Archive for September, 2012|Monthly archive page

The Final Product

In Sewing on September 24, 2012 at 4:18 am

Thank you to all the helped me determine the final design of this dress.  In the end I went for a sleeveless dress with the simple grey trim.  I am in love with this dress and how my little one looks in it.  So much fun.


Finding My Voice

In general on September 22, 2012 at 9:00 pm

It is reassuring to learn, after reading through an issue of Artful Blogger, that it took time and patience for others to find their voices.  Blogging began as an outlet for them to share accomplishments, creativity, information, and ended up opening doors to them that they had not know existed.  Does this sound dramatic?  Yes, but it is true.  I can see it already for myself.  The more I write the more I want to write.  The more creative projects I undertake the more I want to do and the more I want to share.  Because let’s face it.  If I can do these things, anyone can! But I am also finding a new sense of pride that I carry around and new people, projects, perspectives on life to delve into.  I imagine it will take some time yet to find my voice.  In the meantime I am crossing my fingers that my readers everything will find something they can connect to, something that they may learn from or something that makes them laugh.  I may write about our adventures with following the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD), my son’s intolerance to gluten/oats and dairy, parenting successes or mishaps, or even my sewing adventures.  But the truth is that in some ways it all blurs together at some point.  After all, I am a mom.  When I cook it is for my family.  When I sew it is for my family (mostly).  And when I parent, will, obviously that is for my family.  It is difficult to take the mom out of any of those categories.  So a piece of “mom” will always float amongst my writings.  Maybe in the end, that is my voice.  We’ll soon see. 

High Holy Days

In general on September 19, 2012 at 7:53 pm

In this family, and by family I am including my mother and brother, the High Holy Days bring a bit of angst.  What could possibly be the problem, you ask?  Three differing ideas about how to celebrate along with the sadness surrounding the loss of the matriarch/patriarch of the family (Gaga and Papa).  If my grandparents were still alive we would most likely all go to temple, all spend the entire day together and eat a fantastic dinner that only my grandmother could have prepared.  But that is not all.  Dinner preparations would have begun a week in advance, from planning out the menu to setting the table.  We would all be nestled in the coziness of their dining room, the lights dimmed as Gaga lit the candles and recited the blessing, the warm fall sun setting behind my grandfather as he sat stoically at the head of the table.  The light spreading out from behind him and filling the room with a sense of  pride, love and peace.  For the three of us (my mom, brother and myself) this is what the holiday should be like.  The absence of my grandparents, my brother living far away and my own personal experiences living in Israel have led us all to different needs/desires for the holidays.  My mother wants to embody my grandmother and continue to attempt to create the holidays by strongly encouraging us to go to temple and have a family dinner.  My brother is an atheist and the only holiday he as any interest in celebrating is Passover.  I want a cultural experience; one much like I experienced while living in Israel.  A day willed with family, good food and traditions I had never known before.  These traditions are not devoid of religion (different blessings said over different foods symbolic for the holiday; circular year, sweetness, fertility, etc.).  They simply do not take place at temple.  They happen as a family; together.  It is a challenge for my mother to accept that her children do not want to try to continue to have what we had in the past.  It is a challenge for my brother and I to help her to see that time is over and that we must find new ways to move forward without trying to do everything their way.  I am not even sure if my mom really understands why she goes to temple other than that it is what her parents did.  For as important as Judaism was to my grandparents (they both grew up in Orthodox families), they did as most families did in the ‘40’s… they tried to assimilate themselves and their children as much as possible.  My mother and my aunt did not go to Sunday School at the local synagogue.   Neither of them had a Bat Mitzvah.  Neither had ever been to Israel.  Yes, they were part of a Jewish youth group.  Yes, they celebrated all the major holidays.  Yes, they felt Jewish.  But there was no formal Jewish education.  On the flip side, my brother and I did go to Sunday School.  My brother had a Bar Mitzvah and I had a Bat Mitzvah.  I worked at a Jewish summer camp, taught Sunday School and spent a year in Israel.  I’ve even taught Hebrew to 6th graders.  I know exactly why I should be at temple at this time of year.  I simply would prefer to celebrate in a different way.  In a way that is more personal and makes more sense to me.  Even though this flies in the face of why I should go to temple (to stand together as a community and ask forgiveness from G-d for the sins we have committed towards Him/her).  I do understand it all.  But growing up reform left me a bit dubious about organized religion.  Maybe it was just our temple, but I felt so lacking for information.  The High Holy Days always felt more like a fashion show than they did days to reflect on our lives and look to do better.  These days felt more like they were about who donated money to the temple than those who were not in a position to do so.  And on top of that…  there was so much they did not teach us.  My year in Israel taught me that.  The purist in me came out and I was a bit lost.  Not knowing what I was supposed to trust.  And while I cannot definitely tell you that there is a G-d, I do believe that there is some sort of higher power out there that has had a hand in creating life as we know it.  Unlike my brother who has decided, for reasons unknown to me, to pretty much despise being Jewish and to not believe in any kind of higher power.  Maybe it was being shy and not having many friends in Sunday School.  Maybe it was his medical school training or the crazy (in my opinion) Jewish neighbor he had during his residency that was an extreme anti-Zionist protestor.  I do not know for sure what led him down this path.  All I know is that now, the 3 of us, are all in a different place when it comes to celebrating the holidays.  And it matters, a lot.  But, if Gaga and Papa were here… well, we would all come together despite our differing ideas.  We may act disgruntled about having to be there.  Mom may treat us like children for making a fuss.  But we would all be there.  And not one of us could complain about the food, the love we felt for one another or that was being washed over us.  None of us would have anything negative to say or feel about that warm glow of the sunset over Grandpa’s shoulders or the coziness and familiarity of that dining room and Gaga’s traditions.  We would simply be happy.

