Dispatches From Suburbia, Vol. 2

There is a Metro Park one mile and one half from my front door. I can run to it – I can walk to it – we can bike to it. I can take my kid to one of the F O U R playgrounds there in 2 or 3 actual minutes. I meet my running partner twice a week for an ‘easy’ 4 mile loop. If you live here, you know which park I’m talking about. Don’t stalk meeeeee.

There are six (6) full service grocery stores within a five (5) minute drive.

There are no gardens. Why are there no gardens? Our street has one house that has a bunch of native grasses and quirky yard art. Everyone else (including our yard…mostly) is all yews and boring hardscape. I can’t tell if it’s because 1/3 of the neighbor still lives in the house they bought in the 1950s and why change what ain’t broke or people can’t afford it or no one cares. But every single neighbor who sees us outside at home, comments on our garden. It’s 3 x 8. My cucumbers are a crisp yellow pile, yes, ok, whatever. But my tomatoes are aces.

Ohio State Fair 2017

We LOVE THE  FAIR! By the time the Ohio State Fair closes this year, I’ll have been 3 times. We were able to see all of the highlights including the Ohio Natural Resource Playground, the Bobcat display, the butter cow, the FOOD and the Cardinal Building. This year the fair had it’s share of tragedy but I also won BEST IN SHOW in Cookies for my dulce de leche bar cookies and I could not be prouder! I made the a few times to prep and brought them to my family’s annual Fourth of July party and they were a huge hit. I’m tickled – but have literally no idea how to top these for next year!

You can read the recipe here and the write up (!) at the Columbus Dispatch. Here are some of my favorite snaps from this year’s State Fair.

C and the cows!
my traditional gyro at the Ohio Sheep Improvement Assoc booth in the Taste of Ohio building
morning sun
the skyglider!
C loved the Bobcat ‘playground’
my winning entry!

What I Read: July 17

*Juliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera: I picked up this book as part of Read Harder (drones on and on) and I really enjoyed it. “Juliet Milagros Palante is leaving the Bronx and headed to Portland, Oregon. She just came out to her family and isn’t sure if her mom will ever speak to her again. But Juliet has a plan, sort of, one that’s going to help her figure out this whole “Puerto Rican lesbian” thing. She’s interning with the author of her favorite book: Harlowe Brisbane, the ultimate authority on feminism, women’s bodies, and other gay-sounding stuff.” (via) I really enjoyed this and found some of the perspectives on white feminism to be convicting.

The Whole Brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind, Survive Everyday Parenting Struggles, and Help Your Family Thrive by Daniel Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson: Just trying to head into toddlerhood with more tools, hold me.

*Gaddafi’s Harem: The Story of a Young Woman and the Abuses of Power in Libya by Annick Cojean: I read this for the ‘war’ story for Read Harder and while it’s a bit a stretch, I could not stomach another tome on the Civil War. “Soraya was a schoolgirl in the coastal town of Sirte, when she was given the honour of presenting a bouquet of flowers to Colonel Gaddafi, the Guide, on a visit he was making the following week. This one meeting – a presentation of flowers, a pat on the head from Gaddafi – changed Soraya’s life forever. Soon afterwards, she was summoned to Bab al-Azizia, Gaddafi’s palatial compound near Tripoli, where she joined a number of young women who were violently abused, raped and degraded by Gaddafi.” (via). This story was a tough sit and it took me a while to get through it – but it is an important story. Even if I cannot do anything about this suffering, it is important we look, hold space and acknowledge it.

Woodland Critters 1st Birthday Party

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We celebrated our little dude turning one recently with both sides of our family in town. I knew that I wanted to do a woodland / forest animal theme and fell down a Pinterest rabbit hole. I ordered the most adorable invites and a matching t shirt for the birthday boy from Zazzle and got some sweet foil balloons that were a fox, a raccoon and a hedgehog.
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I knew we’d be hosting guests so I made a 5 layer chocolate cake (and a smaller smash cake) with chocolate buttercream and a half batch of yellow cupcakes with bright red buttercream and froze everything double wrapped in plastic two weeks ahead of time. That way, the day before the party, I just had to defrost everything (leave the cakes in the plastic until completely defrosted!) and decorate.
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Our niece helped me decorate the cakes and because the lions share of the work had already been done, we were able to just hang out and decorate. I read several posts about making a tree stump cake and decided that using tempered chocolate would be the easiest. I bought 60% cacao knowing the cake and buttercream would be sweet sweet sweet. I tempered a whole bag and then spread it out on wax paper and then rolled it out onto wax paper. I rolled it up in a paper towel roll and let it freeze solid. Once it is was solid, I unwrapped it and it broke into curved shards. If I use this technique again, I’d only temper half a bag and spread it thinner as it was fairly difficult to get it to break apart in it’s thickest parts. You can see, it was a hit!
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What I Read: June ’17

March: Books One, Two and Three by John Lewis: Crucial, critical reading. I loved seeing this story and while I would not call myself a ‘graphic novel gal’ there is something about this medium that really serves this story. It is one thing to read words describing the Jim Crow era and it is another to visually see that violence – and yet another to have lived it.

