Saturday, December 30, 2006

happy faces...

there have been some great smiling happy faces around here! cold outside on the slopes (although not too cold really), but warming with these smiles....

Getting back to skiing has been good for me and the boys. I am so comfortable on skis. It is so second nature to me to have such things strapped to my feet, and heading down a snowy slope. A very freeing feeling to be so capable, and have no fear to just head down a snowy trail, with the wind in my face, and the powder under my skis, being able to just turn, swoosh, and have control, and really pay attention to what different parts of my body are doing in order to keep the control within the limits of feeling free.
So glad my kids are able to do this too, and enjoy learning how, and being out in this snowy heaven, with such fabulous scenery. Odd too, in a sense, as these trails are the ones I learned on, and spent so many hours on with friends and siblings. I never would have imagined that I would be on these very same trails with my own children.
I do hope to be able to get to some other ski areas at some point with them, but to ski on these trails which I know so well that I could probably go down them with my eyes closed.... it is an odd sense of being 'home'. It feels good.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

christmas scenes

a few things....

a firey sunset over the misty lake on the night before christmas eve.....
(saw it from the trampoline with emmett, climbed off and ran across the street to grab this shot)

my small child's handwriting.....

some wine that was really good from our feast
I loved the label and name too.....

more coming (blogger is being a pain in the butt)....

Saturday, December 23, 2006

a little more

finally a little more snow.... from cold nights for snow making at the ski area nearby.

Eli's and my skis as we are on the chairlift... dangling above some barely covered grass below.

Saturday, December 16, 2006


making batches and batches of this........

damn it's good!!! and easy, and everyone loves it.
will be sending out bags of it for gifts.

Chocolate Buttercrunch
(alot less sweet than traditional buttercrunch)

saltine crackers (1 sleeve)
1 cup sugar
1 3/4 sticks butter
1 (12oz.) bag semisweet choc. chips
1 to 1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts or pecans

1. Line a jelly roll pan with foil (12x15), leaving a 2 inch cuff. Line bottom with a single layer of saltines.
2. Heat butter and sugar in a saucepan until it bubbles, stirring well. Once it bubbles, turn the heat to low for 2 mins., stirring occasionally.
3. Pour butter mixture over crackers & spread evenly.
4. Bake at 350 for 13 mins.
5. Remove pan from oven and sprinkle choc. chips over crackers, allow to sit for 40 seconds.
6. Spread choc. evenly and sprinkle with nuts.
7. Refrigerate overnight (or somewhere cold until it is chilled) and break into pieces. Store in airtight container.

Monday, December 11, 2006

skiing soon.....

yippee.. can't wait! Now that Eli is taking the year off from hockey, we will be skiing instead. Sundown opened on Saturday, and we went out to have our photos taken for our passes. It was beautifully bright and sunny, and they had made enough snow to open some trails. I was wishing that we had our gear all ready to have taken advantage of it. Patience. I won't rush it.

The boys had fun messing around in the snow anyway. Especially since it hasn't snowed here yet, and the three of us are dying for it! I am eager for the first beautiful snowfall. There is something so exciting about it, no matter how old I get. There were just a few flurries last week, and they made me happy to see them gently floating down, and eager for more.

...especially since I got these cool new skis!! and I can hardly wait to try them out! they even fit into the car so I can load all three of us into the car with our gear and drive the whopping 20 minutes to Ski Sundown!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

luxurious knitting

the body of the rollneck
(the color is richer than is shown here)

A friend of mine wants me to make a beautiful sweater for her.... out of alpaca. It is heavenly to knit with, just soooo soft! I am making her a rollneck sweater out of a bulky weight yarn, using a bit of a different pattern than most rollnecks. This one is an elite pattern* and is made similar to the icelandics, where you knit in the round, one big tube for the body, two smaller ones for the sleeves, join them together at the armpit, and knit the yoke up from there. It is so easy that way! Hardly any seams, just under the armpits.

She has chosen a really rich aubergine color. I took a break and indulged in a skein of heather green for some mittens for myself. I think the colors are kind of cool together.

this shows the richness of each of the colors

It feels good to knit again. Something busy with my hands, producing something beautiful that can be enjoyed by the recipient.... 'tis the season for that anyway!

