Category Archives: Life

Moving and Shaking

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It’s been a while. No apologies on my end (I mentioned hating when bloggers post apologies for taking time off in a previous blog post), life tends to get in the way of the extra curricular activities when you have small children.

So much has happened in the four months since I last posted (some of which you may know if you follow me on Instagram). We have spent the better part of this year, or at least the few moments of spare time, getting our home ready to sell. It has been an exhausting, draining, and very humbling experience. It’s really remarkable how as soon as you get around to fixing one thing, two others break in it’s place. It’s also puzzling why we had so much to fix and didn’t do it while we were here and able to enjoy the luxury of unbroken home finishings or appliances.

We had hoped to get our house on the market in the spring and move early summer. Here we are now in mid to late August–and still have much to do. I really didn’t want another year in this heat. This week got up to 104. If you have read my blog for any length of time you are sure to have heard my wining over the heat and how much I despise it. Every year, when late summer rolls around, my soul seems to shrivel, I become incapable of more than getting up to turn on the AC, my heart turns grey, and life feels like a blur. Possibly an exaggeration, but not entirely far from the truth. This year has been different though. I was hoping to be gone before it hit and basking in the beautiful (and very mild by comparison) Pacific Northwest summers right now, but I don’t feel nearly as depressed about this weather as I have the past 18 years. This WILL be our last summer here. I am finding a joy in it that I wasn’t able to find when I saw no end in sight. We have swam in the pool more times in the past month than I think Lucy has in her entire life, we have made more popsicles, had more messy days where the kids come in the house dripping of hose water, many days we forget to brush our hair, and the laundry is always piled pretty high. It has been a nice summer. Maybe now, on the eve of us leaving, I am finally beginning to see the beauty in this place that has been my home for the entirety of my adult years. How ironic.

As we prepare to start our first year of homeschooling next Monday, I am in awe of how other parents do it all, or even pretend to do it all–because I can’t fake that in real life or even through the beautiful filters of Instagram. Most days it feels and looks like chaos all day. I am not poetic enough to make these messy life things look beautiful.

We have found a curriculum that we love and are so excited to dive into with Lucy. How I am going to juggle a destructive (almost) two year old, stick with the our schedule, make breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and maintain some order of cleanliness in our home, is beyond me at this point–but I look forward to the challenge. The older I get the more I start to realize what matters and that other stuff really just is stuff.

So, on to new adventures and big changes. Life is looking up.

Life and Moving Forward

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I find it hard to start blog posts after a month long absence with anything other than “sorry, long time no post”, “pardon my absence”, or something along those lines. I recently read an article that challenged the idea of teaching our young girls to say sorry–from a feminist standpoint. I no longer have the link saved, but it pretty much argued the point that saying sorry for things, especially those trivial little thing that don’t matter much, can make a girl, and later a woman, feel inferior and as if she owes someone something. Of course, it is important to teach manners, like if we step on someones toe, or say something hurtful that we truly feel bad about–but I know, I for one, have been guilty of saying sorry for things I really should not feel any sorrow for–like not updating my blog. I love it here, I love you guys, I have no plans on stopping…but really, I’m not sorry. Some months will be slow, but I no longer want to even address that after a few weeks or months off. Truthfully, I always find it comforting when I get together with those friends I haven’t seen in years and we pick up exactly where we left off. So, let us pick up where I left off.

If you follow me on Instagram, you likely have heard bits and pieces of the turmoil we have been through in the past three months. My sister, who suffers from schizophrenia, upon being released from the institution (shortly after our visit to New Mexico in November) and off her anti psychotic medication, hopped in her car and drove away from her home in New Mexico. She drove 16 hours to essentially “start over”. Within a few days of her being gone we lost contact. We later found out that her phone, iPad, and the $6000 or so she had in her bank account had been stolen. We no longer had any way of contacting her. A week or so after we lost contact, her car was found abandoned in a lot with all her belongings inside. I lived for over a month thinking my sister was dead, crying myself to sleep, playing over in my head what could have happened to her, and waking every single night with nightmares. After countless attempts to locate her, my mom was finally able to get in touch with an FBI agent, and two days later we were able to confirm that she was alive, but wanted nothing to do with us. It has been about three weeks since she was located, and while I obviously feel so much relief knowing she wasn’t “done in” like one of the many scenarios that played over in my head late at night, it is far from a happy ending. We still don’t know where she is, she has no source of income, her identity has been stolen, she is off some, possibly all her medications, and the likelihood of her getting back in contact grows slimmer by the day. It has been a very scary time.