You’re Doing A Great Job by Biz Ellis and Theresa Thorn: I read this in an evening and it was quick and pithy. Worth checking out from your library if you love the podcast.

*Not Your Sidekick by C. B. Lee: This was loaned to me by a friend for Read Harder and it was an interesting and quick read. “Welcome to Andover, where superpowers are common, but internships are complicated. Just ask high school nobody, Jessica Tran. Despite her heroic lineage, Jess is resigned to a life without superpowers and is merely looking to beef up her college applications when she stumbles upon the perfect (paid!) internship—only it turns out to be for the town’s most heinous supervillain.” (via). I’m glad I read it – it isn’t something I would have ever picked up on my own but was a fun read.

Baby C: Month 12

Likes: Daniel Tiger, cheddar bunnies, bath time

Dislikes: diaper changes, clothing changes, waiting

Who You Saw: Grandma, your Aunt and cousins from MN flew in for your birthday party and we hosted friends and family for your birthday party

Where We Went: Chikaming Township, MI, Columbus Clippers home game

Milestones: running, waving, clapping, sorting and some ‘words’

on haterz

IMG_7058I follow several ‘famous’ bloggers, Instagram personalities and YouTube stars. There is a variety of responses such commentary by these personalities – it usually get qualified as ‘jealous haters’. To be sure, there is some of that – especially with YouTube where even small YT channels can easily make thousands of dollars a month! But most of it is commentary on how the personality is smug / has it wrong / shouldn’t be encouraging whatever they are encouraging. However, I frequently feel that – that take isn’t wrong.

We content creators (even this blog that only my mama reads counts) share about our lives because we think we have something worth sharing. A story worth telling. To say with confidence and certainty ‘this is the way’ is to invite commentary.

I’m living my life this way because I do think it’s the best way. It’s best for me, for M, for C. I think that there are lots of other healthy, productive ways to live as well but I put myself out there ~ I share ~ cute InstaStories and take the time to write blog posts but I’ve something that *works* for me. I believe, deep into the fiber of my being, that everyone who writes a blog, has an Instagram presence, you name it, also feels this way deep down – even if they deny it. If there’s anything that this election and current presidency shows, is that so many of us have very, very different ideas of what a good life looks like. Of course, you’re going to get push back for putting out your values and beliefs. Having and expressing different opinions and values makes many many adults uncomfortable. And hey, when actual Nazis get elected, it’s time to get loud.

no fast fashion summer 2017

I’m taking part in a no fast fashion challenge for summer – meaning no purchasing from any fast fashion stores like Old Navy, Target. Honestly, I probably shouldn’t be making any clothing purchases as it is – I got some new summer stuff in the early spring when I realized what worked last year will not work now and sprang for a bunch of new under-roos for me. I’m glad of the reminder to be mindful – especially when sustainable clothing is usually made much closer to home & is better for workers rights and wages. Please watch The True Cost before bragging about getting $300 worth of clothing for $75 bucks – someone else is paying that price.

I want to spend some time making clothing for me; our basement is a mess and will be for a far bit I’m guessing. I also am wanting a serger to start sewing with knits. It’s so hard to want to go downstairs to sew when the weather is so great!

One of my friends did #memademay this year and I loved see all the clothing she’s made for herself and her little one! I have 1 thing I made but it’s the wrong size. I need to get cracking if I plan on making any attempt at #memademay next spring.  I am considering using these 5 Grainline patterns to get started – anyone have any experience with them? I’m not sure if I should start with a free pattern to see if this is a kind of sewing I can really get into regularly.

I have no idea where this is going, sustainable clothing has been on my brain lately so I’m just getting it out there. Here’s some great tips about shopping consciously from one of my favorite YouTubers!

Sheep Cupcakes

Over Easter (I knowwwwww), I made a batch of the cutest sheep cupcakes! I mostly want this ‘recipe’ searchable for next year so bear with me!

I made a batch of my favorite yellow cake and a batch of homemade buttercream – ’cause if you’re going for it, GO FOR IT. I then made a dome of frosting and stuck in marshmallows for the sheep’s fur. I (over)tinted some fondant and then sculpted some heads and used store bought black icing for the eyes. I think they turned out super cute!