Monday, February 7, 2011

Music Therapy

This morning I needed to go into my daughter's preschool to talk to the teacher briefly, which I knew meant that sweet little girl would beg me to stay for Good Morning Time.

At her school, they begin each day on the playground at 9:00 am and then around 9:15 am they get called for Good Morning Time. This is where they sing songs make announcements and just celebrate life, and love, and all things beautiful.

We love her school. Kids get to be kids there and they grow just the right amount. I believe the teachers truly love the kids and they are just as wonderful and always welcoming with us parents.

Regular preschool is only three hours for our kiddo, Monday- Wednesday- Friday. Parents are always welcome. However, staying means you lose part of your time to accomplish other things while you are minus one hip monkey.

When I told C that we would go into school this morning and stay for Good Morning Time (GMT), she was all joy. Immediately, she started teaching me a couple of songs I would need to know. Adorable!

Alas, we were already late for school.

We got there as the kids were filing into the big room for GMT. Picture the Pied Piper and all of these little people following him in anticipation of greatness. It is amazing how they have 100+ kids who all know what they are supposed to do. I considered it a resume builder when I taught both of my children to walk to the car and get directly into their seats.

So, as I went to find C's teacher, another teacher helped both of my kids into GMT (see, I told you they were awesome. Miss B knew I needed to chat with the teacher for half a second, so she took both my monkeys).

By the time I got into GMT, both of my kids were sitting together, singing, and making all of the necessary gestures. So cute. They were practicing Valentine's Day songs and I think my two kids were in their own world. C was teaching her little brother what he is supposed to be doing and then hugging him and helping him along. This was the first GMT that I wasn't chasing little brother and trying to catch him so we could watch his sister. He was off in the sea of children, not being a toddler who needed my constant attention. My kids were together, being the best friends we hope they will be. They were singing, and so was my heart.

I was smitten. Somewhere between a song about big hugs around the neck, and giving out love and not holding it back, and my daughter's beaming pride when she got called up to lead the school in a song of her choice to sing for her Mommy (today it was Twinkle Twinkle Little Star), I was using all of my might to fight back tears.

There were more songs about how beautiful the world is, being proud of myself, and Skidda-ma-rinkie-dink-dink, and I couldn't help but think, "sometimes, we just need a good round of preschool songs to get us back on track."

Today, I got to sit back and completely enjoy watching my kids enjoy life. Priceless.

No more errands today. I called the hubs to share the story with him and then decided that I needed to write this one down and remind myself: Slow down, don't move so fast.

Happy week before Valentine's Day. Go soak in some love

Friday, February 4, 2011

My New(est) Studio

Sorry, this is not a tour of my sewing studio. I would love to give you one, but alas, I actually create there so it is not picture ready. That is part of why I love my sewing room. If the kids need me, I can walk away from my projects and close the door so that I can come back and pick up where I left off. Maybe I can virtually give you a virtual tour!?! Here is how I want you to picture it: Shelves neatly stacked with fabric (there is a rack of 6 strong shelves); fun containers neatly kept on a shelf (well, you see the picture, the containers are repurposed from jobs they no longer need to do); thread holders hanging from the wall with colors grouped and arranged neatly (the thread holder is there, you can see the top row); ribbon organizers organized (the organizer is there and ribbon abounds, it also exists in a big box unorganized); my three machines with plenty of space around them standing ready for their next task (they are ready and willing at least). Well, I digress...

My newest studio is the kitchen!

We all have them. Ours is the center of the house. For some, the kitchen is the center because they just love food. That's not really us. Ours is convenient to all the places we actually live during the day and it collects everything. Food at our house is characteristically normal and at times just food. The saying "eats to live" most aptly applies to us, we don't "live to eat." (Thanks, Mom for that saying) Meals are generally nutritious, balanced, at least semi-homemade, and occassionally completely frozen or ordered in.

I recently started focusing more on what we cook, how we cook it, and trying to find ways to better utilize our resources, even waste less. (I see saving money as a sport, so if I can be more efficient with our food and money, awesome!) To reduce garbage can waste, we even bought a compost bin. So far, the racoons think it is the best thing ever. Once we figure this contraption out, I will write more about it.

Like many moms I know, I dread dinner-time. It seems like it sneaks up on me EVERY DAY. From the time the kids wake up from naps until they go to bed, my house is organized chaos. The moment my husband walks in the door, the kids attack him, and I seize the moment to sneak into the kitchen to try to steal a few precious moments of thought.

A week ago, with very little time to prepare dinner available, I decided on pasta and meatballs. For us this meal is a magical mix of warming, heating and baking that results in a decent meal in less than thirty minutes. The water was boiling on the stove and the Pillsbury Crescent Rolls (the Reduced Fat kind to avoid Trans Fats) were in the oven. The meatballs had been pulled from the freezer and were patiently waiting in their microwave safe container for their tomato sauce bath.

Open the fridge, no sauce. Pantry, no sauce. A few other likely places, no sauce.

Darn. Think. Think. Alfredo? Nope. Darn.

Kids are hungry. Trying to balance "helpers" a dog that is always in the way and no sauce to be found. Back at the pantry I get new hope, cans of diced tomatoes, stewed tomatoes, and tomato paste. Thank you Publix BOGO and the impulse to have some "on hand" just in case something I decided to cook called for these ingredients. It was internet to the rescue for a recipe and moments later I had created something that resembled, and tasted like tomato sauce.

It was this moment that I realized a kitchen, with the help of my trusted computer, can really be a studio. A great place to create.

Time to work on being more awesome in the kitchen.
So, this past week, I have tried to think of cooking more as creating. It has put a new perspective on this daily chore.

Since then, I have tried my hand at homemade soup, and thanks to Sam's Club Warehouse, more than six quarts of pasta sauce and croutons made out of fresh bread that started to go stale too quickly (buying fresh bread in bulk apparently doesn't really work for us)!

I actually thought to take a picture of the sauce ingredients, maybe that will be another post!?!?

On that, its time for me to go practice in my cooking studio. The monkeys will be hungry soon.

Happy creating!