Thursday, May 31, 2012

5 Quick Things That Bring Me Joy

I'm wrapping up my Month of Joy tonight, as I begin my Month of Beauty tomorrow. Here are 5 things that have made me smile and shiver with Happiness.

1. Dancing to J. Roddy Walston and the Business in the kitchen (my friends and former co-workers who put on the BEST Live Show EVER...check out their songs...)

2. Devouring Drunken Goat Cheese

3. Being silly with my Daughter at our Music Together Class

4. Watching the smiles on people's faces as they interact with my Child

5. Sharing my knowledge of herbs with curious folks

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Geniuses at Liberated Movement

I am so jealous of New Yorkers. They can take dance classes a place called Liberated Movement.

According to their website,

"Liberated Movement® is a non-profit organization that provides donation-based dance instruction classes to the public. We have a suggested donation of $5 per class, but any amount is welcome. We operate exclusively off of the donations people give in class and via our website.

Liberated Movement® classes are for everyone. The primary purpose of the company is to make dance more accessible, both financially and socially, to both experienced dancers and beginners. We especially want to offer a supportive, welcoming environment, where anyone can gain a basic knowledge of different dance styles without having to spend extensive amounts of money or make serious commitments. Teachers conduct classes to address the varying levels of students, catering to anyone who may attend a class."

I think this idea is genius. It seems like the idea of Donation-based Services is really growing. When I lived in Baltimore, the "Community Hot Yoga Classes" were PACKED. They were $5.

There is a chiropractor in my hometown who has a donation box. He is always busy and is making some decent money.

Recently, I've noticed an explosion of "Community Acupuncture Clinics" in MD and VA.  I'm planning on writing a post soon about the amazing people at POCA  and my awesome experience at several of the clinics.

I'm really hoping idea of "Donation-based Dance Classes" catches on across the country. I know this little family would be very happy.

John Prine "In Spite of Ourselves"

Papa Bear has been working extra long hours at work, so my kiddo and I have been spending a lot of time on my Parent's Farm. We've had tons of fun exploring both inside and outside. But, there have been lots of moments when I miss Papa Bear.

Here's a video that I'm dedicating to him. It always brings me Joy (since it's still the Month of Joy on my blog, I thought I'd share it with you).

It's a little bit silly, a little raunchy and definitely Country...kind of like me!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

My Mama's Two Cents on Memorial Day

The following article was written by my mother for publication in the Frederick News Post. She has worked tirelessly on interviewing more than 100 veterans. Many fought in WWII and/or Korean War.

Memorial Day, originally called “Decoration Day,” began as a time for our nation to come together and honor the sacrifices of those who died in war with flowers and flags. Today, the word “decorate” suggests those countless DYI programs about decorating a home, not a grave. But not to worry, our local Boy Scouts have placed American flags on the graves of every military veteran buried in our county cemeteries. Also, the 29th Division Association has put division flags on the graves of all 29ers. Just a bit of history…that division, whose lineage predates the Revolutionary War, fought in WWI and WWII, spearheading the D-Day invasion of Normandy at Omaha Beach ( Yes, decoration is good, but education is also in order. It seems that today many citizens, especially young people, are rather fuzzy on the history of the wars and conflicts fought by the U.S. So, maybe a history lesson, even a geography lesson, might be useful. Goggle if you must, but books and a globe are better sources of information. But even movies can educate. Ones like “The Longest Day”, “Tora, Tora, Tora”, and “Saving Private Ryan” can at least stimulate interest in military history. The local Korean War Veterans Association (KWVA Chapter 142) strives yearlong to educate citizens about that bloody conflict ( The Veterans History Project ( has thousands of interviews of veterans, as does our local group (FCVHP) whose interviews are in the Maryland Room at the C. Burr Artz Library. But what trumps all, is hearing about history from those who have lived it. There are still WWII veterans around who carry vivid memories of that war. They might be your neighbors or your grandfather. The letters of a forgotten uncle who still lies on foreign shores might still be in the attic. Search these out…you will learn more that you ever imagined.