* Vis-a Vis Pullover by Kristin Nicholas

Friday, December 08, 2006

fondue night

So cold here! only 14 degrees this morning and a cold bitter wind all day.

Tonight we have friends coming for dinner and we will share fondue with them. It is a perfect night for it! We have a fabulous fondue pot that was given as a wedding gift from our friends in Switzerland... a beautiful blue pot with a garlic clove as the handle for the lid. We will have a fire going by the time they arrive, and candles will be lit. The boys will be ready for bed, and we will eat and drink and be merry. Chocolate lava cakes, and maybe some good port to finish...


Pesto Fondue

This stuff is truly incredible. If you like fondue and you like pesto, it is a definite must. The recipe is from the Silver Palate Good Times Cookbook. I just swirl in pesto at the last minute.

1 clove garlic, halved
1 cup Italian dry white wine
1 1/2 cups grated Fontina cheese (at least 3/4 lb)
1 1/2 cups grated Swiss or Emmentaler cheese (at least 3/4 lb)
1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
2 -3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 cup pesto

1. Rub fondue pot with the garlic. Pour in the wine and heat over medium low until hot.
2. Toss the cheeses with the flour to coat. Add the cheese, a handful at a time, to the wine, stirring constantly and waiting until each addition melts before adding the next. Check the consistancy and add more cheese or more wine if needed.
3. Just before serving, swirl in the pesto over the top of the fondue. Serve with cubes of french bread, cubes of sweet italian sausage, and cherry tomatoes.

6 -8 portions

Saturday, December 02, 2006

morning, afternoon

Driving up to emmett's school on a cold bright morning....

cold afternoon sky (as seen from lying on the trampoline with emmett- it was so cool looking I had to run get the camera to capture it)....

Wednesday, November 29, 2006


as local as we could make it....

wine from a vineyard nearby
cheese from a dairy near my parents an hour away
cider from a local cidermill
turkey from a farm nearby
and a bit more.....

I made a quick centerpiece of clementines, local cranberries, cloves and cinnamon sticks in a glass cylinder- looked really nice!
and candles that the boys had made at the fair a few weeks ago.

A quiet rainy and cold day.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

pre thanksgiving

Went to both kids schools today to pick the kids up. They each got out half day, and I was able to arrive early for each. I knew at emmett's school, I could sneak in to the assembly and hear/see what he was experiencing for the holiday. I was happy to see all the kids (several hundred) sitting on the floor in the auditorium, watching the 2nd and 3rd graders.

They were dressed as pilgims and indians, and had a whole presentation singing, and reciting all sorts of things that helped the kids understand the history of the holiday, and to show how the school does good deeds and gives back to the community to show how important it is to give.

When they were dismissed, I joined in the line just behind emmett and placed my hand on his head. He turned and saw me, smiled and hugged my arm. "How did you get here so fast mommy?" So cute.

We drove to Eli's school to pick him up, and I figured we were early enough to catch whatever assembly they would have too. We walked into the school 1/2 hour before dismissal to find nothing going on. strange. We waited in the entry, and picked him up as usual.

I must say, I was disappointed. Why wouldn't they do something to acknowledge this widespread non-denominational american holiday? what's up with that?

Emmett's school has each child write down what they are thankful for- participate in or attend the inclusive assembly, and bring in food items to donate to those less fortunate. The kindergarteners have a wonderful tradition of making sandwiches (usually around 800 of them) that they donate to a local shelter to distribute as the homeless are leaving from Thanksgiving dinner- so they have something for the next meal. Commendable and wonderful for the kids to participate in and learn from.

Wish more schools were like this. I guess it is wishful thinking to expect public schools to be ... hmmm.... a good and comprehensive learning environment. I guess it is "no child left behind" and teaching to the testing. And learning compassion and thoughtfulness is not in that agenda. What a disservice this country is doing to our society.

cold beautiful sky

this was the view yesterday, as emmett and I were lying on the trampoline (taking a break from tons of jumping)

.... and this was the view looking down onto the trampoline, just before I lay down.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

little gems

I love pomegranates. Eli and I share them when I get them each year. He and I are the only ones in the house who like them. I bought one the other day, and Eli saw it on the counter last night. His eyes got large, and he said "oh, I love those!". I told him we should wait until the morning. So when he came downstairs this morning, we indulged in these little glistening gems.........

