Friday, January 30, 2015

Mmm, Salty Fish Toothpaste

Remember when I said I was drying sage to mix with baking soda and make a kind of toothpaste? I made it. I've been using it for about a month now, so I thought you might like to know what it's like.

It's like brushing my teeth with powdered salt cod.

I don't know if you ever noticed this, but sage actually has a weirdly fishy flavor. I'm not a huge fan of sage, and this might be why, because I'm not a huge fan of fish. This flavor is not too pronounced in, say, a pork sauce that incorporates sage, but if you dry the sage and powder it up? That's pretty concentrated sage flavor, and then it tastes like fish.

Combine that with baking soda, and you have salty fish powder. For brushing teeth.

Then why, you may ask, are you still using it? I don't know. Because I made it and it's up there and I'm too lazy to bring the jar all the way downstairs to refill it with plain baking soda? Maybe.

I definitely don't want to start using commercial toothpaste again, though. It's kind of gaggingly sweet after getting used to the salty taste of the baking soda. I don't think the sage had any great beneficial effect, however, so after this mixture is gone, I'll just use straight baking soda.

Also from that same book that recommended sage we got a method for making soap. In the blender. Uh huh. There are all of two ingredients--olive oil and lye--both of which we always have on hand, and whizzing it all up in a blender is a lot more appealing than standing over a boiling cauldron of lye.

So we made soap. In the blender. Well, actually A. mostly did it because I'm kind of intimidated by lye. Basically, you blend the two ingredients, pour it into a cut-off orange juice carton to set, cut it into bars, and dry it for a month. And dammit all if it doesn't actually make soap.

We didn't add any essential oils or whatever for fragrance, so it smells like, well, oil when you're using it, but it doesn't leave any scent when it's washed off. And you know how I feel about fragrance in soap.

So I guess we'll be making our own soap from now on. Next we're going to try the recipe for coconut oil soap they recommend as the base for homemade laundry detergent. Which we already make, so we might as well make the base ingredient ourselves as well, right?

Right. We just get crazier all the time . . .

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

A.P.D.--The "F" Moments Edition

"F" could stand for fed up. Those moments when just one last irritating thing has happened to push you over the edge. Probably not a big thing; just a small thing, but a small thing on top of all those other small things that all add up to an "F" moment.

"F" could stand for fed up. But what it really stands for is another "F" word that I try not to say around my kids, but definitely think in these moments.

I had one of those moments this morning. We were getting in the car to go to preschool. I had already nagged the older children through going to the bathroom* putting on boots and mittens and hats and not hitting each other and actually getting out the damn door already.

So this was my admittedly negative state of mind when we emerged into seven degrees and six inches of snow on the ground. The older kids wanted to play in the snow. I made them get in the van. I got the baby in on his side, then trudged through the snow around to the other side to buckle Charlie in. Cubby refused to even try to buckle his own seatbelt, on the grounds that his gloves were too puffy and it was too hard. Probably true, but still kind of annoying, as I then had to trudge back around in the snow to buckle him in and shut his door.

And then, just as I was about to shut his door, about a cup of snow fell off the roof of the van and directly into my open purse.

I shut Cubby's door and had my "F" moment as I attempted to scoop out some of the snow without losing any of the contents of my purse in the snow on the ground. They didn't hear the word, but I said it. And it wasn't "fed," either.

Have you had any moments like this lately?

* We have two out of three out of diapers now! Hooray! And don't ask me how pathetic and cliched it makes me feel to devote so much thought and effort to other people's bathroom habits.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Countdown to the Cage Fight

Several months ago, my parents--at my suggestion--gave Cubby one of those spiffy light-up clocks that you can set to change color at a certain time in the morning. The idea is that kids who can't tell time yet will just check the light to see if it's time to get up. Ideally, this eliminates the child wandering around at four in the morning, because he's awake and thinks it's time to get up.

It is never time to get up at four in the morning. The clock tells them this.

We stopped using it for awhile because Cubby was sleeping in so late (7 a.m.! practically a college kid!) and then Charlie was in there with him and we were just trying to get Charlie used to sleeping in the room. But a couple of weeks ago, we decided to start using the clock again, in an attempt to keep Charlie from bouncing out of bed at 5:15 a.m. and waking up his brother.