Figuring out how to move on with this hole in my heart is the hardest part. To go from talking with someone almost every day to not at all has been a real adjustment. I have tried to fill that void with extra time with friends, my relationship with my mother has improved tenfold and we now talk almost daily, but it still doesn’t replace the lack of Hallie I have in my life. No one can replace your sister.

I have been cooking a lot of big and delicious meals, buying cookbooks left and right, like I do. Checking even more out from the library. Some days it feels like all I can accomplish is a delicious dinner. Cooking is very therapeutic to me. The weather has been warm. We have spent much time outdoors. Russ built me a beautiful new table. We have been working on projects around the house. I am thankful for the distraction these kids and this life provide. I am ready to move on from the sadness and focus once again on the good in our daily lives.

Much love.

homemade naan bread

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building a farmhouse table

pomegranites growing

indian scrambled eggs with papadums

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Merry Christmas & Happy New Year

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Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all!

A week or so before Christmas, as I was working on some time sensitive projects this old computer of mine shut down and refused to power back up for me. While initially frustrated, I took it as a blessing and decided to focus entirely on our family and the holidays–distraction free! It does feel good to be back.

The Sunday before Christmas a cough started sneaking into our house. It was five days before Christmas though, no big deal, we had plenty of time to heal before the big day.  I was sadly mistaken. Never have we had such a long lasting illness. Christmas eve was filled with the pukies and Christmas day was spent in urgent care. Russ took Lucy in where she was diagnosed with pneumonia. We decided to try to make the most of it, and do everything that we could to make the day special. It was special. June, took off her diaper, as she does so frequently these days, pooped on the floor, picked it up, and carried it in the kitchen to show us. She was also  munching on something, but I am going with the idea that she found some floor bread right before she picked up her own feces to share with us. We streamed Netflix the entire day and order a pizza. It was truly a Christmas to remember.

June’s hat is called Silkefin. I knitted it up for June while I was pregnant. It was a slow project, but I am so pleased with how it turned out. Maybe because with the fingering weight yarn it really took some time, compared to the worsting weight that I usually work with, but this is the first piece I have made that truly feels like it could be an heirloom someday.

silkefin knitted baby cap

stringing cranberries

christmas tree

homade pasta

silkefin knitted baby bonnet

birthday cake

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Thanksgiving in Taos

thanksgiving dinner in taos

While I was solo parenting for the majority of our vacation, we were fortunate enough to be able to have daddy fly out and join us a few days before and after the holiday. What a treat! He came in during the night, and snuck into bed beside us. The girls were so happy when they woke Wednesday morning–what a surprise!

This was my first year cooking an entire Thanksgiving meal (other than the bird, my mom was in charge of turkey). I started the Monday before and did one or two dishes a day. It all came together so well, with no stress at all (though the wine may have played a part in that as well). I’m not sure if I have ever felt so proud of a meal I put together.

We made a gratitude tree in the days leading up to Thanksgiving and filled it with things we feel thankful for. Lucy’s leafs took up about 75% of the tree. It was such a treat to read through them all.

Mid meal it started hailing, which left us with the ultimate treat–a rainbow!

I hope you and yours had a happy holiday as well.

making gravy

thanksgiving tree

thanksgiving dinner in taos

mashed potatoes

hail in taos

hail in taos

thanksgiving dinner

rainbow in taos

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Newsflash: It Has Finally Cooled off in California

scones

The days are getting shorter and our cool weather has finally arrived. I have seen memes on facebook joking about us California folks in 60-70 degree weather dressed in full winter gear–and to be completely honest it is true. I have pulled out my slippers, the sweaters have had a wash to refresh them and are now in regular rotation, soup is bubbling on the stove most nights of the week, and I have finally picked up the knitting needles again. My mind and body feel at ease once again.