I know there are supposed to be great "easy" ways to get the seeds out. I have tried all of the methods, which I don't think are any easier than the "gentle coaxing" way. I enjoy picking them all free, gently breaking parts open and loosening them just enough to have them fall free onto the plate.
Eli and I had so much fun letting them escape from their bound in jails, and I loved listening to his comments.. "they look like crystals...", "look, these are like the bones of the pomegranate..." and even how he observed all of the juices running free across the plate, and how it was staining our hands....
.... then Eli scooped some into a little bowl and took off- happily munching them. I took photos of them as I love how they look! then I ate some before posting this!

Friday, November 17, 2006

farm girl

I need to be 'farm girl' I think. at least for a while. It's in my blood. It has always been who I am. I need to use my body, be with animals, grow things. Drive big tractors. Feed things. Make things. Sling hay bales. Take care of and fix things.

I am hunting around here for somewhere new, since it seems it is just too big to make a 'real' move right now... and I think if I stay here any more in this house, my soul will wilt too far. I need desperately to breathe, and be more in touch with the earth, and animals. I need to feed my soul.

We have been talking about moving for more than 2 years. I fear that in 5 years, I will still be in this house and nothing will have changed, except for me on the inside. I will be dead in there. So, I need to do something about it. now. NOW.

I am working like crazy to get a horse to ride, and that may be happening soon. But I need to move to a new house in the very near future, before my soul is any more sad. I am in the prime of my life to do something good. I need to make more of an effort to care for who I need to be. I am house/property hunting like crazy. I need enough property to have some animals.

I am hunting for some self-preservation. Can't wait to see what finds me!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

playing outside

My kids are awesome outside. While we live in a suburban area, and we do have access to some great spaces... kicking my kids outside doesn't always work. There isn't really anywhere for them to just mess around and explore. Our old house at HillStead was like that though (yes I still miss it in so many ways).
A pond, just a 1 minute walk down the driveway, provided hours of fodder for play. Throwing sticks into the stream and watching them float under the bridge, waiting for them to show up on the other side.... throwing rocks way into the center and seeing the ripples... watching the ducks who came every year to lay their eggs.... messing around in the dam at the far end of the pond.. and more.
Trails to walk on were always beckoning. And then there was always just a good place to sit and watch the trees blowing in the breeze, or the deer grazing, or go and pick some daffodils that grew all over the hill in the spring.

Yesterday, we were about an hour early to a birthday party. The parent who told us the wrong time, was later so apologetic. I thanked him though instead, as we had a wonderful hour of smiles. It was a gift. Eli doesn't smile that much. But in his element of being a smart creative kid, he does. (in the straight jacket of traditional schooling... he doesn't).

So, the boys and I ended up walking along a rails to trails path and discovering a little oasis of a treefort. Okay, it wasn't really a tree fort- it was a platform that someone had built about 6 feet up in between a bunch of trees. There was a rope hanging down and the boys were swinging on that. Emmett was gleefully howling "I'm Tarzan!!!!" as he was swinging wildly. Eli was exploring, climbing, and figuring out how to shake a fallen tree to get it all moving with his body... then helping emmett learn to do the same.

The sun was glistening, and the boys and I were happy. It was a really good way for all of us to spend the hour. We need a new space to be...... I love it when they are like that.

Monday, November 06, 2006

I miss.....

the barn at HillStead

I miss this barn. We used to live on a fabulous property..... 150 acres, a little pond, a fabulous museum, trails to walk & snowshoe (and when I was younger I rode my horse there too), deer and wild turkey seen frequently.... beauty all around. We lived there for 8 years, during which I found out that one of my great great uncles was the one who had sold the property to Theodate, who turned it into a fantastic place where her parents lived, and eventually she did too. We rented the "shepherd's cottage" down in the farm complex which consisted of our house, another house, two barns and a small kennel/ turned one room cottage.

