Archive for the musings Category

Violet filling in the empty space

Posted in musings on April 26, 2013 by askthesky

Mama’s got laryngitis, so baby has taken it upon herself to fill in the emptiness…

Just call me Maria von Trapp

Posted in crafting, musings on March 8, 2013 by askthesky

Or, if you’re old school, Heather vonCraft, like that one weather bunny once did on the news.  That was so funny.

I made some car trash receptacles on Wednesday, the “snow” day.  It did snow, for five or six minutes, and my big kids got to really play in it for the first time ever.  Up until now, I couldn’t afford yearly snow pants and boots, so when the hand-me-downs dried up, so did the snow play.  That, and also we haven’t gotten any decent snow in Baltimore since the blizzard.  So that was fun.

In the meantime, encouraged by my hubbyhubbers, I took over the kitchen table to do some sewing whilst he cared for the youngest babychild.  Who, by the way, gets cuter by the nanosecond.  Proof, you say?  Oh, alright.  I’ll include a poorly shot cell phone video of my baby doing almost nothing and yet cracking me up, sure.

So anyway!  I made these trash cans for the car out of some fabric.  Danny’s was made out of the bottoms of the curtains that hang in our living room and bedroom (hence the title of this here posty-poo).  I just lopped them off and re-hemmed them when I bought them (from Target), and saved the bottoms, which were medium-weight cotton.  Not quite canvas, but tough and thicker than broadcloth.

Danny’s is in his car, so maybe I’ll update the post with a photo of that one later.  But!  I couldn’t wait to show you mine!  I’m totally gonna marry it.  Before:


Oh, dear.  That was AWFUL.



Now, if I could just vacuum the floor, it might be presentable.  I used this tutorial for the pattern, although I made a couple of changes to this second one- Danny’s version, I followed the pattern exactly, except I sewed the lining to the outer bag after pinning it (I think the author of the tutorial might have forgotten that, or maybe I didn’t copy it into my own directions- probably the latter).  This one, I pieced the two fabrics for the front, because I only had quarter yards (skinny ones, not fat quarters), and I love them together so very much.  These were from Hobby Lobby- sidenote: Hobby Lobby has cute fabric!  Who knew?

I also changed the inner liner on both of them.  The tutorial calls for Pellon, which I didn’t have, so I used cardboard for Danny’s liner, and a manilla folder for my own.  I would have used the light cardboard for both, but we don’t really eat much food that comes in those cereal-box-weight-boxes (which, AWESOME, but no boxes like that lying about).  The folder worked great, though, I just stapled it:



IMG_4034Now, I have to make one for the back seat, since the kids have an awful bag-on-the-floor, too…

Kindness instead of fairness

Posted in crafting, musings on February 27, 2013 by askthesky

This week in church, we’re reading the Parable of the Prodigal Son.  You’re probably somewhat familiar with it- the younger son asks for his inheritance early, the father grants this request, and the younger son bounds off and wastes it all on extravagant living.  The older son meanwhile, stays behind and works obediently for his father.  When the younger son returns, he’s greeted by a father overcome with joy, who then plans a huge feast in his honor.  You can almost see the older son sulking in a corner at this party, right?  He’s pissed, and rightfully so.  But I was reading on another site that what we don’t usually focus on is the issue of fairness vs. kindness (love).  The father would have treated the younger son differently if he was being fair, but clearly he was blinded by love.  Showering his son in a welcome that only a parent could give.

Then, this morning, I read this post by Abby Glassenberg about those idiots (sorry, patrons) who come to your booth at the craft fair and loudly proclaim to their friend, “Carrrrrol, you could TOTALLY make this for like ONE PENNY.  Can you believe they want $34 for this?!?!” as you quietly plot their deaths via random craft implements you’re holding.  Seriously, after a whole day of people like this, it can feel that extreme.  So, the post hit home with me.  The problem I’m having is that the would-be copycats don’t have any interest in actually DOING the thing I’m doing.  They will not go home and meticulously copy my design- they’ll likely never think of me or my product again.  So why confront them?  How would I do it with kindness and love rather than seeming like some sort of superhero of defensiveness?

No, really, I’m asking.

Good things

Posted in musings with tags , , on February 25, 2013 by askthesky

So many good things, and today I choose to focus on them instead of how very, very much I would love to have more than 5 hours of sleep in one stretch.

