Wednesday, September 30, 2009

New classes for fall!

THE DANGEROUSLY DARING CLASS FOR BOYS AND GIRLS Ages 5-10 Thursdays 4-5:30 Oct. 16th through Nov. 20th $150

WANTED: Adventure-seeking kids ages 5-10 for zombie-movie making, water balloon catapult building, miniature golf course design, and more. If you're an innovative free spirit with a flair for tinkering and creating, this is the class for you.

GIFTMAKING FOR THE HOLIDAYS Ages 2-5, Wednesdays 10-12, Nov. 4th through Dec. 9th, $150

Replace acquisitional zeal with the joy of making and giving. With an emphasis on creative reuse and natural materials, we'll be making fizzy bath bombs, homemade bath salts, delectable peppermint candies and cocoa mix, hand-dyed play silks, beeswax candles, and many more useful and delightful little items.

BUILD YOUR OWN DOLLHOUSE: Four hour workshop Ages 5-12 Saturday 1-5 October 24th $50

Build a simple four room doll house and decorate it to your heart's content. Build furniture, create your own dolls, paint the walls blazing chartreuse if you want to... it's your chance to create the tiny house of your dreams.

CARPENTRY: THREE SIMPLE MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS Ages 5-10 Fridays Nov. 6th through Dec. 11th $150

Build a handheld thumb piano, a band box, and a glockenspiel.
Carpentry classes are co- taught with Doerte Fimke of The Montessori Center.


Build a hand held labyrinth game. Ages 5-10 Saturday Oct. 17th 2-5 October 17th $50

Build a birdhouse-- design and create the birdhouse of your dreams. Ages 5-10 Saturday Nov. 14th $50

To register, contact Kami at
More about me at

Monday, September 28, 2009


Ooh I just think this idea is SO exciting and fun! I found it in a book that my friend Doerte brought back from Germany. It's the perfect open ended and satisfying project that you can make as elaborate or as simple as you want.

Friday, September 25, 2009

If you'd like to participate in a little wedding-lust with me...

*Swoon*, *sigh*, *stars-in-my-eyes*....

Matt and I got married like, all on our owners, took a picnic with us to the banks of the Blanco River and said our vows to each other and then rode bikes over to the Blanco County Courthouse and got married by the...uh... is it possible it was the sheriff? It was a guy in a cowboy hat. It was all VERY fun and adorable but maybe just someday maybe we'll have a big ol' wedding re-do with family and friends. We wouldn't be quite as cute and perfect as these people here. But maybe almost.

El chiquito librito

I made this book for my friend's birthday and it seriously took 15 minutes... for some reason it is very empowering to me to be able to just sit down and whip out a wee bookie. Probably because I've spent my whole life in thrall of The Book... I used to sit down and 'write' long stories with made-up letters before I learned this whole alphabet biz... Come to think of it, I used to make tons of books back then, too. Then I gave it up for the last twenty, twenty five years or so... nice to be back on the production line.

By the by, just get yourself a nice big tapestry needle, it's like the biggest needle you can get. It really pierces through the paper quite easily. I've also been using this really sturdy hemp twine that I found a whole lot of at a thrift store this summer. Just use something really strong that can stand up to a little wear and tear...for all that raucous readin' and writin' you're going to be doing with it....

Monday, September 21, 2009


Oh my golly gee... these newfangled contraptions will never fail to astonish and amaze. I've been weeping and wailing over the fact that, although I have a beautiful new camera all full of beautiful new photos just ripe to be uploaded, I didn't think I could do that on this little borrowed laptop. As it turns out it is in fact as easy if not in fact easier than pie, if pie is in fact as easy as they say. Now without further ado... some of our adventures over the past few weeks that I haven't been able to blog about (OH the HORROR!)

Carpentry is awesome...

...or, as Jack asked me yesterday, "Would you rather be a carpenter OR build robots when you grow up?" Good question, kid. Lucky for me, I grew up to do a little bit of both!

I just met with my friend Doerte about our plans for carpentry classes this fall and winter. She is German and is just back from spending the summer over there... she came back with these absolutely wonderful hand drills that are so simple and so sturdy,all metal, so perfect for children to use. In our class last spring we used these Fiskar hand drills, partially plastic, which were neat but we really put them to the test, and they were not up to the task, oh no they were not. It is SO not fun frustrating kids who are trying to learn an exciting new skill, not our intention at all.

