Wednesday, June 11, 2008

a little "something glorious" for my vegan friends...


photo courtesy of www.wholeliving.com

...and all you veggies, health nuts, and people who just love a delicious, light and meat-free meal now and again. (you could even serve it as a side dish, although i'll warn you now- it will steal all the glory from your main course!!)

we had this for dinner last night, and can i just say YUMMMMMMM-EE! seriously...i ripped it from the pages of body + soul magazine, and it is destined to become an MVP in the gauthier kitchen.

bulgur salad with cherries

ingredients:
1 cup bulgur wheat
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tbsp walnut oil
3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 shallot, minced
1/2 lb fresh sweet cherries, halved and pitted
1/2 cup of chopped fresh tarragon, chives & parsley
1/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

take a medium saucepan with a tight fitting lid, and bring 2 cups of water to a boil.
stir in the bulgur wheat and about 1/4 tsp sea salt.
cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer until water is absorbed and bulgur is tender. (about 15 mins)
while the bulgur cooks: whisk together walnut oil, lemon juice and shallot in a medium bowl, and season it with salt and pepper.
add cooked bulgur, toss to combine, and refrigerate uncovered until cool. (about 10 minutes)
remove bulgur mix from fridge and add cherries, chopped herbs and walnuts. toss to combine.
season again with salt and pepper and serve.
(you can also serve it over mixed greens for a nice touch, and some added nutritional value.)

there are 275 calories; 7 g protein; 12 g fat; 39 g carbs and 9 g fiber per serving.
ENJOY!!!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

before and after

so i promised some interesting before and after shots, didn't i? these are admittedly bound to be more interesting to me than to any of you, dear readers...and yet, i feel compelled to share! in addition, i am in full-on priming/painting mode today, so i will no doubt have some additional before and afters to share soon. today i am on a particular quest to 'neutralize' the wall colors in our house, to make it more market friendly, and also in hopes that the lighter color walls = bigger rooms philosophy will prove true.** seriously, NONE of our 4 bedrooms are small (particularly for a bungalow from the early 1900's!, but even for a more modern abode), and yet, we have gotten feedback about 'too small' bedrooms, so i am pulling out all the stops and trying to find *SOMETHING* up my sleeve that will SELL. THIS. HOUSE. there ya go.

**it is worth adding that i am also a fan of the more subtle tones i've selected. in the overzealous excitement of first time home ownership (and no more apartment-white walls!) i may have gone a *bit* overboard with bold color the first time around. and yeah, i am just now correcting that. YOU try painting with a 3 year old at your heels!!!

so, the most notable before and after moments in the past 2 weeks have included a transformation from a blue slipcovered sofa set to a chocolate brown one!

BEFORE:


and AFTER:




now, the new brown tone is presenting some 'design challenges' of it's own. however, in my opinion, it is quite an improvement over the outdated (and fairly faded) 'denim blue' of yesteryear, and is worth the shuffling and re-imagining that will now need to happen in my living room!

the other before and after i have for you today is another one of my many haircuts- LOL! i think i am *finally* finding peace with the fact that i am much more suited to short hair, despite the occasional longing for thick, lustrous, flowing locks in the tradition of christine or kierstin. so, here you go....the most recent incarnation:

BEFORE (did i mention that my sweetheart graduated with his masters on may 10th?? swoon):


and AFTER (yes, i have noticed how much 'puffier' my face looks with 'longer' hair. yikes.):


so, there you have it. some of the humdrum happenings at my house as of late. :) may you be inspired in your own home improvement efforts and grooming endeavors. LOL.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Tickle



Ella: "Mom, does Nashy have armpits?"

Me: "Well, no...not like we do."

Ella: "Oh. She has dogpits."

I have several posts brewing- before and after shots of all sorts, amazing free stuff to show off, a few requests for design input....etc., but for the moment, the goofy kid conversation will have to suffice ;)

Monday, May 12, 2008

Singing in the Rain

After a fairly nice weekend weather-wise (and life-in-general-wise too: Robert graduated from his Masters program on Saturday!!!), today has been all gray and rain and gloom. And as content as I would be to curl up on the couch (of which I must post before and after pictures, being that I dyed it this past week!) with coffee and a novel while the rain slides down the panes of my living room windows, my daughter does *not* deem that appropriate rainy weather behavior. For what she does deem acceptable, see exhibit A:



And since I am a mama who believes quite zealously in the ideas espoused by folks such as author, Richard Louv , I quickly abandoned my comfie couch-curling aspirations, in favor of pulling on our rain boots, bundling up in coats fit for snow (it was cooooold!), and splashing in the puddles for over an hour. As much as I was dreading the departure from the warmth of my cozy home, I have to admit that I think I had as much fun as Ella did: spinning and dancing and frolicking in the wet, wonderful weather!