What better way to memorialize the sacrifices of our fallen warriors, those who gave their “last full measure,” than not only to decorate their graves, but to educate all our citizens so that everyone knows where, when and why Americans died serving their country. Yes, let us decorate AND educate this Memorial Day, 2012.

Priscilla Rall

May 28, 2012

Friday, May 25, 2012

Papa Bear's 28th Birthday

Papa Bear celebrated his 28th Birthday, yesterday. Like in life, things didn't go as planned.

My present didn't arrive in time.

I didn't have enough time to make two elaborate birthday cards. Instead, I took a blank card and coax my daughter into stamping her hand on the ink pad and then on the card. I wrote above the hand-print "Hive Five Daddy" (she's started enjoying giving high-fives now).  Then on my card, I numbered each finger of her hand-print. Inside, I wrote "Five Things I Admire About You." Nothing spectacular but good-enough.

My kiddo refused to participate in my "Making Art for Daddy" Project. She didn't want to finger-paint, she only wanted to do Water Play. So, I had to come up with a cheap, quick idea to cover the cardboard frame I had cut out. My husband loves poker, so I made a "Playing Carding Picture Frame" using a $2 deck of cards and some Tacky Glue for him to hang up at work. If I wasn't so rushed, I wouldn't have spent more time to come up with an interesting pattern using the cards.

There were lots of other minor annoyances, tears were shed several times, and the Birthday Boy suggested calling off Movie Night at least 3 times. Ups and downs.

But, in the end...he got some presents and cards, the kiddo got some Dada and Dadi time, Mommy and Daddy had a terrific meal at Bonefish Grill, Daddy got to watch the movie he wanted to see, and we shared a delicious cupcake afterwards in our silent, child-free home. Happy Birthday, My Love!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

14 Months Old!

On Monday, my Big Girl turned 14 months old. I didn't remember until Tuesday (with all the excitement of vomiting and fevers, etc...). Luckily, Uncle E and Aunt T were visiting and Uncle E took some sweet photos. Today, will be Present-Making for Papa Bear for his 28th Birthday tomorrow. On Friday, I'm taking a Mommy Sabbatical which will hopefully involve lots of silence and maybe some yoga.

I'm going to try and post something a little more thrilling than cute photos of my kiddo during this week...but I can't promise anything. Hope you find lots of little moments of Joy through out the week!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Month of Joy...My Dancing Queen

This video was taken about 4 weeks ago, when we were helping my Sissy do a major overhaul in her back-yard. It makes me laugh every time I see it. My Sissy may be right...

Ummm...I swear my daughter is 13 months old here, not 23 years old. I think we can safely say she has inherited a love of dancing from both her parents.

Monday, May 21, 2012

20 Minutes Feeling Like 20 Hours

This is what I was looking at all of Sunday. My daughter had her first serious fever and was not a happy camper. Thankfully, I was visiting my parents and had help (you know with Papa Bear being in Vegas and all).  I swear every 20 minutes felt like 20 hours.

I am feeling very blessed that my daughter's first year of life was so very healthy (besides her NICU stint during the first 16 days of her life). She had a handful of colds, vomited once, and had a congested night or two. Overall, she enjoyed some seriously good health. So, I'm not going to complain about yesterday.

Today, we took it easy and she is finally looking and sounding like herself. That's something to be joyful about right now!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Soaking Time

Papa Bear is in Las Vegas for a Bachelor Party and I've headed to the hills this weekend. My kiddo and I will be running wild in the shadow of the Catoctin Mountains (along with numerous Heads-of-State who are all camped out a few miles away at Camp David for the G-8 Summit). 

Hopefully, nothing too exciting with happen in the neighborhood. And I'm crossing my fingers that I'll get the chance to take a nice, long soak in one of my Mama's claw-foot bath-tub.