It was a heavenly place to live, despite some challenges, but overall it was a place we were lucky to enjoy for 8 years. I miss looking out my 2nd floor kitchen windows in the late afternoon, watching the sun going down over the fields, and sometimes seeing the deer coming to graze. I have no kitchen windows now, and rarely see the sun going down. We have lived in this house for almost 8 years... time to move.

I miss all of that terribly. I need to move to a place I can breathe more. I crave it.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

cold and colorful

As much as I am dying to move from this place.... I do appreciate and enjoy the beauty in the fall here. I seem to be surrounded by it, although inside our house is so dismally dark, that lights need to be turned on even on brilliant sunny days. But when I am outside and driving so many places each day.... I see things that take my breath away and the beauty strikes me over and over.

Saturday, November 04, 2006


my raclette

This cheese is always so good. It is a wonderful mass of melted flavors, warming, soothing and tangy in a creamy way. I learned about having raclette when I visited Switzerland. The first time I went, we were lucky enough to have several dinners with our friends outside of Zurich. On one particular evening, we were served this wonderful dish.

So this first time, I enjoyed it in all its glory: the outdoor table, laden with plates of tidbits- little cornichorns, and pickled onions, special covered baskets of small new potatoes- meant to be peeled by spearing them with a funky little pronged utensil. Once your plate was prepared with the peeled potatoes and garnishes, then you were ready for a turn.

Our host had a huge half wheel of Raclette cheese in a special cooker- it held the cut side up and allowed it to be heated from the top with a special element. Then the wheel was swiveled away from the heat, tipped, and the melted layer scraped off onto an eagerly waiting plate.

The plate was then handed down the table to the hungry guest. The cheese would be enjoyed with chunks of the tiny potatoes in the same bite. So good! Unlike anything I have ever tasted. And wanting to have more, I had to try to be patient until it was my turn again. But all of this waiting and rich cheese, and slow savoring makes one filled with the enjoyment of eating mindfully.

So, now that the weather has turned colder, I love to have this as a lunch, even if it is just me, and I am not in Switzerland. I was lucky enough to find some raclette at the store the other day. It was french, which is not quite as mild the the swiss raclette, but still very good. I didn't even bother to peel the fingerling potatoes I bought. I cut thin slices of the cheese, and placed them in a tiny pan made specially for raclette (for those of us who don't have a need for the large cookers). I have now taken to just using one little pan on my flat cooktop, and it works well enough. I couldn't wait to dig in......

Wednesday, November 01, 2006


Boba Fett, and a "murdered guy" had fun. I stole Eli out of school just after lunch, and we all went home and worked like crazy to prepare for the evening. (sometimes things are more important than being in school- and boy, was Eli psyched when I showed up to take him home!)

We worked on pumpkins, costumes, and Eli created a spooky graveyard in the front yard, that I got sucked into helping with (willingly!) and we added spiderwebs and more.....

Then we trick-or-treated for long enough that the boys got quite a stash of goodies!

emmett being Boba Fett

Eli being a "murdered guy"

me.... carving pumpkins

emmett wanted ghosts....

Eli chose a skull with flames
for his graveyard...

It all looked great in the dark, and we even had spiderwebs across the front door for "guests".

Sunday, October 29, 2006

inspiring and tasty lately

good sourdough from Trader Joes

coarse grain sea salt from Big Tree Farms in Bali
check out how the grains are little pyramids!

I have been dying to indulge in this salt since I read about it a year ago.... so cool! I finally indulged and am glad I did! It is an incredible taste which is meant to be savored.....

the sea salt on mashed avacado
drizzled with fabulous balsamic vinegar

fabulous locally grown squash .... roasted and smashed with butter and local maple syrup
so scrumptious and filling on a blustery fall day!

Friday, October 27, 2006

stay the course

have you seen this?

Unbelievable. But I don't know if things will really change, no matter who is in office. Makes me want to flee this messed up country. Gotta download the application and work on gettin' outta Dodge......

This is what Laura from wmtc wrote in her post about this video clip:
You might think in this media age, where every sound bite can be captured and preserved, those in power wouldn't have the audacity to do this sort of thing. But these guys are always pushing the envelope, testing what they can get away with. So far they've gotten away with everything. I'm astonished that people still call them incompetent. If there's ever been a more efficient and skillfully disguised dictatorship, I'm not aware of it.