  • Violet Ruth was baptized at our church (the one where we met, the one where I work), and I was unprepared for how much of a difference that would make.  I got choked up, Mark got a little choked up, and many members commented that they felt lucky to be a part of it.  Plus, she was super-adorbs:



I just love that photo of my nephew leaning in to kiss “his” baby.  😉


  • I recently spent some sweet Amazon gift cards on a Project Life kit (watch the video over there, it’s too cute).  I’m pretty jazzed about this concept, as a former scrapbooker who got burnt out and nearly went to the poorhouse.  I like the simplicity (and lower cost!) of this system.  I ordered my first round of prints from Costco, and as soon as they come, I’ll have Sage help me add them to the binder.  
  • Some crafty Baltimore friends of mine are opening a cool shop/studio space in Highlandtown called Baltimore Threadquarters.  If you support the fiber arts in this town, and have some pocket change to donate, you can visit the link to check out their Indiegogo site.
  • Along similar lines, my friend Chris has opened a new retail/studio space above the best yarn shop EVAH.  She’s got all sorts of lovely things, including many awesome buttons, which I stocked up on, but also fleece, roving, spinning supplies, finished knitted and crocheted work, and size OMG crochet hooks.  And take my word for it, they are ZOMG big.  Sage and I had a delightful time visiting on opening day this past Saturday.  Check it out next time you’re in Hampden.

Happy Valentine’s Day from Violet Ruth!

Posted in musings on February 14, 2013 by askthesky


Mystery, solved.

Posted in life in general, musings with tags , , on May 18, 2012 by askthesky

So, remember all that stuff about my stomach being so out of whack, and putting my foot down about getting to the bottom of it all?

Yeah.  I got to the bottom of it, all right.  😉

Baby Ask The Sky, due Christmas Day, 2012.  If you’re inclined, please pray/light a candle/chat an incantation/send some good juju our way.  If you’re a long time reader, you know why.  Thanks in advance.

What I’ll be up to tomorrow….

Posted in musings on May 17, 2012 by askthesky



Hey guys!  Check out this FREE webinar happening tomorrow morning!  Jenny will walk us through how to safely ferment all kinds of foods, right in your own kitchen!  I’m so excited… I think I’ll make a big plate of sauerkraut to eat while I listen…

Still sick….

Posted in musings on April 21, 2012 by askthesky

Sorry, internets.  I am still battling this bout of ick in my gut.  Downing all the bone broth (although I usually make chicken) and greens I can, and it’s helpful, but I’m still sort of struggling to get through the basic tasks of my day, leaving little time to write here.  Soon, I say, soon, I shall return properly.  In the meantime, Pinterest has changed their policies to make me sleep better at night, so I’m back over there posting some yummy Primal foods and other goodies from time to time.  


New Developments

Posted in autism, gfcf diet, musings, PDD-NOS, primal cooking with tags , , on April 13, 2012 by askthesky

FAIR WARNING: This post contains highly personal health information.  If you’d not like to read about such things, by all means, back away from this post.

The radio silence around these parts has been due to a knock-down, drag-out fight between me and my intestines. Recently, my son got what seemed to be one of those 24-hour vomiting viruses.  He got sick twice, once in the car (my sweet husband earned a parenting stripe for that incident), and then the next day was bouncing off the walls in his usual way.  Textbook stomach bug.  Despite washing my hands twenty billion times during my son’s illness and subsequent hazmat clean-up, two days later, I woke before dawn with crippling stomach pain.  Now, my stomach woes always tend towards the other end of the body, rather than the vomiting, which (don’t get me wrong) I prefer, and yet, after 36 years of dealing with such issues on a weekly basis, I am so.  tired.  of it.

All that day, I stayed in bed, sleeping a ton and heading to the bathroom in between.  I had to work that evening, and I made it to the service, thankfully I didn’t have a lot of active ‘work’ to do, so I just dragged myself through it.  The next morning, I felt passable.  Not great, but good enough to say “Yeah, great idea” when husband suggested we hit the diner for breakfast.  I had two scrambled eggs, two sausage links, and three slices of tomato.  No coffee, just water.  All that day, I felt mildly off, but I took naps and breaks from cleaning the house, and it was okay.

The next morning was Easter, and when you work at a church, there is no missing Easter Sunday- not that I wanted to, or felt it was warranted, I actually felt a lot better when I got up that morning, on day 3.  We went to service, hunted eggs on the lawn, had all our friends over for lunch, and had a fun trip to the ER to give my son an albuterol treatment for his allergies (he’s fine).  On the way home from the hospital, I felt it.  That familiar acidic rumbling in my lower abdomen, coupled with the feeling of being trapped underwater.  It was coming back, and I was in the car for the next 20 minutes.  Would I make it?

(I did, you can stop worrying.  Thanks, though, you’re sweet.)

I say familiar, because for most of my life, I’ve been feeling this way every few weeks for a few days at a time.  I’ve learned to just power through, but it’s really awful.  I don’t know what happened this time, but something clicked in my head, and as I lay in bed the next day with a high fever, wondering how on earth this could possibly be the same virus my son had almost 5 days prior, I decided I was done with sucking it up.  I was going to get to the bottom of this, once and for all.