We marched and sang and giggled. We picked up pieces of litter, and collected bits of nature. (I even found some bundled white flowers and funky, fuzzy green globes, grounded from their perches in trees and bushes by the persistence of the rain, that will make wonderful, natural design elements once I commit them to vases and other vessels! Score!)

When we came in our fingers felt like icicles, wet curls framed our rosy faces, and Ella's rain boots were 3/4 of the way filled with rainwater. She quickly de-robed and climbed into a steamy bubble bath, while I brewed hot vanilla tea. And finally, toweled off and tea-d up, we settled in under blankets and books, BEHIND those wet windows...

And now, Mary Oliver on the rain:

Last Night the Rain Spoke to Me

Last night
the rain
spoke to me
slowly, saying,

what joy
to come falling
out of the brisk cloud,
to be happy again

in a new way
on the earth!
That's what it said
as it dropped,

smelling of iron,
and vanished
like a dream of the ocean
into the branches

and the grass below.
Then it was over.
The sky cleared.
I was standing

under a tree.
The tree was a tree
with happy leaves,
and I was myself,

and there were stars in the sky
that were also themselves
at the moment
at which moment

my right hand
was holding my left hand
which was holding the tree
which was filled with stars

and the soft rain -
imagine! imagine!
the long and wondrous journeys
still to be ours.

Monday, May 05, 2008

"Mom. You're beautiful."

Spoken by a freshly-bathed, towel-wrapped little one on the couch, who is grinning ear-to-ear as she speaks the words.

And THAT is what makes motherhood the most heartwarming experience known to man.

(For the record, motherhood is simultaneously the most heart-wrenching experience know to man. I'm just sayin'....)

Sunday, May 04, 2008

4:24 am...

...and here I sit awake.

It has become apparent in the past 2 weeks that Ella suffers BADLY from outdoor allergies. The poor child looks as if she is chronically ill, dark circles like bruises beneath her red, itchy eyes. She complains frequently, "My nose doesn't work! I can't smell things!" And every room of my house seems to be littered with wadded up tissues. She doesn't really blow her nose though, just sort of crumples tissues up and dabs at her nostrils while making pathetic little purring sounds meant to evoke sympathy for her plight. Melodrama is her forte.

The other side effect of these blasted allergies is that my child, the one who has slept beautifully since birth, is up all throughout the night. She wants snuggles and tissues and water, but most of all, she wants mommy and daddy to "make her nose work." The best we can do is to prop her up with a leaning tower of pillows, slather her little chest with Vick's Vaporub, and shoot some lovely saline spray up her nose, which you know she adores ;)

Tonight she roused at about 1:30 am, and couldn't be coaxed back to sleep until after 2:30. She is now dreaming peacefully and breathing LOUDLY (almost a snore) next to her Daddy. I, however, could not fall back to sleep. So, after nearly 2 hours of tossing and turning, here I sit at my dining room table, casting jealous glances at the dog, who is conked out in the corner. I'm sipping some 'Calm the Mind' lemon wintergreen tea, and hoping that it will do its job, and that I might sneak in 2-3 hours of sleep before my lovely girl wakes for the day...

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Fresh Squeezed




She winds up....


And hurls the peel...

She scores!





Deeeee-lish!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Lovely

-an impressive selection of gourmet teas, packaged and mailed with great care, by my sweet texan friend, jenni


-and the handmade, handwritten card that came with


-a vintage style tin for storing above-mentioned teas


-a night of scrumptious eats, great music (x2), and fundraising for a fantastic organization that's doing great things for kids in our city

-a slowly growing collection of scarves and greeting cards, made with love and care by a dear, long-distance friend and kindred spirit

-so many days in a row (6 and counting) of beautiful, spend-the-entire-day-outside weather

-colorful colanders overflowing with colorful, local, organic produce


-the sort of friend who comes over the moment she hears you're down, and who brings a mouthwatering lunch, to boot!

-a 2 1/2 year old and 3 1/2 year old playing harmoniously for 4 straight hours, without naps



-soft baby skin, sweet baby smiles, and swinging that baby to sleep


Monday, April 21, 2008

one weekend's work



did i mention that we love freecycle??!!??

in the interest of full disclosure, the swingset did not come like this. in fact, when my brother-in-law showed up to help me load our newfound 'treasure' into the truck i'd rented to haul it away, i anticipated his eye rolls before he ever arrived. and i was not disappointed. the swing set was old and very rusty. the sliding board had broken away from the body of the swing set, and the steps weren't safely secured for toddler ascents. did i mention that the chains on the swings needed replacing? badly.

and yet, i could see potential. i knew in my gut that for under a hundred bucks (truck rental included), i could bring this baby back to life. and 2 days later, with the help of a wire brush, some industrial-strength rustoleum spray paint products, plastic-coated chain at a mere 47 cents a foot, and a hubby who encourages my half-baked projects, we have:
-a swing set saved from the landfill
-a 3 1/2 year old who is over the moon
and
-a piece of play equipment that we could never have afforded at retail

woohoo!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Do You Freecycle?