I'm planning on reading one of these books while soaking away all my Daily Mama Frustrations (all four of these books have been my go-to companions before bed each night)...

1)The Still Point Dhammapada: Living the Buddha's Essential Teachings

2)Momma Zen: Walking the Crooked Path of Motherhood

3)The Complete Buddhism for Mothers

4)Sleepless in America: Is Your Child Misbehaving...or Missing Sleep?

Have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Month of Joy....Baby-Wearing

Here is a quick collection of photos during our last year of "Baby-wearing". I swear she spent most of the time awake in her carrier, it just seems we always took photos when she was passed out.

Photos from the few days she loved the "Maya Wrap", Halloween , the Scottish Christmas Parade and Christmas Eve at the Lockhouse.

At around 11 months, she became obsessed with strollers and wasn't happy in the "Ergo". This video was taken the day after her First Birthday!

This last photo was taken around 3 weeks ago. I was thrilled because she was content in the Ergo and I was able to do yard-work.

Baby-wearing has been one of absolute joyful parts of motherhood for me. Snuggled up with my Sweet on me, I feel like I can accomplish anything!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

My Lastest Tiny House Obsession

Why am I so intrigued by Tiny Houses? Three reasons...

1) Financial Freedom (once it's built and paid for, you have no mortgage...all for the price of a down-payment)

2) A Design Puzzle (the Designer/Artist in me loves figuring out out to maximize space)

3) 15 Minute Clean-up (Have I mentioned how much I hate cleaning a house? I try to look at it as Meditation time, but it's still a struggle for me to be okay with constant Housework.)

Here is my most recent obsession. It's a "Modern Tiny House" and I am SOOOO in love. It was built this past Winter by two talented brothers who are both over 6 1/2 feet tall! They are asking $27,000 for the house.

****Photos all courtesy of Tall Man's Tiny House

Silly Papa Bear Makes Me Smile

This is what I walked into last night....

It made me grin all the way down to my toes. We are very different people, Papa Bear and I. But, there is no denying he loves his Baby Bear.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Baltimore Herb Festival

One upcoming event that's making my little Herbalist Heart flutter is the Baltimore Herb Festival. Mark your calendars, it's on Saturday, May 26 from 9:30 am - 3pm.

It is a massive event held at Leakin Park with oodles of vendors selling all sorts of plants, including some hard to find herbs. Last time I went, I came back with at least 25 different herbs ...

"Comfrey", "Mugwort", "Meadowsweet", "Lady's Mantle", "Feverfew", "Boneset", "Calendula", "Tulsi", "Lemon Balm", "Echinacea", "Pennyroyal", "African-blue Basil" and "Marshmallow" name a few.

If you live in the area and are curious about gardening or herbalism, check out the "Baltimore Herb Festival." Just make sure you bring a wagon or wheelbarrow to haul everything.

Monday, May 14, 2012

What Brings Me Joy?

What brings me Joy? Sharing my love of Art and Yoga with my daughter.  On Thursday, I took my daughter to her first Art Show (a hands-exhibit at the Torpedo Factory). We also enjoyed a Mommy and Toddler Yoga class (the only photo I took was outside Pure Prana).

It's raining today, so no playing at the park. I'm thinking we should head back to the Torpedo Factory and spend more time diving in that giant pile of crocheted dollies.


Friday, May 11, 2012

Quick, Inexpensive Mother's Day Present

Okay, Mommy stop reading. Spoiler alert for your Mother's Day Present. Don't look any further until after Sunday.

Here's an easy, sweet Mother's Day Present perfect for Grand-mothers. (Pardon the shoddy photos). The top one is for Dadi (Lina's Indian Grand-mother) and the bottom on is for Ra-ra (my Mama, the Gardener)...

Last year, we gave both Grand-mothers the same kind of thing. A footprint surrounded by two recent photos of Lina. I used

2)  two 4x6 photos
3)  scrap-book paper
4)  a triple 4x6 frame

I think we are going to continue giving this present each Mother's Day; it would be lovely to have a whole series of these, don't you think? 