Maybe it isn’t the fall of my dreams, the leaves are still green, we still have occasional 80 degree days, and most days we are still dressed in tank tops and flip flops (groan, bring on the layers!)….but I am taking what we have and rejoicing. I love the cold, err, cool weather.

The cooler weather has me back in the kitchen. Keeping the oven going for a few hours a day when the rain is coming down and the wind is blowing is so comforting. Many hours were spent this past weekend roasting pumpkins. More hours than I planned on, but nearly 3 gallons of pumpkin puree is now resting in my freezer–and I am feeling pretty excited about that.

I also made the most delicious batch of scones I have ever had from the book Einkorn: Recipes for Nature’s Original Wheat. In this ongoing quest to better our food choices, I have seen a lot about einkorn, the ancient wheat, and have wanted to learn more. I really did not need another bread book in my collection, but this one is already looking promising. The scones were possibly the best I have ever tasted, and I look forward to getting started making on the sourdough recipes from this beautifully composed book.

I hope you are all celebrating this beautiful season, whether you are in flip flops or wool. <3

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(Einkorn was provided to me for an honest review from Blogging for Books).

A Fairy For Halloween and the Halloween Fairy

aebelskivers in pan

I have had these photos sitting in my draft folder for a week now, trying to think of some profound thoughts about our simple Halloween, sharing bits of wisdom I have acquired or recent lessons I have learned. I love posts like that, ones that share a bit about life and also give you a little something to think about.

Unfortunately, having two kids, being a morning person by nature, and attempting to blog after my kids go to sleep often leaves this tired mama a bit brain dead after the photos are uploaded and resized. I keep wanting to get more active here, but at the end of the day my brain feels fried. The eloquence I wish I had becomes impossible to fake and all I can tell you about are the simple facts. We did this and ate that. It was fun. The end.

So. This was Halloween.

Lucy was a forest fairy.

We made aebelskivers for breakfast (first time in a newly thrifted pan), delicious.

Lucy trick or treated for the first year ever. We made up a story about the Halloween fairy and she left every bit of her candy out in exchange for a gift.

It was fun. The end.

forest fairy costume

halloween fairy gifts

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This and That

fermenting sauerkraut

sauerkraut grilled cheese

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popovers

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I feel like I have been really neglecting this space a lot lately, but I do hope to turn that around in the near future. With two mobile kids to keep up with, I have gotten out of the habit of toting my camera around with me on our outings or pulling it out to document our daily life, which is something I really miss doing.

Here are few very small snippets from our lives recently.

  1. My first time fermenting sauerkraut. It has been on my to-do list for at least a year, maybe two–but the process kind of intimidated me. I don’t know what I was waiting for, it really was so simple and incredibly delicious. This is going to be a regular thing for me now.
  2. Leftover tomato soup on the side of a grilled cheese on sourdough. I posted about this on instagram earlier today. This smoked mozzarella with my homemade sauerkraut was possibly the best sandwich of my life.
  3. Breakfast in a box. It is so incredible to me how the simplest of things (like this box), can provide so much entertainment. These girls ate their morning oatmeal on the way to the moon!
  4. The most delicious popovers from Alana Chernila’s new book, The Homemade Kitchen. I just got this book and have been really enjoying flipping through, absorbing snippets of Alana’s wisdom. While I found the layout of the recipes in the book a bit confusing, I have already picked up many useful kitchen tips that will inspire many future meals and help fine tune my kitchen efficiency. Reading through this book was truly like sitting down with a good friend. Alana is easy to relate to, friendly, and her devotion to making food that comes from a good place is refreshing. This book would make a beautiful Christmas gift, especially for anyone either starting out. or for anyone wanting to cut out the middle man in our food chain. (I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review)
  5. Little weirdo, she is constantly making us laugh. I think she will be our little comedian.

