Mudpies & More- making the most of childhood

logo-17

Mrs. Pea’s Perspective has expanded! Please join me on this parenting adventure over at Mudpies & More.  This is a site for me to share all the great resources I have picked up over the past 3 years, as well as the many more I will pick up along the way.  Not mention all the great adventures Doug and I will share.  Hope to see you there!

 

Advertisements

A Pea in the Pod

You know when you have a secret SO big and SO good that all you want to do is talk about it, so instead you just stop talking… well that’s what has happened to me.  Today however, I get to share!

There is a PEA in this pod!!! 

Baby Announcement

Told you it was a good secret!  We are beyond excited to be expecting our first child this fall.  I only wish I knew the gender NOW.  I have so many ideas swirling around in my head for nursery projects, but I can’t start anything until I know which gender I will be welcoming home.  Of course my energy level is WAY down right now anyways.  My afternoons are typically spent napping these days and the rest of the time I’ve been a little green.  In just a couple more weeks I will be past the first trimester slump, and into the superwoman phase of the second trimester (or so I’ve been told).

In the meantime, stay tuned for more updates!

 

Illustration 101

Along with the new year resolution to take better care of my health, I signed up for a class, Illustration, an Introduction at the School of Museum of Fine Arts here in Boston.  I love living in a city where all sorts of colleges and universities offer continuing education classes and certificate programs!  The SMFA offers a certificate program in Illustration that I am interested in, and this introductory class seemed like the perfect way to test the waters before committing.

I love walking into an art school and knowing I belong there!  I love that this class is getting me to be creative outside of my Etsy shop realm.  My professor is a little cooky (as to be expected from an Art school prof.) but he’s gotten everyone out of a judgmental frame of mind and into creating like a child again.  It is awesome to see how many varied approaches there are to the assignments; we all start with the same information but we all come back with a wild array of responses.  If there is criticism in the classroom, it is coming from ourselves and focused on our own work.  My professor always counters that criticism with a “NO it’s cool”, or “You got it.”  Then he tells you about an artist you should look up that works in a similar way.  It is very accepting and sets a nice tone for the whole class.

There are students in the class that have never taken an art class before and others who are very experienced, so it’s a nice mix.  The homework assignments range from technique exercises to full on editorialized illustrations in mediums you might not have worked with before.  It is wonderful to be encouraged to try new things without the result being criticized.

On top of all of this, my student ID now gets me into all of Boston’s top Art Museums for free this semester!  I am looking forward to exploring the new additions at the Museum of Fine Arts as well as the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum this spring.

Now enough talking, here is some of my work for the class so far:

Copy of a Seurat Drawing Plate, pencil

Copy of a Seurat Drawing Plate, pencil

Copy of a Seurat Drawing Plate, pencil

Copy of a Seurat Drawing Plate, pencil

Loneliness, Bad Childhood Memory, cut paper

Loneliness, Bad Childhood Memory, cut paper

Disney World, Good Childhood Memory, cut paper

Disney World, Good Childhood Memory, cut paper

These are a couple of examples of both the technique exercises, and the original work assignments.  The Seurat copy plates taught us about the use of tone and background to enliven the subject.  The cut paper illustrations was an assignment to illustrate a good and a bad childhood memory in any medium we’d like.  I wanted to play off the positive and negative so I chose to work only with black and white.  Being the only one working with cut paper really got people’s attention, so I hope some of my classmates might try it out too.

We’ve only met three times so far, but I promise to share my work as the class progresses.  One of my next assignments has us working with clayboard, a medium I have never used.  It should be interesting.  In the meantime, have a good week!

 

New Year, New Goals

Hi All!  First of all let me apologize for posting a giveaway and then disappearing.  I bit off more than I could chew over the holidays and Mrs. Pea’s first giveaway fell through the cracks. 😦  However, if Roberta Decker and Emily over at The Waiting are still interested in receiving their snowflakes please send me your mailing addresses through private email on my Facebook or Etsy page.

Now on to the new year!  I hope you all had wonderful holidays and have all recuperated from them by now.  This year I resolved to take control of my health.  **Warning the rest of this post is about digestion issues**

For most of my life I have suffered from what my husband and I call “bad tummy” issues; the rest of the world knows it as irritable bowel syndrome or IBS.  This not only affects my digestion but also my energy levels and moods.  It is a functional disorder but none the less painful and embarrassing.  Over the summer my doctors found I had H. Pylori, a common gut bacteria that can cause peptic ulcers, I really hoped that going through all the antibiotic treatments would help my “bad tummy” but in fact it has made it worse.

