Nurturing Chaos and Taming Joy

The Butterfly Effect

The Butterfly Effect Theory  “sensitive dependence on initial conditions”

“Nurturing chaos and taming joy” 

It is meant to be tongue-in-cheek but it’s a pretty accurate way for me to describe what it is like raising five children.

Each have their own agenda; five beautifully vibrant souls in their own orbits, at times coalescing then separating, zigging and zagging.

It is at times a chaotic and joyful life punctuated with periods of peace and contentment.

I spend a lot of time keeping everyone from destroying the house or each other. Most times, I am taming joy. When someone decides to jump across furniture like a leap frog, start a game of chase in the house, or climb the banister like Spiderman, I must step in for safety. You may do parkour outside but you may not do parkour in the living room.”

I repeat myself, a lot. Small victories add up. I just have to have faith some of it sticks. I figure as long as I am consistent 80% of the time that other 20% just means I am human.

A game of tag in the backyard is going well with no yelling or bickering. I peek in on a board or card game underway and everyone is content and harmonious, which is heartening, even if it only lasts for 10 minutes before someone is yelling.

Without my prompting or suggesting, everyone is quietly reading or looking at books; I fall over dead. No, actually I race away to actually get something done for myself. I do as much as one can do with a toddler in tow. Small victories.

I am the manager of chaos. There is order in chaos.


Sparkler in motion, summer 2015.

It may not be readily apparent but it is there all the same. This is especially true in human interactions. We are social creatures and our nature requires that we interact with others. We move in and out of various states of order and disorder, converging and diverging. For most of us, family is the first social group in which we learn to differentiate ourselves from one another while simultaneously embracing our “oneness” or solidarity. It is about our attachment to one another. Family should be our safe base. Home should be our soft place to land.

We attach and we individuate.

This is a sometimes messy but always necessary process. 

I must nurture this process while providing structure and boundaries. I often remind my older kids Mom is a person too. Everyone needs their own time and space to nurture themselves, for self care. This looks different for each family and this is because we are not raising clones but individuals with their own distinct views, drives, and desires of the world. Our world.

Where do you end and I begin?  

"Mother nursing her child" 1906, Mary Cassatt

“Mother nursing her child” 1906, Mary Cassatt

As a mother I am acutely aware of the eternal enormity of my role.

We set the tone of the home. As humans, as mothers, fathers, sisters or brothers; we each influence one another in our own way. There exists a “sensitive dependence on initial conditions.” Some conditions we have control over and others we most certainly do not. Our children come to us with many default features.

Mothers nurture nature. We are all nurturing nature.

Each day I am reminded of my strengths, limitations, and humanity. Doing human is hard and growing them is even harder. I often tell my kids it’s the hardest job you’ll ever love. I am doing my very best and sometimes that has to be good enough.

Chaos Theory

Attachment Theory

Communication and Accommodation Theory

The Principle of Individuation

Behavioral Epigenetics: How Nurture Shapes Nature

The Art of Mary Cassatt

… more on Mary Cassatt

The Art of Josephine Wall


Zombie Cocktail (aka ‘Blood in the Water’)


Zombie Cocktail aka "Blood in the Water" for the "Fear the Walking Dead" Season 2 Premiere

Zombie Cocktail aka “Blood in the Water” for the “Fear the Walking Dead” Season 2 Premiere

The second season of “Fear the Walking Dead” is tomorrow night! I am getting this out late but better late than never. I imagine if you were on the ‘Abigail’ this is what you would be drinking! (Update: We stopped watching this season after the first couple of episodes; it was that bad. If you are toughing it out we ‘salud’ you!)

For this drink you will need your personal taste of:

1.5 oz of Blueberry Vodka
0.5 to 1 oz of Blue Curacao
Lemon-Lime Soda (or tonic for less sweet)
Grenadine or Raspberry Syrup (Raspberry Syrup works best)                                                                       (For non-alcoholic version Blue Gatorade and/or blue Hawaiian Punch OR blue food dye)
Chilled Glasses and Ice

First add the Vodka…

Vodka and Chilled Mug

Next, add the Blue Curacao and top off with your choice of lemon-lime soda or tonic water. For non-alcoholic version leave out alcohol and add your choice of blue gatorade/punch, or blue food dye to lemon-lime soda.

Blue Cauracao and Soda

Blue Curacao and Lemon-Lime Pop (sub Tonic for less sweet)

Finally, add Grenadine or Raspberry syrup for effect…



Raspberry syrup works best!

Raspberry syrup works best!

Keep adding syrup until you have your desired effect/flavor…

Keep pouring...

Keep pouring…

More is better.