June Turns 1

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Yesterday we celebrated one year with this little one. How a year has passed since her birth is beyond me. Looking back, I don’t think I got nearly enough time to enjoy and savor those early baby days. It went by in a flash.

Our sweet June Bug. She cracks us up all day long. She is all smiles and she thinks it is hilarious to make us laugh–so she does it often. She is a determined and focused little girl, often getting lost in her play until she sees me spying on her from the other room. She eats well, sleeps well, and loves hugs. To be completely honest, I think she is possibly the world’s most perfect baby, but I may be a bit biased. One thing is for sure, she really adds a lot to our family and we are forever thankful to have her.

We had a very simple party, only inviting a few family members over for cake and ice cream. Lucy and I spent the few days before trying out a cake recipe (thank goodness we did, the first try was a total flop!) and making decorations for her party. Lucy drew her a card and decorated the wrapping paper for the book that she chose out for June. The pre party preparations were just as exciting as the party itself!

We made a simple spice cake which we served alongside pumpkin ice cream and warm spiced apple cider. Lucy decided she wanted to play hostess for the night, picking out the music (Fleetwood Mac as always), though she changed her mind when our guests arrived and she felt a little shy offering beverages. She wasn’t so shy when it came to presents, ripping into June’s without abandon. I had to remind her multiple times that this was June’s birthday and they were June’s presents. She didn’t seem to mind, nor did June.

It was a wonderful party, even for this overly emotional mama. Slow down little one, slow down!

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This and That

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harira near and far heidi swanson

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  1. Rapunzel’s castle. Because of a little sister, castles are almost always built on the table these days.
  2. Harira, recipe from Heidi Swanson’s new book, Near and Far. Such a beautiful book. I am a huge fan of Heidi Swanson, though I am not sure this book will get quite as much time on my counter as her last one (Super Natural Every Day). I love her vision and creativity, and I think she writes excellent recipes–I just wish more of her recipes were easier to follow for the home cook. I live in one of the biggest cities in the country and have a hard time tracking down many of the ingredients listed in her recipes. That being said, the harira was absolutely delicious, and worth buying this book over. The flavors were complex, exotic, and the kind of food I imagine will taste even better tomorrow morning with a slice of sourdough, I plan on making it many more times in the future. (I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review).
  3. Face timing with Phoebe. An hour of giggles and silly faces.
  4. Currently reading this fantastic book. It is an excellent guide on how to implement the waldorf ideals in our daily life. We have been working really hard to build regular rituals and routines.
  5. Play dough snakes are far less scary than real snakes. We are working through some things.

Huckleberry Pie

huckelberries

A month or two before our trip to Washington, I bought an Audubon field guide to the Pacific North West. Lucy and I sat and flipped through it for many days, we compared and contrasted some of the plants and animals to those in our California book. She asked me for stories about growing up in Washington and what it was like. I told her all about the flora and fauna that I was familiar with.

The one story that stuck with her was one about making huckleberry pie. In the woods behind our house we had a very well producing huckleberry bush. I told her about the year that my brother and sister and I gathered enough berries for our visiting grandmother to make us a huckleberry pie. What I failed to tell her was that it took us many, many hours to gather those tiny sour berries. Needless to say, that story stuck in her head.

Before we left for vacation I asked Lucy what she was most looking forward to on our Washington trip, and she told me multiple times; “picking huckleberries”. Naturally, I was afraid that this might be too tall an order to fill. I repeatedly told her that there was a good chance that we wouldn’t find a huckleberry bush. She insisted though, we absolutely had to pick huckleberries while we were in Washington.

On our first day, and almost every day to follow, we walked down the beach and back up through the forest to get back to our cabin. About two minutes into our first walk through the forest I spotted her, the very meager, but very present huckleberry bush. With only enough berries for one or two each, we were all ecstatic to be able to check this off our to-do list.

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tolmie state park

wild blackberries

tolmie state park

tolmie state park

tolmie state park

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sand dollars