Lazy Lavender Propagating

I have a lavender plant that has been abused…it is leggy and not very pretty so I am trying to start some new ones. I clipped a few of the branches that are still alive/new and placed them into holes in the pot where the original Lavender, Mama Laven I call it, and I’ll just see if it works.

I am also looking into starting a few more blueberry bushes from the ones that I have that are good producers. Soon I’ll start “really” trying to effectively propagate these by following some instructions available online but I’m feeling impatient and experimental…I’ll let you know if they survive!

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No Shopping Yet

Angel Choir - HazelAm I the total dude in this instance? I don’t think so but I relate to the pictures of people out frantically getting presents for folks. I think that if anything I will go with my husband for our annual “Goodwill Sibling Gift Shop” which our family seems to enjoy, this is when the kids each get to pick out presents for their siblings at Goodwill.

It is a fun opportunity for the kids to shop that isn’t too pricey. It also encourages bagging up some of the older toys to donate (get rid of to make room for new to us toys) and to give them to some other future child that will love them. I tell them it is activating the Santa they have within.

I just looked up recipes and am excited to see it is pretty simple to use fresh ginger instead of the dry, I just need about twice as much as it calls for. This means we will have some gluten free gingerbread cookies in our future!!

The focus for this year is really on family time and bonding…presents will be given from grandparents along with some needed gifts from us (husband doing the shopping part). Maybe I’ll get a family book of carols or something to sing together or something. That day of ice skating after xmas looks fun too, we will see! The picture is of my youngest daughter from the day she performed with the Anger Choir at Center for Spiritual Living.

Shopping will happen, but it isn’t our focus this year.

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I Am Absolutely Thrilled That My Bracelet Got Smarter!!

Love watching my sleep!

Picture links to Fitbit site.

I have a Fitbit, the one they call “Flex”. I got it for the holidays from my husband about two years ago. I had wanted one for a long time and so I was super happy to receive it. I was the most excited about tracking my sleep, reason being I “knew” that I didn’t get much but I really wanted to know how much I was getting.

When I found out that the Flex required me to ‘tell’ it both when I went to bed and when I got up, I was so frustrated! It seemed to me that there must have been some kind of logic that it can figure out based on my movement when I actually go to sleep. Two years go by and a handful of frustrated posts on the community site and then this week I got the email. I figured I either had to save up for a more expensive one or I had to just buy a different device with the functionality that I wanted.

Since then I’ve had a lot of fun with the challenges that I can participate in with friends and family that live both locally and far away from me, so I have grown to love the device even with this minor could-be-improved feature.

It was an almost casual announcement that with the new update it would be able to track my sleep for me. I was floored, and updated as soon as I could. I have been using it for three days now (it is set to just DO it, I am so glad I don’t have to ask for it!!) and the picture in this post is the result of that. I’m wondering if that took away some stress because looking at my numbers my sleep has improved each day since it started (mostly kidding, but maybe!).

I’ll go add some steps towards the challenge I joined for this week…let me know if you want to be “friends” on their site and do a challenge with me!!


Fitbit Flex

Posted in Exercises, Grateful, Kristin, Musings, Parent Technology | Leave a comment

Learning To Read

I’ll start out by telling you I have three children. My oldest is ten and is a voracious reader. My younger two children, who are very bright are the focus of this post. My 6 year old is now in 1st grade. She is tested into very high levels of Math, and this is when we realized that we maybe weren’t stressing the importance of reading enough…she was put into a lower level of math simply because she couldn’t read the instructions telling her what to do! I have since stocked up on sight words cards to help her start to memorize those and while I was at it I picked up some phonics card for my 4 year old son who is expected to start Kindergarten next year.

My older daughter wanted to learn to read, so it really is a whole new territory for me. So far I am finding that it helps if we are very accessible when she is reading her books/cards. I am encouraging her to spell out the words she is having a hard time with too, logic being that she at least needs to think about each of the letters and doesn’t just skip over the challenge. My son I’m hoping is absorbing some of these lessons from hearing his sister learning to read. With him we are still working on letter recognition, and his preschool gives him a book each week of the school year that is focused on the letter of the week. Reading these books each night is definitely a part of our routine. On really good nights I can get my 6yo to attempt to read the book to her brother and my older daughter/husband or I am close to help with any words that are more difficult.

