Wednesday, November 30, 2011

i'm gonna eat that baby

Forget chocolate and fruit cake. I get to have my fill of yummy baby parts this holiday season. Why are their shoulder so juicy and their chins so delicious? What is it about those dents in their fingers and the rolls on their wrists? Oh so many sweet rolls.

Those long thick eyelashes are like sprinkles on top of her cheek cupcakes.

And that hair! Oh how I will miss that hair when it decides to lay down. Right now it's a non-stop party on top of that wee head. She pops up in the morning and this site fills me with joy.
And the best part are the squeals of laughter. It's that pure, unabridged, fresh from the baby tree laughter that fills my heart every time I take a nibble on that little sack of sugar. Seriously, who needs holiday candy when you have all that?

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

winter preparations

This was that weekend. The weather was dry and temperate enough. The marina is void of weekenders and tourists. The geese were signaling us overhead making a V off the stern, due south. It's time to start readying for the winter. It's quite the ritual and the whole community was out chatting and helping and passing the occasional glass of wine if need be.

The kayaks are in their beds. The winter water hose is insulated and in place. The last boat wash of the season is done and the sails have come off for some winter rest and repairs. Many folks have a ritual for putting their gardens to bed for the cold months, this is how we do it on the water. We hunker down and dream of sunshine and soft breezes.

Monday, November 28, 2011

turkey math

No it's not a cutesy homeschool project, it's our reality in late November. Thanksgiving dinner is simple math around here. Your average boat oven measures 15 inches by 13 inches and 7 inches tall max from the bottom rack to the top of the box. And your average turkey roasting pan is 18 inches by 14 inches, plus the mass and height of your average Thanksgiving turkey, a 13-pounder measuring at about 8 inches tall. It just doesn’t add up.  Thanksgiving dinner aboard a boat is nothing short of mission impossible.  As live aboards, we usually find some land lubbers to mooch off of or aim low with one or two homemade side dishes and an order-out turkey from a gourmet grocery store. But the boy is old enough now that he expects the full pilgrim feast scene at home and we can't let the little guy down.

So with a dash of homeschooling thrown in for spice I had Zach measure and write down the dimensions of our over and let him wield the tape measure at the grocery store. Our only hitch this year was that my mushy mama brain just didn't think about turkey until the day before, and by then the pickings for thawed turkeys were slim. The lucky bird who came back to the boat with us was within required measurements, but just barely. Zach, the somewhat guilty carnivore, named him Pilgrim and was chatting with him all day, carrying him around and apologizing for eating him. I swear he does have real live friends, really :)
I am the hypocritical carnivore in the family. While I do like to eat meat, I get all wonky about handling it. Especially poultry. Blech! So Doug was in charge of the bird. "Uh, honey, are you sure you measured this?", I heard from the galley along with grunts and squishing sounds. My husband man handled the carcass and made that thing fit. Just. Barely.

Voila! Dinner is served!
Not too shabby. This is only the second year we have cooked our own turkey. In the past we were all about the Whole Foods special counter for holiday misfits. We joke that you know you live in a little yuppie town when the police are all out directing traffic at Whole Check on the day before Thanksgiving.

Consider the fact that boat ovens are notoriously difficult when it comes to achieving and maintaining a determined temperature. And then there’s the fun trick our former Force 10 liked to do, charring the bottom of anything we cooked to a crisp while leaving the middle cold and raw. Botulism is a sure fire way to ruin a cozy family meal. 

But with two successful turkey dinners under our belts now I think we can avoid the crowds, keep a tape measure in my purse, and cook our turkey on the boat from now on. Gobble Gobble, thank you Pilgrim!

Friday, November 25, 2011

~this moment~ happy (outdoor) thanksgiving

A Friday ritual. A single few photos capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special moment. A moment I want to pause, savor, and remember. - via soulemama.

p.s.Don't forget... the code "zachaboardnov2011" is still good for the entire month of November to get you 15% your entire order at Made By Alejandro.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


It's the time when we stuff ourselves with food and wear stretchy pants and officially start the hunker down for the season. Our thankful tree has been up for about a week now. Paper leaves from construction paper and water color paintings cut up sit out for anyone in the family to jot down what they are thankful for at any time and hang it on the branch.

Zach was so sweet to put "mom" on one, but his first leaf was "Beef" and then "Worms" and "Solar System". A boy has got to have his priorities.

