Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Ten years of marriage or "go have an affair with your husband"

Yes, I really did mean to say, "go have an affair with your husband (spouse, partner)." There is nothing like adventure, excitement, together time with no one else around... the thrill of being with somebody who still gets you jazzed up.

We've lived together for fourteen years and been married for ten. Had I known how amazing it would be to get away for an overnight without kids, I would have insisted on it a long time ago. It's the best therapy there is.

Let's face it. Relationships are never entirely carefree, no matter how much you love each other. Throw some stressors in, and well, I think we all know how NOT easy marriage can be at times. In reality, I'd say we have a really strong one; we are an amazing team, but we work hard at it.

We were gone for just 24 hours, but it felt like a whole weekend. We motorcycled up to the parkway and camped at Mt. Mitchell, the highest peak east of the Mississippi river. It was utterly amazing to camp on the ridge and be able to look off both sides. We took sushi and a bottle of wine. No cooking! Definitely the way to go.

The next day was coffee in our sleeping bags and some Lara bars. We did a couple of hikes right from our campsite. Our wedding day was during peak leaf season ten years ago, and it was that way this year as well.

My husband and I worked together in an outdoor program, and paddled together for a full year before we ever "got together." We have many years of adventures between us, and somehow going to the highest point in North Carolina for our anniversary on a motorcycle, and tent camping in 30 mile per hour winds with temps below freezing is what we call romance. I'm grinning as I write. It makes us sound pretty hard core, but I guess we are just a little bit. Still, with all our gear, we were never uncomfortable. In fact, I'd label us pretty much "blissed out" the entire time.
After being home and back to family life, the bliss definitely ebbed. It was back to a schedule and meeting kids' needs. No get-aways to high mountain tops with long uninterrupted conversations. We kept stealing looks at one another, co-conspirators of what it can be like without kids.
One thing we talked about on our get-away was that our past adventures are something we hold onto to keep us excited about our lives. Meaning, it's the experiences, not the attainment of objects, that we both treasure. I enjoyed spending time with my playmate again, letting the adventure unfold together. It was like stepping back in time fourteen years. I'm savoring it even now.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

At it again

I know, I know. I complain bitterly about sewing them up, but they're just so darn awesome. I want everyone to have one. We all have an artist within, don't we? I've been using my kids to do a little drawing lately. I think I may have to keep one of these new ones for myself. More here if you're interested.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Elderberry and Honey

Elderberry syrup is something I meant to rave on and on about last year in this blog space. My friends have all heard an earful about it. We are an elderberry consuming family when cold and flu season comes around. The problem is that I was purchasing each bottle and it was running us broke.

The merits of elderberry and honey can be looked up all over the Internet now. I have no regrets about our consumption, even with the expense of purchased syrup. We are an inordinately healthy family and that is priceless. I'm secretly convinced it's because of a daily consumption of our own honey. Toss in the elderberry syrup during the dreaded cold and flu season, and we've avoided much of what we've been exposed to in the last couple of years.

What finally prompted me to make my own was when I felt the budget was too tight to splurge on the store bought syrup. (The bottle pictured above is what I would recommend if you're not going to make your own.) We quickly succumbed to whatever virus was making its germy way into our household. That's it. Elderberry and honey may not be the answer, but it seems to be a magic wand of sorts. I purchased dried elderberry and here's the recipe we used:

1/2 cup dried elderberries
3 cups water
1 cup honey
I boiled the water and elderberries and then turned down the heat to a simmer for an hour or so. I pureed with my trusty handheld Cuisinart. (I'm in love with this little gem and you can see it in the background of the above pic.) Some may chose to strain seeds with cheesecloth after this, but we skipped it. They are about like raspberry seeds, and pleasantly crunchy. Then we added our honey, using the Cuisinart to stir well. Let it cool and put in a lidded mason jar in the fridge. It will keep for months, but must be refrigerated. (I'm not a health professional, but the doses we use are 1 tsp for our 4 yr old, 2 tsp for 7 yr old, and 4 tsp for adults.)
This is the label for our honey, created by our talented graphic designer friend. It's for sale at tail gate markets around town or you can contact me. What do you think of that design? I gave her the name and she came up with it because she knows us well.

So... after not too much effort and $4.75 worth of berries, we had a huge batch. Easy peasy. I wish I had made my own about a year ago, but such is life. I'm always reminding myself that it's hard to do it all.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Fall in Western North Carolina

What does this time of year mean for you?

Friday, October 1, 2010

Just what we needed...

This is what it took to help me heal...

Running, swimming, playing in the sand, sea shell walks, sewing, reading, knitting, fishing, sitting in rocking chairs watching the ocean shift...

Eating sea trout, red drum, and flounder that my husband caught. Combining every good catch with beets, potatoes, basil, and the last of summer's tomatoes from our mountain gardens.

No phones, t.v., or Internet connections. No schedule... just the four of us.

I miss it already. It was extraordinary, and just the cleansing we needed as a family.
Happy 1st of October to you!