Anyway, we got all jazzed about this wonderful new projects we are going to do in our classes... one of those hand held wooden labyrinth games that you fuss around with to get the tiny little marble or ball bearing through the maze... real wooden puzzles... maybe one of those wooden pull-toys so popular with toddlers... all sorts of really groovy ideas are in the mix. It is one of my favorite things in the world... talking with a friend and getting all exciting about making and creating and doing. I love it!

Now on Friday we will get together and start building the prototypes. It's been a while since I've hammered and sawed and drilled... let the making commence. Hooray!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

I've seen the future, and it will be... quote Prince...

I am completely and utterly overjoyed by this discovery I made last night... earthships. There is no doubt in my mind that this is the direction we are going in! These houses are completely sustainable, they are built out of old tires and cans but look AMAZING, this really gives me hope that the future is not grim and Mad Max but instead just this whole other phase where we really raise our consciousness and live in tune with the earth.

I want to build one of these immediately, like right now, TODAY! Got any tires to give me?

Friday, September 18, 2009


I thought this was a good quote from Elizabeth Gilbert of Eat, Pray, Love fame. It rings so true for me because I'm always looking for that one big fix OR thinking I've learned the one big lesson that's going to make life perfect from now on... and then I always find myself in the weeds again and cursing myself because I thought I had it all figured out. Life sure would be easier if I could learn to ride the waves and enjoy the upswing and have compassion for myself when it feels like I'm right back where I started, once again, after all that.
"Absolute certainty is not something I strive for anymore. I've learned the hard way that destiny usually looks upon our most strident convictions with amusement, or perhaps even pity. (Oh, those silly humans! So desperate for their absolutes!) Sometimes it seems like the only job of the world is to gently (or not so gently) separate us from our deepest assurances, exposing us once again to that ultimate moral teaching tool: humility.
Of course, it's not always a pleasant experience to have our certainties stripped away. Sureness is something like a neck brace, which we clamp around our lives, hoping to somehow protect ourselves from the frightening, constant whiplash of change. Sadly, the brace doesn't always hold. I could list for you a tragicomic litany of all the things I was once mistakenly completely certain about, and I'm sure you can do the same. Maybe you, too, were once absolutely sure that you'd found your great love, or your final best friend, or the perfect mentor, meditation, or medication that would --- once and for all--- never fail you. And then? Slowly, it seems, we are not so sure after all. Such is our slippery toehold here on Earth, and so it has always been.
Perhaps it is for this reason that the people we instinctively turn to in times of trouble are those who--- we sense-- have made space within their convictions for doubt and mystery. Compassion grows best, it appears, in the soft spots beneath quiet surrender. So I try very hard to go easy on the firm conclusions. These days I settle for feeling only 85 percent sure about most things, most of the time. I believe this is keeping me sane, and I also believe that it's keeping me human. In fact, I'm 85 percent sure of it. "

I apologize for my absence....

... but my computer really and truly got zapped by lightning last weekend (OK, maybe not really and truly, but something dreadful befell our poor electronic beast, and it just happened to be in the midst of a thunderstorm) and so I've been on hiatus since then. We're borrowing a friend's laptop so my posts for the time being will be but a crude approximation of their former glory... but those of you out there will just have to make do with these paltry crumbs I have to offer. Sorry about that.

We just got back from a visit to Green Gate Farms and though it was a wondrous place with many welcoming people and extremely enjoyable farm animals of the goat, pig, and chicken variety, my kids were in such prickly moods that I'm now grumpy as all get out. So that's what you get when you try to take your kids out on an ultra wholesome excursion.... of course, I joke, I jest, you know how it is with these kids, you win some, you lose some. And Green Gate Farms is really awesome, and they're planning on having these extremely kid friendly Fridays happening from 10-12 with a farmstand and kid music singers and local authors reading their books and maybe some simple friendly 'classes' with the farmer... and then on Saturdays it will be a bit more for the older, school age kids, some more advanced topics. They said last year they did a '5-H' type thing where kids learned how to raise and care for a pig. Oh, and I must say, while we were out observing those hilarious hugely fat laaaaaazy black pigs lying in their mud wallow, these three kids came out to give them some peanuts... one of whom was Avery, the daughter of the farmers, who is 8 years old and just as friendly and chatty as can be, really a brilliant ambassador for the farm (and for the Discovery School, which she attends and which is right across the street). Anyway, it was a very awesome farm. And it had a playhouse and some little trikes... just lovely for chillin' with your little ones.
Of course my grand plan for being so irritated with my kiddos when I returned home was to look at blogs and ignore them while their ire steadily increased. It worked out great. One blogger, Dottie Angel, whom I read occasionally, has set herself the challenge described in the picture... don't worry, it's not like she's all self righteous about it, but humorous and just as curious as us to see if she's able to do it or not. I partially felt like I'd like to jump on board and do the same but then I start thinking of all the little odds and ends that might make the pledge difficult... the pens, cell phones, toothbrushes and lightbulbs that make my world go 'round, and then I wussed out. So, maybe next year. After Tif here has given it a whirl.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Field and flower lore and legend