Starting around age 10, when I got my period, my stomach woes became a large part of my daily life.  I had (and still have, to some extent) really bad periods- terrible cramping, heavy bleeding, and, every single time it comes around, diarrhea.  This led my GYN in high school to posit that I may have Endometriosis.  Both my mother and older sister had been diagnosed with the condition as well, so it made sense.  A few years later, I would have exploratory surgery, with the intent of diagnosing the condition, and moving forward with treatment.  When they got in there, they found no sign of endometriosis.  Cysts, sure, and fibroids, they were having a nice party in there, but not the spots of tissue growth they had expected to find that would have explained my bowel issues.  I was diagnosed by my regular doctor as having IBS, and I was put on Levsin, which helped nothing.  I stopped taking it about a year later.

Flash forward to after my kids were born- Zander was three years old, and had just been diagnosed with autism.  I am lucky enough to have a dear friend who has dedicated her life to helping kids with autism, and she starts talking to me about dietary interventions.  “I have clients who seem to think it really helped their kids, and then others who swear it did nothing, but you’ve got to try.  As a mother, and not a trained therapist, this is really one of the only things you can do.”  I knew she was right.  Selfishly, I didn’t want to adopt the “autism diet”.  It seemed impossible, but I knew if it would help bring my son back out of his fog, I would do it.  We started the diet the week before Thanksgiving that year.  My son also had been dealing with his own intestinal issues, all very simliar to the ones I had struggled with my whole life.  He also had intense eczema and horrible diaper rash.  I met with some other local moms who were more practiced than I was, and we started cold turkey- we cut out gluten, dairy, soy, preservatives, artificial flavors, and artificial colors.  I realize that recently there’s been a lot of studies published that say dietary interventions don’t work for autism.  I guess for me, they just don’t matter.  For my kid, it was a miracle.  His language came back.  His eye contact came back.  His skin cleared up.  He started singing again.  He was my boy again, but still- he suffered from the bowel problems.  His diaper rash got mildy better, but never went away.

About two weeks into the new way of eating, my daughter and I had a large helping of all of the off-limits foods at a church dinner (I had packed my son’s dinner).  Lasagna, garlic bread, ranch salad dressing, croutons, parmesan cheese.  We were both sick for days and days.  It was like the flu, on crack.  I decided we must also have some sort of issue with these foods, and decided that the “cheating” wasn’t worth it.  My kids were so young when this happened (3 and 4), I just implemented the changes and didn’t look back.

The years passed, and my gut health remained about the same.  Usually, pretty good, and occasionally, really really bad.  I just sort of accepted this as my lot in life and trudged along.

Then, last year, I read The Primal Blueprint, by Mark Sisson.  I talk a lot about how that book changed my life in another post.  Sufficed to say, I was so moved by the arguments laid out in the book, I decided to take my family one step further down the path to total weirdness, and cut out all grains, sugars, beans, and processed foods.  My husband, after about a month, started shedding weight like it was going out of style (and still is).  After 6 months on the new plan, I had lost 6 pounds.  SIX.  I couldn’t believe that was it.  And while my digestive woes had seemed to have calmed down a bit, they were still there, lurking in the background, making their appearance when it was most inconvenient.

Then, the week prior to this week happened.  I got really sick, for almost a whole week.  I ate almost nothing (homemade bone broth, eggs, tea, and one banana).  Then, I stumbled upon this post, by  Peggy of The Primal Parent.  The title caught my eye, as “IBS” was once one of my labels.  Fructose Malabsorption.  Huh.  All the symptoms seemed to mirror what I’ve been struggling with all these years.  Peggy recounts how even after trying a million different tinkers (and i’ve been there, too- GAPS, SCD), she just didn’t feel like she was optimizing her health.  This is exactly how I’ve been feeling about eating Primally!

Yesterday, I decided to give it a go.  I was already eating bone broth, meat, and eggs, now I’d just have to resist temptation with the fruit in the house, and add in the vegetables that are safe- no fructans (onions, garlic, cabbage, and a bunch more), but most things were acceptable to eat on the FM eating plan.

Now, I’m not saying that I have this disorder (yet), but some of the things Peggy wrote in that post really rang true for me, and after 2 days of cutting out fructose and fructans, my intestines seem a whole lot happier than they have been for the past week.  Here’s hoping that during the next few weeks of experimentation, I’ll be able to nail this down, one way or another.

Here’s hoping.


Posted in musings on March 14, 2012 by askthesky

That bark I made yesterday?  The coconut bark?  Turned out amazingly delicious.  Just thought I’d let you know.