie night for us in the camper watching "Casper", the boys first taste of true freedom as we allowed them to bike ride all over the, all but deserted, campground (with a walkie-talkie in hand so we could keep tabs) without us accompanying them.  We had wonderful memories made and none of us wanted to leave.  And with views like this, who could blame us?
Thank you, Freeport, we thoroughly enjoyed being there and came home refreshed and renewed.  Just what this little family needed.
Wishing you periwinkles and campfires of your own, ~Peacemom

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Autumn Tea Continued

Ah, a lovely table set for lovely ladies...I couldn't wait for them to arrive!

I've made the house festive, the crock pot in the corner has spiced apple cider brewing, making the house smell heavenly!

At last!  My sister and her daughters have arrived!  Left to right is Katelyn, Deanna and Emily.  Mugs in hand and ready for some delicious chili and corn muffins and a variety of beverage options including chai tea, the spiced cider and hot cocoa...with homemade marshmallows!  The dessert was a wonderful pumpkin cobbler that my sister makes (it's kind of a tradition now) topped with homemade cinnamon custard ice cream mixed by Music Man.  It was OUT of this world!

After a delicious lunch, we decided to go to the cemetery to search for any relatives of one of my other nieces who's family could not attend.  Her family got their start here in our little town directly from Ireland, and we were hoping to find any ancestors.  Alas, after searching the grounds, we did not find any.  However, our town pond and a road in town bear her last name, so they were definitely here, I've got to research harder.  The cemetery stroll was lots of fun just the same!

This is my nieces hugging one of the huge ancient trees in the cemetery. So lovely, these!

Immediately upon our arrival, this cat made his presence known. He was a VERY friendly cat and escorted us all through the cemetery as we searched and read the tombstones.  It made me wonder if he was an apparition or really there...
Both of my nieces are truly cat people, and I think this kitty knew that.   He sure was friendly!
This old watcher didn't seem too amused by that kitty!

Such beautiful color, peeking its head to be seen!  We heard the traffic on the highway from folks visiting NH for the weekend from Mass and points south was insurmountable!  But..we did not have to worry about that at all during our respite time together.
On our way out of the cemetery, we bid adieu to this gentleman...the scarecrows are back up in town, more on that in another post!   But...this is the one that Music Man and Little Red's scout den put up in the center of town, our little scout camping and roasting a marshmallow...
We headed home and started our craft project.  I thought this leaf mobile would be a fun idea...Katelyn wasn't amused with it as it was hard to thread the beads on the string (which was a bit too thick!).  But, I think they came out pretty well in the end!  We each made our own variation of it and they were festive when completed!
Afterward, we enjoyed the cobbler and ice cream...
And then we packed up for our goodbyes...I think a fun time was had by all!  I know I certainly cherish the time together laughing and eating good food and just bonding and communing with other females that are dear to me.

What Autumn tradition would you like to start or what do you to welcome in the season?  These ladies are a key part of it for me!

Wishing you traditions of your own, ~Peacemom