I usually consider myself to be a bit of a know-nothing when it comes to botany, and I always wish I knew more, and I was actually pleasantly surprised when I visited Oregon this summer (having not been there for two years or more) and found myself having quite a lot to say about the flora thereabouts to my boys. Not much practical, no scientific names or herbal applications, but just interesting little bits and pieces that are really so common and familiar to me that I almost don't think to say them. But the kids ate it up. Tickle your chin with a buttercup... if it turns yellow, that means you like butter. Pluck just one of the individual purple petals from the head of a red clover and daintily sip out the tiny drop of nectar within. Tie together the green clover into long chains of necklaces and bracelets. Find the wild mint that grows by the creek and chew the leaves. And of course there's always the dandelion, did anyone else do this? You pick a yellow dandelion, say, "Mama had a baby.... and her head popped off" and then flick off the flower head with your thumb... I don't know, that one was all the rage in grade school. I kinda held back from sharing that one, it just seems too perverse, though gosh knows the little hell-raisers would probably love it.
So anyway, I was at Half Price Books yesterday and I stumbled on this book on the clearance shelf for two bucks, signed by the author, no less. Reading it tonight was like manna for the soul... it was just full of stuff like that.... stories and poems, traditions, games, rhymes, and ways to play, with all the sweet little flowers, grasses and leaves out there, the most fragrant and immediate, natural and vital, plentiful and affordable playthings that exist.


Wednesday, September 9, 2009


This recipe is just really yummy and delicious. It's kind of a good the-cupboard-is-bare type recipe, because you can improvise it and tweak it and you probably have the most key ingredients in your cupboard most days.

I was glad to have a reason to make this... I didn't have the normal multitude of eggplants to work with this week because I FORGOT TO PICK UP MY CSA BOX ON SATURDAY (oh man I just wither a little bit every time I think about that... this frickin-frackin' long weekend had me all turned around...) ... so anyway, I made lemons out of lemonade, or rather, wait, that's not right either... you know what I mean... without further ado here's the recipe...

CARABACCIA (Tuscan Onion Soup) (Otherwise known as the Italian version of French Onion Soup) ( A kinda cool article about it here...)

  • 1/4 cup diced pancetta or prosciutto (about 3 ounces)(or really just bacon, or more olive oil)
  • 2 cups chopped celery (3 large ribs)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic (3 cloves)
  • 1 cup roughly cut carrots (about 1 large carrot)
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, more for brushing toast
  • 1 tablespoon minced rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon minced sage
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 6 large red onions (3 1/2 pounds) sliced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt, more to taste
  • 1 pinch crushed red pepper
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 1/2 quarts vegetable stock, chicken stock or water
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala or equal parts ground cinnamon, clove and mace
  • 1 1/2 cups shelled fresh or frozen and defrosted green peas
  • black pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 6 large eggs
  • 6 slices Tuscan bread
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or pecorino cheese


Purée pancetta, celery, garlic and carrots in a food processor until mixture is a coarse paste.
In an eight-quart pan, heat 1/3 cup olive oil, rosemary and sage over medium-high heat for two minutes. Add paste, turn heat to medium-low, and cook, stirring frequently, for five minutes. Add white wine, and simmer 10 minutes more.
Add onions, salt and red pepper, and sauté over low heat, stirring frequently, until onions are very soft and some have turned golden brown, about 20 minutes.
Add balsamic vinegar and stock, and simmer 25 minutes over low heat. Add spice mixture and peas, and cook 5 minutes more. Season with salt and black pepper to taste.
While soup simmers, bring 2 cups water and the white wine vinegar to a boil in a small saucepan. Reduce heat until no bubbles break surface of water. Crack two eggs into water, and cook 4 minutes. Gently spoon eggs out of water, and reserve in a shallow dish with water in it. Bring water back to a boil, and repeat process until all the eggs are poached.
Lightly toast bread. Brush each slice with olive oil, and sprinkle with two teaspoons Parmigiano-Reggiano. Toast again or broil until cheese has melted, about two minutes.
Lay a slice of toast in each of six deep soup bowls, and top with a poached egg. Ladle soup over egg, sprinkle with remaining cheese, and serve.
6 servings

Monday, September 7, 2009

A book for my Ma

I've been feeling all extra super lovey-dovey towards my Mom so yesterday when I was feeling very book-makey I decided to make her this tiny little tome about how much I appreciate her. It feels absolutely amazing to feel this way... like a giant monkey has just leaped off my back (and is now scampering up the side of the Empire State Building). I've been mad and upset with my Mom a fair bit for the last twenty years at least, and about two years ago I decided that making peace with this lady that borne me might just be key to some major release.

