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.

The Adèle Dress

adele dress pattern citronille

It has been quite a while since I did any sewing for this little one. Seeing as she is coming up on a year in just two weeks, I think her growing is going to slow down a bit, which gives me a little more time to whip up some new clothes before they have to get packed away again. I really look forward to dressing a toddler in homemade outfits again.

This little dress is called Adèle and is from the French pattern company Citronille. It came together in about an hour and a half, and though the pattern is in French, it was simple enough to piece together following the pictures (and years of sewing).

I love the little pocket detail in the front and the buttons over the shoulders. June thinks it is hilarious when I stick a toy in the pocket and she fishes it out. She is a funny one.

adele dress pattern citronille

adele dress pattern citronille

adele dress pattern citronille

adele dress pattern citronille

The Start of Fall

halloween decorations

For the first day of fall Lucy requested pumpkin pie, who am I to object to a request like that?

We worked in the kitchen. First we made the pie crust. She is getting quite handy with the dough cutter, though every minute or two she asks me to scrape it down, returning all the chunks of butter to the flour in the bowl. The waiting between the steps is really the hardest thing for her. While we wait for the dough to cool in the freezer we prepare the pie filling. She does almost the entire thing, with just a few whisks by me at the end to incorporate the clumps that always seem to cling to the bottom of the bowl. Pie dough comes out of the freezer and is ready to roll out. I do most of this, but Lucy takes a few turns with the rolling pin. She watches as I crimp the edge with a fork saying things like, “ooh, that looks so pretty” every twenty seconds. Back into the freezer the pie dough goes for another fifteen minutes. Growing increasingly impatient that we are not yet shoveling delicious pie into our faces, Lucy continuously asks “is it time yet?”. I reply; “just a few more minutes”. “It is really hard to wait”, she tells me. Yes dear one, it is hard to wait. Pie is worth waiting for though. Finally. We take the crust out of the freezer, fill it with the pumpkin filling and place it into the oven. I remind her that we are not eating it when it comes out of the oven, but are waiting for daddy to get home before cutting into it. “It is really hard to wait” she repeats. Out of the oven it comes. We place it in the middle of the table to gaze upon for the rest of the day–until daddy comes home. Every so often I catch her trying to crumble off pieces of the crust, and remind her that we have to wait. Finally dad is home from work. We finish dinner, her at an alarmingly fast rate, and us slowly as we talk about our days (to this she let out several exasperated sighs and “are you done yet?”s). Table is cleared and pie is cut. We all bite in, but as soon as the pie hits my lips I realize, “ohhhh, I forgot the sugar!”. Thankfully as I have become more experienced as a parent I have gotten faster on my feet. “Hang on”, I tell Lucy as the tears are welling up in her eyes. I grab the maple syrup and drench each of our individual pieces. All is not lost.

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pumpkin pie taproot

vernon raffia dishes cornbread

Pioneertown and Palm Springs California

pioneertown california

 

We are back from an entirely too short, though very relaxing, weekend in Palm Springs. We are so fortunate to have a family member who owns a home there and allows us to go and use it whenever we want. As to be expected, it was hot, very, very hot. We spent most of our days camped out in the AC, watching cable television (such a luxury, since we got rid of ours earlier this year!), swimming in the pool, and dining out.

While we were out there we explored Pioneertown, a fun little town about 45 minutes from where we were staying that was built in the 1940s to be used in Western films. Lucy wasn’t all that interested in it, but Russ and I had fun. We made up for her lack of interest with a giant bowl of mac and cheese from Pappy and Harriets.

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ace hotel palm springs

pioneertown california

pioneertown california

ace hotel kings highway palm springs

pioneertown california

In the Kitchen

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spring rolls with peanut dipping sauce

 

It has been such a long time since I have made an “In the Kitchen” post, and I have been missing doing them. This week has been a hot one for us, so most of our food has been light, fast, and with minimal cooking. While it isn’t my favorite weather, I do love eating this way, and hope I can start to cook this way more in general. It is nice to have a quick meal without a lot of fussing and with the focus being on the fresh ingredients. So, onto a few of the highlights from the past week in my kitchen.

1. This salad. I made it for the first time a few days ago following a recipe from The River Cottage Veg, one of my all time favorite cookbooks. The dressing was a tangy lemon tahini dressing over cooked zucchini, green beans, and a bed of greens. I have always thought I wasn’t much of a salad person, but this one and this dressing is changing my mind. It was creamy, savory and light all at the same time. Just another reason I am so obsessed with that book!

2. It has been hot and we have been indoors running the air. In order to switch things up a bit, I decided to have a little tiki party at home. Russ picked up a pineapple, some different juices, and we had fun mixing up some drinks.

3. Speaking of parties. Lucy and I had a tea party. She has been so into playing tea party, I thought it would be fun to have a real one. We made some indian spiced chai tea and served along side of it these raw key lime coconut tarts from the book My New Roots (which I reviewed here). They were delicious, though a bit time consuming, so it won’t be something we make regularly.

4. A simple dal with chickpea flour coated bell peppers.

5. This one. Nine months with four teeth, walking everywhere and not wanting to leave my side. Cooking has been a real game trying to distract her in order to get things done. She is such a sweet little thing though.

6. Coconut kheer with bronzed pineapple from Seven Spoons. I really wanted to love this book. It is filled to the brim with beautiful photographs on gorgeous heavy matte paper. The flavor combinations are unique and inspiring. Unfortunately, I don’t think this will be one I will turn to often, for a number of reasons. First, the dinners are quite heavy on the meat, and while it all sounds (and looks) delicious, we just don’t eat a lot of meat at home. Second, many of the recipes are very involved. This isn’t really a book for the rushed cook, which I so often am these days.

I have made a handful of recipes from this book already, including this rice pudding, twice actually. While it turned out good, the pineapple just did not work out the way the recipe intended. The second time around I added more cardamom to the rice and was still disappointed that my pineapple didn’t get the lovely burnt marks on it that the picture showed.

In the future I will likely thumb through this one more for inspiration more than for the actual recipes. (I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.)

7. Spring Rolls have been our summer staple. They are a bit time consuming, but if you devote a good hour to it you can have a few easy lunches on hand for the week ahead, plus tons for the day of. We have been filling ours with mint, cilantro, mung bean sprouts, cucumber, carrots, bell peppers, sometimes tofu. Today our dipping sauce was a peanut coconut curry sauce, that was delicious, though a bit heavy on the peanut butter. I plan on reworking my recipe a bit.

On to a new week! I hope you are all staying cool and enjoying these late summer days. I for one am looking forward to fall’s arrival!

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

Meeting the Wetzels

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Meeting the Wetzel family was one of the highlights of our trip to Washington that I was most looking forward to.

Erin and I became friends through Instagram years ago, when our girls were tiny babies. We have been texting back and forth for ages, Lucy and her daughter Phoebe recently became penpals, and we arranged a meeting late last year–which sadly fell through. So, it felt like a meeting was long overdue.

We invited them up to the cabin for a day of beach combing, grilling, and lots of photo taking (well, I gave them no warning on this one and probably should have, there were 100s of pictures!). Erin was smart enough to bring along s’more fixings and our day was set. The girls jumped into play as if they had known each other for years. They chased each other, shared in make believe games, picked flowers, and spent much time hugging and giggling. Erin and I chatted and got to enjoy each others presence, sitting staring out at the water, learning those things about a person that one could never learn through a purely online friendship. I couldn’t have asked for a more fun or relaxing day–and by the end of it my heart felt so full.

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