Mindful Monday


I thought maybe on the Mondays that I don’t have a recipe to share I would pop in quick to share a quote or a thought along with a photo. Sort of a mindful moment…. a good start to the week, I think. Food for the soul.

Our weekend was busy…. Joe & I celebrated our 13th anniversary with getting a pile of house & paperwork to-do’s done. From the girl who celebrated a water heater for Christmas (& quite honestly so) I can also earnestly share this with you…..

The master bathroom door latches, and I love it. This means I can finally lock the door. I hid in there for hours on Saturday in a hot bubbly bath with this dreamy book. It’s the little things in life, you know?

And while my mind was waist deep in farm dreaming this weekend, it somehow wandered back to this simple quote that brings balance always to my soul, bringing it right back to where it needs to be.


I know, I mentioned it once before, but really…. it’s a favorite worth sharing again

“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”  ~Theodore Roosevelt




Have you ever noticed how kids do this so naturally….. beautiful isn’t it?


Happy Monday my Friends


I wanted to tell you….


the sullen stature of a boy in a man's body trudges along next to me…. quiet…

these years can be uncertain ones… it becomes harder to read the language…

sometimes I crack a joke…. sometimes I say something…. 

mostly I try to just put both hands over my mouth and listen.

I hold onto these fewer spoken words like treasures….

the laughter is like precious gold.

I bite my tongue so as not to interject and run the chance of silencing him.

I try to remember what it was like to be 14.

I don't remember liking it.

This morning there was a spider in my sink…. my oldest boy always scoops them up & carries them outdoors…. and I realized, someday I'll have to take care of own spiders. All of this made me become aware of something, these are the years of slowly letting go, of watching those once so dependent little people transform before your eyes. Of stepping back, just a little, and letting them become who they need to be. Oh my, it's tough at times. In my mind my big boy doesn't seem a day pass 10 and a half. And I suppose, as a mama this will always be so in some sense. But I also know, that I can't fully embrace the now without letting go of a little bit of the then…..

And so, my sweet boy young man,

I wanted to tell you…..

that your kindness makes my heart sing…

that I do remember what it's like to become an adult…

even though it was forever ago.

That when I look misty eyed and smile all at the same time,

I am remembering that little boy who is,

and hopefully always will be

right there, in your heart….

with the same sweet and hilarious antics that have made me smile

and jump through hoops from the moment you first smiled.

That I dearly, sorely miss your tiny hand in mine…

or intertwined in my belt loop as we walk along…

but I am learning to trade it for a smile, a laugh and 

a "night mom, love ya" with a sideways hug

from a boy young man that towers over me.

I'm learning to slowly let go.

Whatever you do, wherever you go,

I will always be here with an ear to listen,

a plate of cookies and a mama bear hug.

I know you will be great, do well…

and become a wonderful man.

I just wanted to tell you….


A hat

I know, I know…. I need to get that sweater finished.

But you know by now I get distracted rather easily…..

I walked into the Yarn Nook to buy a friend a set of dpn's and found the most luxurious skein of yarn. Thick & thin style bulky weight and so, so soft & squishy. And orange! I didn't need yarn. I mean, I really didn't need yarn. But somehow not one, but two little skeins hopped in with the needles. Finally finding a yarn shop could prove to be very dangerous!

So I had been eyeing Quince & Co's Kelpie hat and noticed someone on ravelry compared it to Elizabeth Zimmermann's Maltese Fisherman's hat. I have the latter pattern, so I modified it just a wee bit to look more like the Kelpie hat and voila! I love it. {full details on ravelry}

So, while my big girl was at piano my littlest guy & I went for a photo shoot at the lake…..












I wonder how kids feel about being chased around with a camera…. mine certainly think it's a bit of a game and give me run for my money so to speak…. I've been taking a self portrait a day for a flickr group and decided one with my boy would be fun…. he insisted I wear the hat and he take the photo….




Fortunately he let me have a turn too…..




Yes, I am most certainly trying to inhale him.

And the sweater? It's the sleeves I tell you, they're  k–i–l–l–i–n–g  me! I plan to finish it over the weekend…. I hope. I have one sleeve complete. That leaves one sleeve left. I can do it, I can do it! 

Unless, of course I have the need to knit my boy his requested "ear hat like mama's"……


coming up for air….

oh it's late….

and it's been a long week.





Poor Joe has been sleeping on the couch and I have been keeping a coughing little boy propped up, humidified and cough syruped every four hours (Boiron, I love you).

Has anyone else ever noticed that sick children only sleep sideways?

and now the girls have it too…… oi….

'tis the season….

so, I'll pop in for a bit on Sunday to share some goodness….. and hopefully to ramble on about life as I usually do early next week. 

Cheers! (said while slurping a spoon full of elderberry syrup)

Monday Bites :: Bertha’s Hard Run Fuel


These aren't for dogs…. but named after our new dog, Bertha.

Our friend found her in a grocery store parking lot. She was running all around trying to get someone to take her home. She was flea bitten and nearly 10 pounds underweight. My friend called to her and she came bounding over, eager to jump into a warm car. After 4 days, no one had reported a missing dog. And though this young stray turned out be a love, my friend was all ready squeezing a family of four and two dogs into 800 square feet. There was just no room for a should be 65 pound dog.