It worked. Charlie stays in his bed until the clock turns yellow. The clock is set for 6 a.m. This means that at 5:58 a.m., I start the countdown to detonation.

Detonation of peace, that is. Because at 6 a.m., I hear the door to their room being flung open, pounding feet in the hallway, the crash of our bedroom door as they burst through it, and then Charlie's little voice proclaiming, "The clock is yellow. I want to go downstairs."

And then, because A. is the only parent currently sleeping in our room (I'm temporarily located in the small adjoining room with the baby), I hear him mumble dazedly, "Okay, go downstairs. I'll be right there."

It's a very nice way to ease into the morning, as you might imagine. And then, when we do get downstairs, we usually find them both sitting on the heating vent in the living room, fighting over the precious warm air coming from the furnace. Then they demand breakfast.

And so begins another day of the "enjoy it, it goes so fast" stage of parenting.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Independence, Blackrock-style

Apparently, almost-five is the age at which I can start getting some use out of these freeloading children of mine. 

Specifically . . .





Any kid that will fill the wood carrier inside for me is a keeper. 

When Cubby first announced that he would take care of bringing the wood in, A. was all, "Yeah, sure, you go ahead and do that," all the while expecting to go outside and get the wood when Cubby inevitably came inside complaining of how heavy the wood is and how high the side of the outside woodbox is, and how he couldn't do it.

Instead, Cubby went out, scaled the side of the woodbox, tossed out a piece of wood, picked it up, opened the door, carried it inside, and dropped it into the wood carrier next to the stove. Then he did it again and again, until there was enough wood inside.

Well then. I guess we underestimated the boy.

Maybe I can teach him to do all the vacuuming next . . .

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

A.P.D.--The True Love Edition

This morning at 1:30, as I was sitting up in bed feeding the beast, I started thinking about some things that I really love. I am not talking here about the obvious and serious things, like my family. No, I'm talking more along the lines of "these are a few of my favorite things" kind of things. Small things that make me happy. Which I will now present to you in a very original list form:

-Coffee with chicory

-Showering

-The sunset over the lake in the winter

-The sight of my clean refrigerator whenever I open the door*

-Spaghetti and meatballs

-Sleeping

-Quiet rooms with no electronic noise

-Chocolate chip bar cookies (way better than regular cookies, I have decided)

-Clean sheets

Small things, without doubt, but they add up to happiness.

And now for your turn, my lovelies! What are the little but not inconsequential things that you love?

* About a week ago, I decided a thorough, pull-apart-the-shelves scrubbing was in order. So I did it at 7 a.m. on a Saturday morning with all three children taking turns crying and demanding attention during the hour it took me. Totally worth it.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Ready To Celebrate

Okay, so we're a day early celebrating Jack's month birthday, but when his brothers are absent from the scene and he's awake and not actually eating, we must seize the opportunity to party.

And by "party," I mean . . .


Sheepskin and woodstove bathing? Definitely a Blackrock baby.

We have to wait until his big brothers are out of the picture, because otherwise it goes more like this:


Because a baby on the floor obviously means you must grab his feet or play guitar right over his head.

Just give Jack a few more months--well, give him about 17 more months--and he'll be right there with them, fighting over the guitar and punching in rage at whoever has it. 

So much to look forward to.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Who's Afraid of Four Degrees Below Zero?



Not this guy.

For underneath that babyish hooded fleece suit lies . . .


BABY LONG UNDERWEAR, HELL YES.

Jack can officially be considered a member of the family now that he's clad in his L.L. Bean long underwear that Grandma wisely gave him for Christmas. The smallest size L.L. Bean sells is 3-6 months, but that's cool, because I specialize in giant infants that never wear sizes correlating to their actual age. Every single member of this family has at least one piece of L.L. Bean long underwear. Including my not-yet-one-month-old baby. 

We should totally do an ad campaign for L.L. Bean. We could even include our dog! Except I've never seen anything other than golden retrievers in that catalog, and certainly none of those golden retrievers have ever been photographed chewing on carrion.

So maybe our lifestyle wouldn't exactly appeal to their demographic. But the long underwear sure is nice. Just ask Jack.