My mom did NOT get along with her mom, and her mom's mom died when she was a kid (and she was raised by Mama Biggie, a well-meaning childless auntie who wasn't exactly warm and cuddly) SO I set a major intention to heal this legacy of mothers and daughters not getting the chance to have a loving and close relationship. Because I feel like I couldn't bear it if my little girl and I aren't close as close can be our whole lives long.
For such a long time there I've felt like I was stumbling around in the dark with this little project of mine... I thought I would be able to find some great book that would lead the way but I never found anything that was quite right for me... I tried to start a woman's group about working on your relationship with your mother but that never got off the ground either... but here I am 2 years later and I suddenly find that when I think of my Mom I feel nothing but a huge amount of warmth and cuddly gratitude .

I wish I could tell you exactly how I did it... but I'm not really sure. It reminds me of weaning... whenever you start some really hard project.. and it just seems inconceivable you'll ever achieve the desired result. I just kept chipping away at it and like every time those mean and mad feelings started swarming me... I just tried to breathe through them and remind myself that she's just doing the absolutely best she knows how... probably with the very best of intentions...

Of course I actually went home to see her this summer and saw red daily, it's amazing how lightning fast one can get triggered even with the most lily-white and earnest of intentions... family stuff is intense... but still things were a million times better than they have been in the past, when we have often on a much-anticipated visit had to stop speaking to each other half way through because we were so annoyed and angry with each other. This ain't no way to be with a mom who's really as sweet and caring as mine. I'm so glad we're on the road to recovery, because I want the love I want the love I want the love! For me, for Henny, for my Mom, for all the moms and daughters out there who are having trouble seeing each others' essential goodness... the amount of energy that will be released when that war is over will cause quite a ripple. Might even heal the rip in the ol' ozone layer...

Sunday, September 6, 2009

My version of heaven, at least partially.

I have been feeling that old pull to get out the art supplies and play, really really just PLAY, and the opportunity presented itself today when the Hen went down for her nap-nap and Matt took the boys out to Home Depot and I went and put on the delicious ear candy that is Amy's podcasts and got out a whole bunch of art supplies and just went to town-o.

I was quite lost in heavenly bliss until the baby woke up and right quick crawled up onto the table to investigate. She immediately strove to dump out my watercolor paints water and dump out my tea and tear up some essential papers... I'm glad she was enjoying herself, but wait just a minute how does Soulemama get all that stuff done with all four children around 24/7 again?!?! Something is just not right with that picture... perhaps they're all crawling around with a ball-and-chain that slows them down just enough so she can keep ahead of the game... that's the dirty little secret that we'll all be thrilled to hear about one day... when her kids write that tell-all book...

Must. Make!!!

Super easy, too. Instructions can be found here.

Found at design*sponge via Craftzine.

Oh, she LOVES the cute little moccasins I made her!

... she's mad because 1) she wants the camera 2) she wants to put on her other shoes 3) I won't let her nurse all night long 4) she's a raging, opinionated toddler and this is freaking me out! I wasn't counting on having an angry little lion cub for a third child.

Anyway, about those moccasins... they were quite satisfying and fun to make, and maybe she'll warm up to them one of these days...?

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Les petits artistes

I am back in the saddle again, teaching for the first time in two months (I assumed no one wanted to attend classes in my backyard during the blazing hot months of July and August) and it feels so so so SO good to be playing and painting and making art and getting messy with these SWEET little dears... I have been glowing all day and into the night from the wonderful energy of it all... and with not one but two of the youngest kids I've had in this class yet (12 months exactly) and they totally enjoyed it and enthusiastically participated, as you can see...
thanks to the brilliant and beautiful Kiera (mama to this adorable little blond Ari) for the fantastic photos!

Oh and additional sweetness for me... little Henny has attended my classes many times, as a babe in a sling, but this was her first time when she was big enough to join in.... how fun, what a milestone! She took to it like a duck to water, too.