I found myself writing "SUN" for my first leaf as our November grey has been taking over. But among other things I am thankful for you. Yes you! Thank you to my community here who takes the time to drop in, say hello, make comments, and reach out to connect every now and again. Thank you! I am going to sign out for the rest of the week (maybe dropping in for a "moment" Friday if I am not in a turkey coma) and I hope you do the same to enjoy this lovely, lingering fall season, and good food, and friends and family. 

Monday, November 21, 2011

ch-ch-ch-ch changes

The re-organizing bug bit the crew of Majestic this month. We have been thinking about our use of space and frankly how poorly we put certain areas of our boat to good use. Zach was the one who sparked this revolution by asking one night at dinner if he could have his own office. We chuckled at first, dear sweet boy! But then he laid out his plan. He said rip out the head (toilet) from his bathroom and put in a desk and so on and so on. Oh hey, that's a great idea!

We never "opened" the head in his wee little bathroom because if he started going in there it would just be one more toilet to clean. So he tromps down the hall to our head or uses the one on the "guest room" side in the port hull. So why the heck is it sitting there, doing nothing. The whole bathroom is sitting there doing nothing. Of course it becomes a place for the boy to toss his stuff when he is supposed to be cleaning his room (ahem) or he turn it into different spaces (like here), but it's still an undefined space with a big ugly toilet.

So this weekend we ripped out the toilet and tossed it in the dumpster. The plumbing remains intact yet hidden in case this space ever needs to be a bathroom again. We're working on leveling the floor (it dips down to accommodate a drain for a potential stand up shower from the extendable sink faucet), again the new floor (a painted piece of plywood) will be easily removable for a quick change back to bathroom if needed. The faucets for the sink will be removed and another piece of plywood in place there to create a shelf.
Zach is buzzing with ideas for storing his "office supplies" and how to set up his desk. I am buzzing with ideas of some surprise decorations to give the place some personality. (I am thinking a couple small prints like this, they are SO him!)

If anyone has any fun print suggestions... tell me in the comments!
So Zach's need for a space of his own lit my fire for that need too. We have a "work room"/ pantry area/ laundry dump. It's nothing short of a disaster. It's truly embarrassing. My sweet husband does not posses what one might call the tidy and organized gene. So the work room is his dumping place for stuff he doesn't want to put away at the moment (sorry honey, busted!) We talked about it and decided that using the cubbies spread throughout the boat that Zach and I squirrel our art and homeschool items in would be a better idea for his tool and such. The truth is, projects never happen IN the workroom. They explode all over the boat in the area that is getting worked on. So why bother with a work space?

I am taking over.

Oh the images in my head for this space keep me up at night. I am not sure what we can pull off but I see it as a creative work space for the kids and I. A place for sewing and messy art and organizing of school stuff and so on and so on. I still have to share the space with the pantry and laundry somehow, I mean this is still a boat after all. But with some fresh paint and a mama's touch I think we can get the place organized, useful, and maybe even nice looking. So with a deep breath I am presenting you with the before photo (cringe)
... and it may take a little time with the holidays and all but I am so very excited about the potential after pic... to be continued...

Friday, November 18, 2011

~this moment~ i like ships too

A Friday ritual. A single photo capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special moment. A moment I want to pause, savor, and remember. - via soulemama.

p.s.Don't forget... the code "zachaboardnov2011" is still good for the entire month of November to get you 15% your entire order at Made By Alejandro.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

my old timey boy

He is the boy who begs me to take him to antique shops. He stops to stare at Victorian homes and loves little old men who dress "old timey". He's the boy who said to me recently, "Can we only study history and nothing else?" He's the boy who drew a portrait of Horatio Nelson to hang on his wall. Which of course leads to the ships. He looks at books and books of old ships, he draws old ships, he sculpts them in clay, he dreams of them at night. So taking a trip to Jamestown Settlement was a treat that had him packing his bags days ahead of time. A case of the sickies almost killed the whole deal, but we managed to get there and let him soak it all in.

It was so sweet watching him absorb it all, so in his element. I could see his wheels turning, his imagination swirling, his eyes twinkling.

If only I could see what was in his head as he walked the ships, my sweet old timey boy.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

jumping for Joy

You know how I keep saying that I really want to learn how to knit? Well, it hasn't happened yet :) The funny thing is Zach thinks I know how to knit. It's sweet and funny really. He'll see some yarn and say...