There oughta be a new word for Orwellian. Something that would out-Orwell even Eric Blair's most Orwellian nightmare.
I think she is spot on.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

fall beauty nearby

looking through my neighbors yard...
she lives right on the lake and has a pretty view

the cliff behind our house...
we have this good view of it when we walk down the road

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Whose are these?

My clothes don't fit me anymore. Oh, I don't mean they are too small or too big... just wrong. They aren't who I am. I look in my closet in the morning and try to figure out what to put on. Most of it doesn't feel like me. The clothes seem to be a different me. I need a little more funkiness in my clothes. I am a bit more hip and a bit less "buttoned up" than I have been.

I have changed and feel like I am evolving, which feels good and right. But my clothing is not reflective of who I am now. Wish I could afford to go out and overhaul it all. Have never spent much on clothes. It isn't a place in the budget that is in the "need" category, it is in the "want" one. So I try to pull together things that might be okay, and accesorize a bit- belts a bit more hip, scarves, and maybe a cool necklace.

I want to knit something cool too- maybe an icelandic with really cool colors- like maybe the main color a lime green, with accents of ... hmmm- not sure... would need to look at the yarns.

I would love a good new coat, and some great winter boots- the furry kind that everyone else but me seems to have. I love looking through the Gorsuch catalog- but holy smokes- like I have $900-ish for a pair of jeans. or a few grand for a really ultra cool coat. But I do feel like those clothes "fit" me.. just not my budget!!! Yikes! but I can find things for less, and need to hunt diligently.

I also love things from Sundance... including all of the jewelry and more. I think that Sundance does such a good job finding great artisans and showing them due reverence. Things are far more reasonable than the Gorsuch things- those are for people who have more money than they know what to do with. Sundance is definitely not cheap- but good quality, well made, beautiful things, both clothing, jewelry, and housewares.

I did indulge a few years back and got a medium sized hurricance candle holder that I still use so much, and love. I think this year I will be more diligent about checking what they have on sale, and loving what I find and order.

It would be so nice to have only what I really love. I don't need alot of 'things', I just need a few things I absolutely love and enjoy on a regular basis. I much prefer quality over quantity.

Monday, October 16, 2006


a nice warmblood in switzerland
from when I was visiting Yvi

I was thinking about this photo today- not sure why. I think I needed this horse's strength. (emotionally)
I love how this big beautiful horse has such a fabulous neck.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

weekend photos

It was a beautiful fall weekend, and I got the boys out- a school fair on Saturday, a renaissance fair today.
The batteries in my camera died after a few photos- bummer. So, I missed out on taking a bunch of photos of this cool playground that the boys had a blast on. Would love to recreate some of it at our house, especially the climbing web- challenging and easy and fun!

Also, I saw Katia Gordeeva at the school fair, being mom to her little one, who is about emmett's age. Kind of cool to bump into her a few times a year. I have always been enthralled by her, and her skating. She is somehow etherial and so quiet, busy being mom when I have seen her. I did tell her that I have always enjoyed her skating, but left it at that. We each enjoyed the day and being moms....
sunlit cosmos in the school garden

fish printed t-shirts... out to dry

Today at the renaissance fair, Eli and emmett had fun doing knightly things and people watching too. I had never been to one of these. My friend Sheila came too, and she and I were having a blast with the people watching... amazed at the boobs smooshed up and almost out of the garb! I was torn between wanting to photograph these people in their get-ups, and just thoroughly taking it all in. I chose the latter. It was a fun day there, people really get into it. Was also fun to see how nice people were, truly invested in being helpful and friendly to everyone. Interesting to see some social norms put by the wayside too.... saying things to people (not in a bad way, just putting things out there), that, in normal situations, you wouldn't do. Overall, it was a great experience, and we will go again sometime!

emm, Eli, and Sheila... watching the sword fighting... the guy was incredibly entertaining.

jousting... I wanted to be riding with these people....
man that would be fun!!! and I loved the colors of this girl on the horse..... she rode well too!

emmett with Eli..... about to fire the "frog-apult" at a castle...

emmett sword fighting.... he told the guy he could "totally win" (picture it being said with an impish little grin.....