Do you have any tips or tricks that you used to get your children reading? I never really worried about it too much because I know so many people who are focused on letting the child learn at their own pace…but with them in school I’m finding it is definitely an impediment to not be caught up in one area or another. This could just be a flaw of the common core curriculum that reading is required so early on in math, but at this point it is what it is so I am working to get her caught up. I’d love any tips you have to offer!

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My Favorite 4 Yummy (Easy) Fish Lunch Options..

I’ve been trying to have about around 4-5 servings of fish a week. Why? Glad you asked! It is so that I can get some of the “fish oil” and all the other things that are in them. These recipes use cans of salmon, I also of course LOVE a fillet of wild salmon as much as the next girl from Alaska. I use these because they are cheaper and easier to keep in stock, plus I find them to be very satisfying. I usually buy mine at Costco.

Here are 4 ways that I have been eating them:

Mustard Sardines:
I simply empty the can into a coffee cup after draining some of the olive oil and stir in some mustard! I love mustard!

Balsamic & Apple Sardines:
With this one, I empty the can of sardines into a coffee cup along with about half of a diced apple (usually leftovers from an apple cut up for one of my kids), stir it up, and then I drizzle some of my balsamic vinegar on it.

Celery & Mayonnaise Salmon:
I use a bowl with this one and empty the can of salmon in it, (I prefer the Alaska wild caught salmon of course) then I dice up a stick or two of celery and put in a generous dollop of mayonnaise. Sometimes I like to make the mayo too (using coconut oil and eggs from our chickens!) but usually I just use either Spectrum or Wholefoods organic brand of mayo. I enjoy this because sometimes there are some small bones (vertebrae not the needle-like ones) and they are totally edible, though not pleasant to be surprised by, and when I have celery in it them it is a lot nicer experience.

Fish Salad:
I also love to have a simple salad, I usually get a head of red organic lettuce and cut it up, put a can of sardines on it, and then whatever else I have that is yummy on salads, maybe some pumpkin seeds, blue cheese, or cut up apple. Then I drizzle a little balsamic vinegar and olive oil on it with a dash of sea salt and pepper. Yum!!

Do you have any favorite recipes for canned fish? I’d love to hear about them!!

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Discount for Gift that Keeps Giving!! Unlimited toys? Yes!

**This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links. Thanks!

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Pley Rent LEGO Toys

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Love and Paris situation

What kind of energy are you sharing with the world?I can’t help but think about the people who went through with the bombings/attacks in Paris/Beirut/everywhere else recently. These are the things I am thinking about:

1.) I worry. I worry about what kind of a world my kids are going to have, and about how much I should tell them about what is going on. I worry about them worrying about it, or being scared to expand their horizons and exposure to the world. I worry that the UN Climate Change Conference might be interrupted, because I believe that it is an important event for everyone to get involved with to save our planet as a whole.

2.) I remember. I was in New York City when 9/11 happened and it brings me to tears to remember what it was like to be so close. It was this wild mixture of being grateful, being scared, feeling connected, and yet lost. I remember how beautiful it was for a few days to walk around, make eye contact with people and to get a smile that sort of acknowledged and celebrated silently acknowledging “We survived.” and finding great peace in that. I remember the military guns in the subway station and the tanks around ground zero and how surreal it was, I remember wondering how they got them there so fast. I remember hearing that we were declaring war, and that many many more people would be dying, and how as someone who had been so close thought this was the worst idea, we need peace and love, not war.

3.) I wonder. I wonder if the world changed, and came from a place of love instead of fear, how long it would take for this kind of thing to stop happening. Would people grow up to be so angry that they want to kill people if they were loved everywhere they went and all their needs were taken care of? Are we just setting ourselves up for more of this through our treatment of each other every day? Would we all have to be like flower children of the sixties or could we just open our eyes a little bit more to see the soul of the person in front of us and love them for being them? I wonder how civilized a culture we are if we are cheering for the death of, anyone.