Thursday, May 10, 2012

An Easy Way to Support Local Family Farms

I just discovered this new delivery service. It's called From the Farmer and is based in MD, D.C., and Northern VA. Each week, an insulated basket full of local fruits and vegetables is delivered to your doorstep.

If you miss you on going to the Farmers' Market, you can still get fresh, local, seasonal produce. This takes the idea of CSA's a step further because you don't have to GO anywhere.

It's perfect for busy families. Especially, if you have little-bitty ones that make it difficult to get out the door and pick up your weekly CSA share.

Single Bushel that comfortably feeds 1-2 people costs $45. Here's a sample week...

3 medium pink lady apples
1 quart of strawberries
1 bunch of asparagus
10 oz. (1 bag) of micro-greens
10 oz. (1 bunch) of spinach
½ pint medium heirloom tomatoes
1 bunch easter egg radishes
1 quart red bliss potatoes
1 bunch of leeks
3 vidalia onions

A Double Bushel that comfortably feeds 3-5 people costs $55. Here's a sample week...

5 medium pink lady apples
2 quarts of strawberries
2 bunches of asparagus
2 bunches large spring onions
10 oz. (2 bunch) of spinach
1 quart heirloom tomatoes
1 bunch (4 large) beets
3 red/yellow/white onions
1 bunch of spring onions
1 bulb of kohlrabi
3 bunches of farm-select fresh herbs
1 hand formed loaf of brioche

The prices seem very reasonable to me. I love the fact that "From the Farmer" is making it easier for families to eat healthier and that Family Farms are being supported in the process. This makes me one Joyful Mama!

Now, if only they deliver in my zip code!

For an Animal-Crazy Mama

Do you have a Mama in your life who loves Wild Animals? Why don't you give her a World Wildlife Adoption Kit?

WWF is a wonderful organization that has spent the last 50 years fighting to save Earth's Diversity of Life. The $25 Adoption Kit comes with a certificate and a photo of the species you have donated money to help save.

The $50 Adoption Kit is great because it comes with a cute stuffed animal, certificate and species information card.

The $75 Birdwatching Kit would be nice for a "Birdwatching Mama" (I have one of those).

I know there are definitely Mothers out there who would rather help preserve some of Nature's most glorious creatures than get some flowers and lotion (not that there is anything wrong with flowers and lotion). If this sounds like a Mama in your life, why don't you head over to the WWF site and see for yourself.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

"House and Home" at the National Building Museum

This video brings me Joy. I've been a fan of "Dee Williams" for awhile and was delighted to hear that her Tiny House was filmed recently for the exhibition called "House and Home" which is currently at the National Building Museum.

I am so thrilled to have another reason to visit the "National Building Museum." It's been on my list of things to do for several months now.

The Museum contains an excellent hands on exploratory gallery for children ages 2-6 called "The Building Zone." Time for us to adventure out on the Metro and do some exploring!

What's Bring Me Joy Right Now?

Gardening with My Little Helper.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Sentimental Portrait for Mother's Day

We are plotting Mother's Day gifts here in our household. One gift we've given in the past to Grand-parents was a framed portrait of our daughter wearing a sentimental outfit.

The first time we took our Big Girl to Sears was for a portrait for my Father-in-Law's 60th Birthday. She wore an Indian skirt and shirt set that my Mother-in-Law had brought back from India.

We chose 1 photo out of the 12 or so that were shot and had them print a 8x10 right there. The entire process took about 1 hour and 15 minutes and ended up costing $14 (with tax). You should of seen the smile on Dada's face!

Then for Christmas, we gave my Step-father a portrait where his Little Buddy was wearing a Little Red Hen Jumpsuit (sentimental for my mother) while sitting in a metal wash tub and reading a book on Farms (they live on a Farm). A toy International Harvester tractor sat next to the tub (my Step-father has an extensive collection of IH tractors). My parents loved it! It's hanging in their bathroom and makes me happy every time I see it.