More is better.

Ahh Perfect.

God that's good.


If you are hosting a “Fear the Walking Dead” party, serve with ‘Zombie Parts’ appetizers Bacon Wrapped Shrimp and/or Bacon Wrapped Smokies.

Zombie Parts

Zombie Parts

Serves 6 to 8

Zombie Parts (Bacon Wrapped Smokies & Shrimp)

1 hrPrep Time

1 hrTotal Time

Save RecipeSave Recipe


  • 1.5 lbs. of Bacon
  • 1 lb. of Smokies
  • 1 c. Brown Sugar for Smokies
  • 1 lb. of Large Shrimp, peeled & deveined
  • Toothpicks or Skewers


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prep the smokies first.
  2. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
  3. Next, place 1 c. brown sugar in a large mixing bowl.
  4. Dredge smokies and 10-12 slices of bacon cut into thirds in brown sugar.
  5. Wrap smokies in bacon and slide onto skewers.
  6. You can use toothpicks but skewers make it easier to turn them over.
  7. Once all are skewered, set aside.
  8. Now, prep your shrimp
  9. Peel and devein them.
  10. Next, take 10-12 slices of bacon and cut them in half.
  11. Wrap shrimp with bacon and secure with toothpicks or place on skewers as well. Set aside.
  12. Place bacon wrapped smokies on prepared baking sheet and cook for 30 minutes
  13. Turn at 15 minutes.
  14. Set aside on serving platter, remove skewers, cover and place in microwave to keep warm.
  15. Adjust oven temperature to 450 degrees.
  16. Reuse foil covered baking sheet from smokies or prep another sheet.
  17. Place shrimp on baking sheet and place in 450 degree oven for no more than 15 minutes.
  18. Turn at 7 or so minutes.
  19. If you prefer crispy bacon you will need to precook your bacon for a couple of minutes.
  20. Allow to cool, then wrap shrimp and bake.
  21. Allow to rest for about 5-10 minutes before serving.


These are very rich!

Enjoy your Zombie Cocktails and Parts!

Have fun and be safe!


Our Small Kitchen Potager

May 2014

May 2014 in the Kitchen Potager

I love gardening. I really love gardening with my kids. They helped me plant the beds in the above picture. We have lots of happy memories here!

Spring is one of my favorite seasons. Everything is coming back to life and new life is beginning. There is so much hope and promise!

Now is the time for the kids and I to sow sweet peas, carrots, radishes, spinach, lettuce and beets. I still need to turn the beds over and prep them for this season! Oh, and I have NO seed started indoors. I am so behind but the weather is still very cool and many veggies can be directly sowed. 

I started a kitchen potager back in 2010 and I have been changing it around each year. I meant to keep up my gardening posts but time got away from me and I am running to catch up! Basically, this is just a quick rundown of the last 2-3 years.

Potager Apr2014

April 2014 Veggies on the inside in raised beds and butterfly garden flower border on the outside for cutting bouquets and supporting Monarchs.

We (I mean hubby) made a wattle fence out of the tree we cut down a couple of years before. I used the thicker limbs to frame our 4X4 raised beds but I really needed something better.

May 2014 Progress

May 2014 progress; strawberry and spinach bed, strawberries and carrots, herbs and greens, tomatoes and peppers

We went to the big orange box store hunting for some landscaping stone that had straight enough edges and sizing to contain our square beds. We needed a material that would not rot. We settled on their limestone composite stones that allowed us to get as close to 4 feet as possible. We used straw from the local farm and garden store  to cover walkways and deter weeds from growing.

pot. pro.3

North view of potager with strawberries and carrots on the left and swiss chard, lettuce, and cabbage on the right.

We used wire fencing to keep the bunnies out. HA! We were not successful, even digging it in 6 inches there are still too many areas for them to squeeze through. Every spring I have found a Mama bunny and her babies in my herb bed. So cute… so destructive. They love all the sugar snap peas and strawberries. Back to the drawing board! I am going to try and make some garden cloches to protect my seedlings. They may just be a new post!

'Comtesse de Bouchaud' Clematis

Clematis ‘Comtesse de Bouchaud’

clematis pink closeup

Close up

A honey bee enjoying a dinner plate dahlia.

A honey bee enjoying a dinner plate dahlia in our cutting flower garden.

Giant Zinnias and Morning Glory Heavenly Blue with Grandpa Ott peeking through.

Giant Zinnias and Morning Glory Heavenly Blue

Concord Grape on arbor with Lakemont on right.

Summer 2015 Concord Grape on arbor with Lakemont on right. The concord was growing up into the neighboring tree and has since been pruned.