Monthly Archives: November 2014

Giving Thanks and Reflecting

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As a kid Thanksgiving was always one of those “meh” holidays to me. Sure it was fun to get together with family, but as a young girl it didn’t seem like there was much in it for me. On Valentines day we always received some sort of gift, or a nice chunk of chocolate. St. Patrick’s day was a good excuse to pinch. April Fools day, well it needs no explaining to anyone who has ever been a child. There was endless candy at Easter, with at least one toy in the basket.¬† By the time the 4th of July rolled around it didn’t even matter that there were no gifts, it was summer, we were out of school, and we spent all our time out of doors swimming without a care in the world. On Halloween I actually looked forward to candy hangovers. Christmas, well, yeah, it’s Christmas. Poor little Thanksgiving though, nestled right in between two major holidays. The adults always made such a big to-do about the occasion, and while I knew there was significance in it, I didn’t care–it could have been any other day to me. As far as holidays are concerned Thanksgiving fell pretty close to the bottom, just a small step up from ever boring labor day or memorial day.

Somewhere in my early 20s things turned around. Maybe it was a gradual thing that happened after I no longer lived at home and the idea of spending time with my family no longer made me want to puncture my eyeballs, or perhaps it was more about my growing love for food and cooking. Either way, Thanksgiving has redeemed itself to me and is now only a shallow step behind Christmas on my holiday list hierarchy.

I don’t think I need to go through the list of things I feel thankful for, as I am sure the list is quite similar to the majority; family, food, clothes, a roof, good health, and so on. I do however want to say that this year I am especially grateful for community. It means different things to different people, and in my opinion it isn’t exclusive to those who are outside your doors. To me community is those you surround yourself with on a regular basis, whether it be in your neighborhood, around your city, or even online, it is a wonderful thing to have–and I am so thankful for the community that I have come to be a part of over the past three and a half years as a parent. They have changed my life for the better and made me feel less insane as a parent than I know I am.

And so here we are, at December. The most wonderful time of the year. The year of my birth. Christmas. The end of a year. It is such a magical, reflective time–and one that quite often can bring up a lot of sadness when one looks back upon the hard times, whether over the past year or with family and friends. My wish to you all, and to myself, for this coming month and holiday is that we can all let it go, as much as possible anyway. Enjoy the here and now, enjoy the family that is present, enjoy the friends, and most importantly, enjoy the food.

 

Getting Ready for the Holidays

cranberry coffee cake

deer ornament

cutting fabric

dried fruit

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carrot cookies

Another week, another weekend, and back on to Monday.

Lately our days just slip together. Wake, cook, live, cook, sleep, repeat. The length and difficulty of our bedtime routine is more often than not in direct correlation with the kind of day we have had (a quick bedtime is most often a sure sign of a long and rocky day). The season has changed. We use covers at night, sometimes only a sheet, but covers. Sweaters are required for going out to do the laundry in the morning and for evening dog walks. It no longer seems out of season to run the oven daily or have a pot of soup bubbling on the stove. I have been taking advantage of both of those things.

I am still cooking out of Simply in Season, which I checked out from the library and have enjoyed so much that i purchased a copy. The recipes are easy and without much fuss, the flavors are seasonal, and dishes are delicious. This week I made two deserts from the book, the cranberry coffee cake and carrot cookies. Both were delicious, though to be honest I am not much of a cookie person, so I may only make these cookies again on request. Tonight we made turkey lentil pilaf for dinner, and I am so pleased with it, it is definitely going into the ‘make again’ folder.

I am starting some Christmas sewing, and just this weekend realized¬† needed to push a few projects to the back burner if I am going to ever finish my Christmas projects. First up is a stocking for Lucy, something I put off the past few years. Next year I will get one made up for June. Doll clothes and a doll sling carrier are also on the to do list, which will make up the majority of Lucy’s Christmas gifts this year.

And now onto a new week, one of thanks and gratitude. Happy early Thanksgiving.

Baking and Sewing and Growing

oatmeal bread

sewing a quilt

tea

avocado on toast

pear upside down gingerbread

pear upside down gingerbread

Having a second baby has made me reflect a lot upon the past three and a half years, and all the things that have changed in my life since then. I realized last week that one of the biggest changes in myself is my ability to multitask. I remember feeling so flustered when Lucy was born; care for a baby, clean dishes, wash diapers, and cook dinner?! I felt like those things took my entire day to accomplish, if I was even able. I remember feeling incredibly sad and overwhelmed by the fact that I really could not work on any of my own projects. Slowly those things crept back in, but there was a long time where I felt like I would never be able to do anything for myself again. No sewing, no painting, no crafting (I had not yet become proficient in knitting). While I hardly have time for those things now, somehow I have managed to make a little space for them each day, for my own sanity.

The weather is dipping here. I know others will scoff at me for saying that (heck, I am scoffing at me for saying that!), but we had a few 60 degree days and the weather has been in the low 70s. regularly. This is considered sweater weather here, and as measly of a fall as it is, I am happy it is here.

The oven has been on pretty consistently for the past few weeks. I made a sweet potato pie and ate most of it myself in secret. Bread baking has been on my mind since the temperature has started dropping and I finally got the opportunity to make two delicious loaves of oatmeal bread, recipe from this book. I picked up a copy last week at the library and have already made a few things, including the upside down pear gingerbread. I am thinking about buying a copy for myself, because both recipes are keepers. I love cookbooks that are organized by seasons, I think all cookbooks ought to be that way!

Not pictured but incredibly delicious, is this One Pot 45 Minute Coq au Vin with Brown Butter Sage Mashed Potatoes. I made it tonight, it was super easy and one of the tastiest things I have cooked up in a long time. I need more one pot meals in my life, clean up is such a snap!

I hope all is well, and everyone is getting excited for the holiday season, I sure am!

This and That (and a Little More)

breakfast enchiladas

kisses

knitting

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I find that the longer I go without blogging, the harder it is. A week and a few days feels too long to me–I start to feel uninspired to post. The days start to roll together and the things I think about writing become more trivial. They probably are trivial in the grand scheme of things, but seeing as I enjoy blogging, I would like to remain somewhat consistent about posting here–even with a new babe, less time, and pretty average days at best.

Three weeks old on Monday. How quickly the time does fly. The adjustment to this addition to our family has been much easier and much quicker than the first time around. I don’t know if she is an easy baby or just an easier one than the first, but her seemingly calm presence really is the perfect addition to our household (and probably why this second transition feels so much easier than the first time!).

We are so fortunate to belong to a really fantastic mama group. The past two weeks we have been showered in the most incredible home cooked meals from the other mamas in the group. I do enjoy cooking (most of the time), so while I am itching to get back in the kitchen, it has been nice to focus the extra time that it would have taken to make dinner on my sweet girls and our family.

1. Leftover enchiladas with an egg for breakfast, ahhhmazing–try it!

2. More kisses.

3. A little bit of knitting and looking up bread recipes (still haven’t found time for that one though!)

4. First pomegranate of the season.

5. Getting the hang of the wrap, when Lucy was this age we used the sling exclusively, but I am enjoying learning a new way of babywearing. Also, a hat I knitted up in the hospital while I was in labor (and finished the day after she was born. Info on the baby bonnet, here.

6-9. Picnics. My favorite way to spend the weekend!