If you don't, you should! What is Freecycle? In summary, it is a community-based network for sending your perfectly good (but unused or unwanted) items to another home, instead of to the landfill! You can track down your local Freecycle group by visiting their website, and using the locater function. Most Freecycle groups operate through a Yahoo Group, where you receive emails from other list members offering up their used goods. In this particular case I recommend that you don't use the daily digest function. While it will keep your email from being overwhelmed with individual Freecycle offers, items tend to go fast on Freecycle. And it's likely that by day's end, the item that you've got your eye on will already have been 'adopted.' In the spirit of stewardship, and our commitment to REDUCE, REUSE and RECYCLE as much as possible, we are huge fans of Freecycle here in the Gauthier home. Have you seen the video over at Annie Leonard's site, The Story of Stuff? It may just turn you into a Freecycle freak like me ;) If you haven't yet viewed this compelling short, then brew a cuppa, and settle in for an enlightening, frightening, and inspiring 20 minutes.

If you have already stumbled upon this gem of a video at some point in your surfing, then you probably understand how compelled we feel towards 'doing our part' to keep the trash heaps and landfills from multiplying, the toxic chemicals from billowing, and our global community from suffocating under the weight of mindless consumerism fueled by the 'perceived obsolescence' manufactured by money-hungry marketers and corporations to keep us buying, buying, buying....

On that note, here are the (used) items that we've been the grateful recipients (not purchasers!) of, over the last several weeks:

As aspiring (pesco?) vegetarians, and admitted 'foodies' we were thrilled to receive 3 vegetarian cookbooks to add to our collection: The Best 125 Meatless Mexican Dishes (perfect for Robert!), Tomato Blessings and Radish Teachings and The Vegetarian Epicure


Ella was the happy recipient of a fat stack of gently used children's books, including classics such as 'Danny and the Dinosaur', 'Dr. Seuss' ABCs', 'The Little Engine that Could' and a thick collection of Classic Children's Poetry. We are firm believers in the sentiment expressed by Robert Frost, that parents should "surround youngsters with so many books that they stumble over them."


I also got a few books out of the deal: a classic copy of J.D. Salinger's 'The Catcher in the Rye' in mint condition, and 2 volumes that caught my eye as a potential future homeschooling mom: The Homeschooling Handbook and one of Rudolf Steiner's tomes on Waldorf educational theory.


Did I mention that generous folks sometimes 'freecycle' BRAND NEW items? I was fortunate enough to be 'the first responder' and recipient of this Conair Garment Steamer...an item I've been eyeing for a couple of years now. SCORE!


Finally, I was able to acquire 2 items that we had not only been hoping to add to our home, when funds permitted, but that will also provide the perfect outlet for my restless hands and itching creative urges! (Check back soon for the 'after' photos!)

A chalkboard for the playroom wall:


And a vanity/desk combo for the 3-1/2 year old who loves to primp and to 'practice her letters.'


There you have it friends- Freecycle: just another (hybrid!) vehicle for saving the planet while also saving your budget! (Who can argue with that?!) Continue to reduce, reuse, recycle, repurpose and reimagine!

Thursday, April 03, 2008



Rhythms are a force to be reckoned with. There are those rhythms that we can’t help but notice: our daily sleep-wake patterns; as women, our monthly menstrual cycles; and as mothers, the rhythm that reminds us that our 3 ½ year old must still squeeze in an afternoon nap, lest she transform from beloved child into braying beast.

On the flip side, there are rhythms that rush steady and deep through the core of our lives, subterranean rivers affecting us just as profoundly, yet more easily passing under the radar of our notice. Today I find myself struck by one of these strong, yet subtle rhythms.

As you can see, the last entry posted on my blog prior to today was added on Monday, September 10th: the day that we tragically lost our second child to miscarriage.

In the months following, there were at least a dozen valid reasons for my blogging to wane- the hectic pace of 2 working parents, the craziness involved in trying to sell a house in the current market, and the fact that the ‘terrible twos’ are, in my opinion, a myth fully eclipsed by the trials of ‘3.’

And yet, as I sit today to revive my blog, I can’t help but be acutely aware, and a tad amazed, that my voice is returning on April 3rd- just 3 days shy of the date on which we expected to usher another human life into the world. There’s not much more to say than that. In the aching absence of laboring to bring life and breath to our second child, I suppose there are other things (related things) ready to be birthed out of me. Hence, my intrepid return to the blogosphere.

Incidentally, we named the child that we lost last Fall. We named her Wren, after reading this characterization of the species, and finding it both entirely and eerily fitting:

They are mainly small and inconspicuous except for their loud and often complex songs.