Fresh Tomato Soup

In Cooking, What's for dinner? on September 15, 2012 at 3:33 am

Last night I decided to finally make something with all of the tomatoes we had harvested from our tiny garden.  There weren’t quite enough to make a big batch of marinara sauce, so I opted for tomato soup.  I chose the following recipe based on the unusual inclusion of clove as an ingredient.  Maybe it’s not so strange.  But I had never heard of it.

So here’s the ingredient list: (original recipe)

  • 4 cups chopped fresh tomatoes
  • 1 slice onion
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons white sugar, or to taste

I basically followed the recipe except that I had to make a couple substitutions based on my family’s food intolerances.  Instead of butter I used coconut oil.  In place of sugar I used honey (though very little, maybe a teaspoon).  And I used coconut flour instead of all-purpose flour to create the roux.  Of course this roux is not quite like a flour roux, but it worked just fine.  I also added some fresh basil leaves from the garden and sautéed about a ¼ of an onion with 2 cloves of garlic.  This soup turned out to be one of the lightest tomato soups I have ever had and was absolutely delicious.  The kids both ate theirs all up and they didn’t even have a grilled cheese sandwich to go with it!  Mmmm, that sounds good.


The nasturtiums are simply for “plating” purposes.  The kiddos wanted to make the soup look pretty so they picked a bunch.  Yes, they can be eaten, but they are extremely peppery for my little ones.

Need Your Help, Pease!

In Sewing on September 10, 2012 at 4:54 pm

I keep going back to the simple grey ribbon.  At first I thought it needed something else.  But now, I think I am drawn to the simplicity of the single ribbon.  What do you think?  BTW, totally loving this refashioning project.  Totally what I needed to get out of my sewer’s block funk!

Thanks for your help.  I am looking forward to the feedback and creating a community with my followers.


Sewer’s Block…

In Sewing on September 8, 2012 at 6:00 pm

I have been on a downward spiral in regards to sewing for about 2 weeks now.  I can pinpoint the exact beginning of it (which was when laying out the fabric for the first ever dress I would make for myself and realized upon pinning the pattern to it that I did not have enough fabric).  Now I simply have to pull out of it.  The truth is that this dress, which I knew would test my skills, seemed easier than the one I sewed for my niece, but isn’t.  The darts on the darts on the front of the bodice are not quite in the right place.  I had to use my favorite tool, the seam ripper, to take the sleeves off and replace them so that they hit me in the right place.  And that took a week to do simply because at the end of the day, I knew I was too tired to do it well.  I just kept putting it off and putting it off.  See, the only time I really have to sew is at night after the kids go to sleep.  And while I may be surprisingly good at sewing up simple, sturdy and cute clothes for my kiddos, tackling new patterns and trying to force them to fit my body measurements is a whole different thing. Yes, I read about how to grade the pattern to fit different sizes, but I could not figure it out.  This dress has, without a doubt been my toughest challenge yet and I do believe I may need to put it aside for now.  I have a list of items I want to sew for the kids a mile long; amongst the list is a birthday dress and a dress for a wedding for my daughter and 2 shirts and 2 pairs pants for my son for the same wedding and his birthday.  Plus, of course, there is the Project Run and Play sew along.  Way too much.  I am going to have to cut something out.  I’m just not sure what yet.  But I am pretty sure that if I begin with cutting out my dress from the line up that I may be able to get my creative juices flowing again and enjoy sewing again.  The next step will be to find some sewing classes.  The awful truth is that I am hitting a wall, partially due to the fact that I am such a novice.  I have done well on my enthusiasm and creativity.  Now I need a little know-how!  Sewer’s block, be gone.  Thank goodness for a little time to organize myself and my sewing space today.  It will all start there.


In Motherhood on September 2, 2012 at 4:13 am

Today was the first time that my son overcame his trepidation of being in a new situation all on his own.  It was the first time he decided to try something he wasn’t sure about.  And it was the first time that he was encourage, dare I say inspired, to do something new after watching his big cousins have fun.  So what was it that he accomplished?  We took him to Northstar in Tahoe to ride around on the little road course they build for 18 month 4 year olds to ride their balance bikes on.  Despite how competent he is on his balance bike, I knew that he would be hesitant to try it out.  And he was, but then he got up the nerve and had a blast swerving between cones, tires, etc. and going up and down the ramps.  Then we went over to the bungee area and his sister, who is a little dare devil at heart (and only 21 months old) was dying to try it out.  Nathan was cautious, but decided to do it anyway.  And he had a lot of fun.  Holding onto Daddy’s hands at first and then letting go to do it on his own.  Norah, had a blast and threw a tantrum when her time was up.  But that was to be expected.  The icing on the cake was when he decided after a few laps around the driveway on his bike with the cousins that he wanted to try the little two wheeler we have for him.  On previous attempts he has given up before he even got started.  But not today.  Today he went around and around and around pedaling away.  An enormous smile on his face and so much love  and pride swelling in the hearts of his mommy and his daddy.  I think I say this a lot, but I truly cannot begin to describe how proud of him I am.  He simply persevered today and triumphed.  He went to sleep one tired boy and one proud boy.  Hurray for firsts!


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