Mama will you make me a hat with this?
Uh, honey, I don't know how to knit.
Yes you do!
No, baby, I don't.
But we've knitted things before mama!
Um, honey I just cut things out of felted sweaters.
What about those mittens?
That bag?
My mushroom hat?
Sweater again my love.
Mama you need to learn how to knit.
I know. I know.

But I have very generous talented friends who are wicked good with the knitting needles... lucky me! Lucky us! My pal Joy over at An Art Family (who has a whole brood of littles she is busy knitting for) was sweet enough to squeeze a project on to her needles for Zach and surprised us with this hat.

It is SO him. His eyes nearly popped out of his head when he opened the package. The color is bright and funky, just his taste. And he loves the pattern. "A mix of fisherman nets and spider webs", I am told. Once he had a good look at it he looked at me and said, "Now Finn's mama REALLY knows how to knit doesn't she?" Yes  my dear, she sure does.
(thank you Joy!)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

fall sick day

It was the last lovely day of the season I fear and my boy spent it inside very close by the head (that's bathroom to you landlubbers). Poor thing got a stomach bug and moaned and groaned dramatically all day about missing out on such a beautiful day. We opened all of the hatches and tried to make the cockpit cozy, but he was still unhappy, like a caged up critter. One minute he's hugging the toilet and the next he was jumping up and down protesting, "Why oh WHY do I have to be sick?! Make it go away, please!"

So Naia and I ventured out to grab the mail and switch laundry loads and brought some fall beauty back for Zach.

First some leaves to dip in beeswax and hang up along the windows...
Then some acorn caps to felt some more colorful wool acorns for our collection...
Spirits brightened a little and the day mellowed to books, sleep, tea, and quiet.
Here's hoping for a healthier week ahead of us.

Friday, November 11, 2011

~this moment~

A Friday ritual. A single photo capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special moment. A moment I want to pause, savor, and remember. - via soulemama.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

news and random views

A few quick updates as we spend most of our time outside soaking up this beautiful autumn weather and getting ready for a little trip with the family...
You know the wonderful Erin Goodman at Exhale. Return to Center? Well she is launching an awesome new project TODAY called Behind The Blog! She is interviewing an array of bloggers you may know and some who may be new to you and putting out Podcasts of the interviews. I was lucky enough to get a sneak peak listen to her first interview and it was such fun! Erin is a wonderful interviewer and asks some fabulous behind the scene, reality check questions that we all want to know about. Click here and have a listen... and drop Erin a line on her Facebook page and tell her what you think and who else you may want her to interview!
And another project from a dear friend is airing TONIGHT on The Food Network. The show is called Kitchen Inventors and it airs Thursday Nov 10 at 8:30pm EST. My amazing friend Steve Greenberg is hosting and I also got a sneak peak at this show and it's loads of fun and full of heart. If you get a chance Steve and I would LOVE it if you could zip over to the Food Network page and buzz about the show after it airs and also like the show page for Kitchen Inventors. The more buzz, the more chance the series will continue and then Steve and I get to stay gainfully employed :)

A thousand thank yous for supporting these projects!

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

a visitor

(Scurrying of feet on deck and down into the cockpit. Feet trying to be quiet but not quiet succeeding as they patter with excitement.)

"Mama, mama, come quick! He's here! Come! Come!"

Thankfully Naia is at that blissful stage where she can get into the cockpit on her own and feels a part of the action as she crawls after at my heels, but not big enough to get OUT of the cockpit into the danger zone. She pulls up and crains her neck around to see what's what.

Camera in hand I bound up to the edge of the cockpit and freeze next to the winch.

"Oooohhh. He's getting bolder is he? Let's be really quiet and see how close he lets us come."

Normally he's on the far portside piling, well out of reach. And lately he's taken to very low flying swoops that  literally move the boat accompanied by punctuated low squawks. But this afternoon, he's decided to visit on the starboard side mid-ship piling. Close enough to touch, not that we would. And peering into our salon window. Cheeky.

He turns his back to us as I raise my camera. Zach can not resist, despite my urging to stay put. He creeps, genuinely soft footed this time, ever closer, holding his breath but bursting with dimples.
He gets close. Too close? The Great Blue Heron is not startled. He doesn't seem threatened or worried. He seems, well, mildly annoyed. Really? Really kid? Are you really going to make me move off this perfectly lovely perch? Come on? I don't want to fly away but at the same time I can't have you coming this close. So... alright. Off we go then.

It's just another day of ordinary magical moments.
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