4.) I wish. I wish that all of us, all over the world could participate in a mandatory foreign exchange program that exposed us to at least three extremely different parts of the world from where we are from. I wish that doing this would build a greater empathy among all of us that would make it hard to consider ever participating in such violence because we know someone from every part of the world.

5.) I know. I know that love can help. I know that when we love each other and see the inner light/child glowing through every person/animal that we see that our heart and soul expands and we become more connected in creating a space where we can all thrive. I know that some people are so so hurt or scared that this is hard to believe, and I know that all I can do to help is to love them for who they are, and for their playful inner child to thrive. I also know that there are bombings happening a LOT more places and Paris, and we need to send love to all who have been touched by that as well. I know that when I have felt that I had nothing in terms of life support I knew I had love…I don’t know if it was God’s love or the spirits of my family past that I felt but I knew I’d make it if I was meant to, and that love had something to do with it.

It doesn’t feel like love can do much when there is a situation like this, but when it comes down to it love is something that is within all of us and it’s a lot more pleasant than hate. Living in fear of what could happen only hurts us. Spread the love, acceptance and support for our neighbors.

Posted in Commentary, Mom Life, World | Leave a comment

Mushrooms in the Morning…?

Mushrooms in plant container.

I found these this morning in the container one of my baby Hazelnut Trees is in.


Yes, I found a few mushrooms this morning. I am excited by things like this, new growth in my garden but I don’t have any kind of mycology certifications though I do think it would be fascinating!

But why haven’t I blogged for a few months?

Because LIFE is happening, live and in effect right now. I have hardly had time to breath it seems recently…it has been busy.FULL ON MOTHERHOOD is in effect. I’ll go ahead and post this now in case I get distracted…

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Seattle Mom of 3 Reflects Life as Parent in Seattle During Strike (Go Teachers!!)

I have three children. They are ages 10, 6, and 4. My 10 year old daughter goes to a private co-operative school after we had a hard time making public school work for her though at this point the plan is for her to try again for middle school. My 6 year old IS in pubic school, or I should say she is enrolled in public school. She is not going to school right now due to strikes. She is VERY excited to go to school and enjoys going to visit the picketing teachers, but like all of us we hope it is all over soon. My 4yo is still in preschool and so is unaffected except for the confusion around his big sister not going to school, and he is very excited to start next year!

I am absolutely on the side of the teachers union. I strongly believe that we need to make sure the people who are working to nurture and educate our children need to be well taken care of and have the resources (help, money, time etc.) to do this effectively. It really does take a special kind of person to be able to spend days on end focused on nurturing little kids minds and we need to pay attention to those needs.

I am hoping that the talks today, assuming they don’t get cancelled, result in a solution that meets the needs of our children and teachers.

Posted in Advocacy, Kristin, Seattle | Leave a comment

My Top 6 Ways to Relieve STRESS

We all experience stress sometimes. At some points it is self inflicted and other times it seems to just appear out of the sky (or a phone call/email etc.). I find that finding ways to deal with the stress, is absolutely crucial for me and keeping my health as a top priority. Here are some of the tools that I personally use when I get stressed, overwhelmed or just plain irritated:

Meditation
Meditation is something that I use at least once a day. Recently I have been using it to help quiet my mind so I can go to sleep at night. I also find that it helps my kids to go to sleep. I also like to use one of the meditation apps I have (I use Sattva the most recently) to do a quick session throughout the day when I need it. Usually it is a quick break from the kids or the computer that I need and their six minute meditations are perfect for that. I also enjoy using prayer and writing prayer treatments to help me find what I need to deal with a given situation.

Writing
I enjoy writing as a way to deal with whatever it is that is on my mind. For things I don’t want to share I tend to use 750words.com and just get it all out. Sometimes I end up writing a toned down or more level headed version of what I’m dealing with and that might be posted here or another one of my sites if I think it might be useful/interesting to someone else. Writing in journals has always been something that I enjoyed even since I was a child just learning to write.