I highly recommend bringing several props to occupy your child during the shoot. It definitely makes the process much easier. Just make sure it's something that you don't mind ending up in the photo.

This gift idea works great, if you have a sentimental outfit for your child to wear (maybe a family heirloom or a sports team or maybe you have a sentimental prop for them to use).

See the photo above? That's the dress that my Mama's cousin made for me, which my sister wore and then both my cousins wore. My daughter is the fifth member of our family to wear this dress. Pretty amazing, right?

I bet if you dig around, you can find something pretty amazing for your child to wear for a very special Mother's Day Portrait.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Blueberries Bursting in My Mouth

It's official. This is the best time to visit the Farmers Market. Here in Old Town Alexandria, there were Blueberries, Strawberries, Asparagus, Ramps, and Brussels sprouts. All my favorite foods.

I conducted a taste-test with my husband, comparing the Blueberries he bought at the Grocery Store with the Blueberries I bought at the Farmers Market. (He's not as passionate about eating Local, Seasonal food as I am, although he is coming around...this was a great chance to remind him of the difference). The taste in difference was pretty remarkable.

If you are trying to convince someone about the importance of buying Local food, do a taste-test. Now, is the perfect time!

Saturday night, I ate a pint of strawberries and one whole cantaloupe for dinner. Today's lunch, may be a pint of blueberries. I can't get enough of them!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Traditional Spring in the Village

According to Catoctin Banner

" The Catoctin Furnace Historical Society, Inc. is hosting a Traditional Spring in the Village at the ca. 1810 Collier's Log House, located at 12607B Catoctin Furnace Road.

On Saturday, May 5, 2012, from 9am to 5pm, the public is invited to visit the log house, which will be decorated with spring flowers, plants and herbs, and filled with traditional crafts and foods.

Craft demonstrations will include pottery making, basketry, plein air painting, leather work, and weaving. Traditional music and foods will complete the ambiance of a village spring celebration, more than 200 years ago when Catoctin Furnace was in blast.

Spring fruit punch and baked goods made from village recipes handed down over multiple generations will be available for sale, as well as handmade crafts, such as soaps, baskets, pottery, crocheted and sewn items, spring wreaths, plants, herbs, and flowers in handmade small garden pots. Period furniture and reproductions will also be for sale.

Admission is free. Proceeds from the event will be utilized for the replacement of the hand split cedar shake roof on the historical structure, a critical need."

This is the kind of event that puts a smile on my face. Unfortunately, I won't be in my hometown this weekend to check it out. I love the fact that the Historical Society is using old family recipes and that they will be all sorts of craft demonstrations. If you are in the area and enjoy history, why don't you head out to the Catoctin Furnace. Oh, and please send photos!

Baltimore's Kinetic Sculpture Race

As I have mentioned before, I love Baltimore. One of my absolutely favorite Baltimore annual events is happening this Saturday.

Yes,'s that time of year. Get ready as Giant Brains, Pink Poodles and Egyptian Sailboats invade Charm City. It's time for the Baltimore Kinetic Sculpture Race!!!

The Baltimore Kinetic Sculpture Race is a wild 8 hour race spanning 15 miles through much of the Inner Harbor and the surrounding areas. Each team has literally spent months building a Sculpture to be both human-powered and amphibious (and tough enough to go through mud and sand).

Some local schools even participate. How fun would that be to make one of these guys for a school project?

This is a super-fun (and laughter-filled) event for kids of all ages. The Race loops around the city, so there is amble opportunity to catch numerous Sculptures at different locations. The Race starts at 10 am and some Sculptures will probably start crossing the finish-line around 3:15 pm.

If you are in the DC Metro Area, do yourself (and your family) a favor and make the trip to Charm City.

****Photos are all courtesy of Baltimore Kinetic Sculpture Race

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