Well, this is the year I take the reins and make my bad tummy better!  I found a book called IBS: Free at Last! and it really has changed my life already.  The author, Patsy Catsos, explains what is happening in the digestive process that causes IBS flare ups, and outlines how this new diet out of Australia works to control it.   The low-FODMAP diet works by eliminating or at least limiting certain carbs, found in every type of food from veggies to sugar-free additives, that are poorly digested and quickly fermented in the gut.  To quote wikipedia,

FODMAPs are short chain carbohydrates and monosaccharides which are poorly absorbed in the small intestine, including fructans, galactans, fructose and polyols. The term is an acronym, deriving from “Fermentable, Oligo-, Di-, Mono-saccharides and Polyols“.

In Patsy’s book she lays out a plan to eliminate all FODMAP heavy foods from your diet for a couple of weeks and then taking a series of challenges in each carb category to figure out which ones you are most sensitive too.   Within days of starting the elimination diet I was back to my old self again.  It has been hard giving up wheat, cheese, garlic, and onions.  My key to success so far is having a meal plan everyday.  This diet is fairly easy to follow if you are cooking your meals at home, but extremely difficult to stick to when eating outside the house.

So far I have made it through two challenge phases: the fructan challenge which includes wheat, garlic and onions, as well as the lactose challenge, I’m certain you all know the term lactose by now.  While it was nice to get a weekend to enjoy wheat and another for ice cream, neither of these challenges ended well for me.  I am hoping the next two will go better, but we will see.

At the end of these challenges I will know what permanent lifestyle changes I will have to make.  The goal of this diet isn’t to cut certain food out of my life for good but to know what to limit in my everyday diet and to recognize ahead of time what is going cause my “bad tummy.”  Having the power to spot a problem food for me is HUGE!

In the coming months I hope to move my cooking section out of this blog and into another one focused more on low-FODMAP living.  I am trying to think of a catchy name for said blog, so please leave suggestions in the comments below!

Happy New Year!

My Work is Making Headlines!

This is a very special weekend for me and my old co-workers at Amaze Design, you see our museum project opened December 1st to great fan fare!  Amaze Design was responsible for 5 out of the 11 galleries at the new Perot Museum of Nature & Science in Dallas, TX.   I was one of the senior exhibit designers mainly developing the designs for the Life Hall, Earth Hall, and Universe Hall.

It is thrilling to see this project open, and even more exciting to see the opening being covered in The New York Times, The Miami Herald, The Chicago Tribune, and of course all the Dallas news media just to name a few!

Discovering Life Hall

This is the photo accompanying the New York Times article, it is over looking the Discovering Life Hall.  😉  It’s a special weekend indeed.

 

Friday Reflection: The Christmas List

 

Making a Christmas list is a new thing for me.  I know every year you get asked what would you like and maybe, if your lucky, you have one or two things in mind; but to make a whole list?!  It wasn’t until I started celebrating Christmas with my husband’s family that making a list was even something I needed to think about.

In my family we don’t make lists.  My dad writes us a check every year, period.  After spending all that money on gifts for others, we’re always grateful for Dad’s check.  My mom, well she starts shopping or making presents as early as January.  Heck, it’s not unlike her to go take advantage of the after Christmas sales and hoard those goodies for next year.  Basically giving her a list in November or December is pretty pointless, her shopping is usually done.  Now there a four kids in my family, what about giving them a list?  Growing up my father would take us to the mall in December, give us each a set amount of money and let us run free until our shopping spree was done.  You could let another sibling know what you wanted as long as it was $20 or less and available at the mall we were going to.  So really these things got decided on the fly, at the mall.  Even now as we’re older, our incomes and states of employment vary so much it’s hard to ask for things from them.

Given these family traditions, I really value a good, thoughtful gift.  (See my last post about Quilts!)  Each year under the tree there’s a lot of OK things, some really horrendous things, but always a couple of spot on gifts.  And each year my siblings and I gather around our piles of open gifts and laugh (especially over the horrendous things) then swap gifts as needed.  I’m laughing now just thinking about some of those gifts.  One year I got an early ’90’s style mid-drift baring sweater, covered with huge sunflowers.  Oh it was bad, sweaters should not bare mid-drifts!  My mom has since turned it into the cutest armrest covers.  The thing is, I now value the humor the bad gifts bring to Christmas, almost as much as the Ok gifts.  😉

My husband’s family brought a whole different set of traditions into my life.  Being a much smaller family of 4, they make each other lists and then divide the list between themselves.  My in-laws also go to the mall with their kids, but instead of everyone roaming free they shop together and when they see something they want someone buys it.  Of course my Mother-in-Law buys a few surprises for them as well, things she thinks they’ll like, but mostly there aren’t too many unknowns under their tree.  It was a bit of culture shock for me to enter into these traditions.