Reading
I have always loved a good book that helps me to enjoy life a little bit more. Recently I have read lots of books like The Four Agreements, This Thing Called You, Radical Acceptance, 29 Gifts, Soul Recovery and The Last Best Cure are all good ones that help me to process what it is that I’m having a hard time with. I’d love to hear about books that have helped you in this way too if you have any recommendations please mention them in the comments!

Exercise
I absolutely find Yoga to be a very calming activity, one that I like to maintain as a regular part of my life as often as possible. Sometimes though, when I’m really angry though I just feel like I need to RUN. When I feel like that, I do it! I am not a “runner” really and so it doesn’t usually last that long but it is definitely something that helps me a lot (hello endorphin’s!) when I really need to cool down mentally. I also enjoy walking, usually with someone as it is a great way to have a conversation with someone and also get some exercise. After writing this I can see why some people love having a dog (aka dedicated walking companion) so much!

Gardening
Gardening is something that I really enjoy. Something about cultivating the life of a plant that starts as a little seed and then is consumed by my family is very very satisfying. I am constantly working with and in my garden and indoor plants. I was born on Earth Day and that has helped me to embrace this part of myself. I am also obsessed with doing it as frugally as possible because my gardening life actually started out of frustration at the expense of organic food and wanting to grow it myself. I love saving seeds and feeding my kids things I make out of what I grow (or just letting them eat it out of the garden of course!) recently this has included salsa made of my tomatoes and jalapenos, jalapeno chicken (I bought the chicken, it wasn’t one of ours!), and earlier in the summer lots of berries (blue/black/and rasp-berries) and peas.

Painting
Painting and also drawing are things that I absolutely love to do. Admittedly I haven’t done either for a very long time. I would say that if I were measuring my “health” in each of these areas and how often I utilize them this would be at the bottom of the list, and I suppose that makes sense since I’ve actually written it this way! I sometimes joke that Art School for me was really just an intensive four years of Art Therapy, probably about as expensive too. I find it easier to express myself in this way, and it’s been hard to do since becoming a mom and particularly the last few years of moving so much. It is a goal to have a space dedicated to making artwork in my garage by the end of the year…I hope that will be a big announcement that will prepare me for next year!

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What if Exposure to Celebrity Gossip Headlines Actually Makes People Sick?

For a long time I have avoided Safeway. I much prefer Wholefoods or the local co-op grocery stores. A big part of “why” is the quality of the food, it would be a dream if it was “all” organic but truth is that it is not. One thing that is absolutely a solid reason for me to avoid places like Safeway or Target is to avoid seeing the Celebrity Gossip headlines. I find them disturbing. Celebrities are people that we know about, we know about them because they either did something amazing, like their performance in a movie or something or they did something else that caught our attention. Lots of us find ourselves motivated by them, wanting to be as successful as they are. So when we see a headline about how they cheated/were cheated on or about some horrible drug overdose that may or may not have actually happened I believe that if in any way we ever felt like we related to them, it feels almost like it is happening to us.

I am not a doctor at all but I read a lot. I know that stress is bad, and the more it shows itself in our lives the worse of an impact it has on us. For years I made a point to completely avoid even looking at the magazines if I went to a store that puts them on display…it was great, I didn’t notice them. Now though, I have kids that can or can almost read, so I pay attention to what they might be seeing, and it is horrible.

I really do wonder if exposure to those magazines correlates with sickness, because in my heart I believe that it must. Maybe I am just to empathetic but I feel sorry for the potentially wronged celebrities, and I feel sorry for them having to deal with all the rumors being spread so far and wide. I also feel even more sorry for the people who take the time to read these magazines (People, Star, National Enquirer etc.) almost as much as I feel sorry for someone that feels like they are getting a good deal when they get a “super sized” soda or sugary iced drink.

I admit I don’t often go to Safeway, usually it is to stop by the Starbucks they have inside which isn’t nearly as offensive but sometimes I do, there is one near me and sometimes I need just one ingredient for a recipe or some beer (if they have Omission IPA in stock) and I avoid bringing the kids if I can so they aren’t tempted by the sugary temptations or read any of these magazines. When I go by myself and I do see them…it usually makes me feel a little sad, not just for the celebrity but for the state of the world. I’d much rather read about real news and what is good in the world, what about you?

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