The first year we went Christmas shopping with the In-Laws, she kept asking if I would like that when I picked something up.  She followed me and in every store she would find a way to ask me if I wanted something.  I got uncomfortable very quickly.  I was suddenly in the spotlight of her generosity and had no idea what to do to get out of it.  Mr. Pea finally had to tell her I was uncomfortable, and at the end of the trip I let her buy me a small $10 item I was going to buy for myself anyways.

Now, my mother-in-law is a very sweet woman!  She certainly didn’t mean to make me uncomfortable, this is just how she shops with her children, and I am now one of her children.  It just took some adjusting on both our parts.  The next year I gave in and made them a Christmas list.  Having never made a Christmas list, I approached it like I do a shopping trip.  I gather up all the things I like in the store bring it into the dressing room and probably buy one of those thing.  So I made a huge list of things that caught my eye, but didn’t necessarily want, in hopes it would give them ideas of the kinds of things I like.  Not only was this too much, but I had sent it to my family as well, so there was no hope of coordinating.  Epic fail!  Last year was by far the easiest, we still had items left on our wedding registry to be purchased.  There was no need to stress over my lack of Christmas list etiquette.

Based on how nicely things went last year, I have a new approach this year, the Amazon wish list!  With the wonder of the internet I can even add items from other websites to this list, and once it’s purchased it’s removed from the list, just like a registry.  So I can send it to my family and his as suggestions, without all those people needing to coordinate.  Plus much like pinterest, I can use it to bookmark larger items I want for the house or to buy my husband.  Thank you Amazon for this handy tool!  Hopefully, this year will go as smoothly as last year.

At least I just had to learn to ask for things, Mr. Pea had to learn to find the humor in the random assortment of gifts from my family.  😀

Here’s to the Quilt

I typically end the week with a Friday Reflection post and in a sense this is partly a reflection.  For my High School graduation I was given a quilt.  It was made just for me by a family friend who sadly passed away not so long ago.  At first I wasn’t quiet sure what I would do with it, but I was touched she would go to the trouble to make this for me.  So it came with me to college and immediately became my favorite thing to curl up under.

Here is the quilt in my college suite, I pray my younger brother will forgive me for posting a picture of him sleeping.

This quilt has graced every couch, in every apartment I have ever lived in since I was 18.  Today it is still the blanket on my couch that my husband and I cuddle up under almost every night.  For nearly half of my life and ALL of my adult life (outside my parent’s home) this quilt has been with me.  It holds memories of late night gab sessions with roommates, days of being sick as a dog, days of being sad or happy, but mostly it has taken the chill out of any room and kept me and those I love warm.

So it was a great honor when Mr. Pea’s family friends, Denise Konicek & her husband Richard, wanted to make us a quilt for our wedding.  Knowing how significant the gift of a quilt is, I was deeply touched.  Denise brought preliminary sketches and fabric to the rehearsal dinner.  She emailed us for personal preferences here and there on some of the design details throughout the year.  In honor of our first anniversary (and their thirtieth) she had us all over for a lavish brunch and unveiled the quilt.  We were floored to say the least at how beautiful, how detailed this quilt is!

Here we are being presented with our wedding quilt

The quilt incorporates several traditional tiles including, true lover’s knot, steps to the altar, wedding rings, and finally their wish to us, peace & plenty.  These tiles all wrap around our intertwined initials.   How incredible is this quilt?!  To top it off each square has its own unique stitching pattern.

 

True Lover’s Knot

This quilt is an instant family heirloom!  It graces our bed and keeps us warm while being light and cozy.  It changed what was once just a bed into our marriage bed.

Thank you Theodore for the beautiful quilt that holds so many memories for me, and thank you Denise for this treasured family heirloom!  I know this quilt will hold generations of memories for our family to come.

You can find out more about Denise and her quilting at deelightfulquilts.com, or her incredible tiling at www.denisekonicektiling.com

Theodora & my mother created several children’s books together before Theo’s passing, you can find them at www.barnesandnoble.com/c/theodora-choffel

 

Happy Friday!