Maybe it was because it was Christmas time, maybe it was knowing no one ever seems to want an adult dog at a shelter. Either way Bertha traveled just over an hour to us, to see if she would fit in at our house. (she was called Chocolate then) After realizing she must have been an outdoor only dog, we basically had a 58 pound puppy on our hands. She sure added some fun to the all ready busy season of Christmas. After a month, after we were sure no one was looking for her, we decided she could stay.

Due to her being an unwanted stray…. on the run…. we decided to call her Bertha. Yes, after the Grateful Dead song of the same name. It fits her well, and no one names their dog Bertha, so it makes people laugh.




She is doing fantastic! We assume she's a lab mix, but your guess is as good as ours. The vet thinks she is a young two year old. She's put on weight, learned basic commands, is house broken and mostly chews on just her own toys. She is the most submissive eager to please sweet easy going dog and wonderful with the children. She tries hard not to chase the cat and to get along with Sid. Her fur is glossy and a beautiful reddish brown in the sunlight. And even though she most certainly has a naughty streak, we all adore her.

I swear every night after taking her out for the last potty run of the day she pauses at the door for just a minute, as if she's still surprised to be heading in for the night. I don't know if dogs can really be thankful, but she sure seems it.




And since Joe let her stay, and I made this snack mix for his stocking as quick fuel for his lunch time run… it seemed only fitting to name it after Bertha.

So there you have it. A story of a stray that ends happy. Now if we could just convince her the dog bed is really more comfy than the sofa.




Bertha's Hard Run Fuel::

4 cups raw almonds
1 cup raw sunflower seeds
1 cup raw pumpkin/pepita seeds
6 Tbsp maple syrup
1/4 tsp salt
1 Tbsp lime juice
1 Tbsp ginger powder
2 cups dried cherries & cranberries (1 cup of each)

mix lime juice, salt, maple syrup & ginger in a small bowl. pour over nuts and stir well to coat. bake in 300 degree oven for 20 minutes stirring every 5-7 minutes.
when cool, add cherries & cranberries.

*this recipe is inspired by a very similar one that I found over the internet during the holidays…. however I cannot find the link to the original… so thank you, wherever you are!


Gifting + Thrifting

One of my most favorite things about the holidays are the thrifted gifts.

With the new record player in the house my mom and the sibling trio in house were all over the moon excited to add to Jade’s record collection. They searched high and low for the Beatles…. with no luck but the pile of goodness they found sure did bring a smile to my nostalgic girls face 🙂 Yes, of course you can purchase records for a pretty penny in many a shop…. but the thrifting is what adds to the habit in a way that only us treasure hunters can know. And some day when that Beatles vinyl falls into the lap of one of our family members they will squeal with delight and think of our sweet girl right away. (come on thrifting fairy, we’re begging, just one?)

So each year my girls do most of their holiday shopping at our local junk shops. They know their mama’s love of funky old stuff and they share our “reuse it” values…. so that is their request. Every year. A day of junking with Daddy. He also buys them hot cocoa & chai tea. Which probably adds to the appeal of the annual trip!

Those girls head out with their mama in mind and come up with the sweetest of things. Sometimes their sweet quirky gestures bring a smile to my face and sometimes I am totally amazed at their ability to listen and remember the littlest of things I might mention.

My little girl remembered a comment at Thanksgiving that I made…. “someday I’ll find a gravy boat for special dinners like this” I had said. After asking Joe exactly what a gravy boat was…. and after searching high and low for a gravy boat…. she found one and reminded him that I wanted it. I was totally impressed by her thoughtfulness on this one….. yes, tears and all. Over a gravy boat, I know, I know!




In the same shop she fell in love with this little kitschy seashell owl that she found, so much in fact that she talked Joe into having him give me the gravy boat so she could give me the owl. I do adore owls, which she knows….. and this owl now proudly sits on my fabric stash shelf… which my girl thinks is the most honorable spot for anything of mama’s to live.




My big girl was also on the search, this year for vintage silver serving ware. She & I have been collecting silver flatware over the past year and those serving pieces are difficult to find. She was so excited to find these tongs… that we’ve used for salads most every night since Christmas. And also, she spied a beautiful blue china plate to hang on the kitchen wall. I’d been talking about hanging up a few blue vintage plates to decorate our yellow kitchen walls and again, I am so taken aback by these sweet girls… wow 🙂






Another sweet thing was this little wagon that Sophia found for Luke. Which he has stuffed full of his little figures each and every day and taken them on their wee people adventures. Total sweetness 🙂




And for all of you that have been wondering what the fragile kitchen thing was from this post, it was a french press for making a pot of tea in! We really enjoy our tea around here and the new french press enables us to use the less expensive loose leaf tea and make a whole pot of tea to share… or two…. or three…. fun times 🙂 And the pots of cinnamon tea and watoosi (I have no idea how to spell that) playing with the big kids these past weeks have certainly been worth tossing into the basket of good memories.

Thanks for joining us on (mostly) handmade week of holiday goodies!

Hope to see all on Sunday when we share a few favorites from the Year of Good Things Flickr group. Feel free to join in with us!


A Week of Handmade : The last bits & pieces….

Well, it's 10:15.

I meant to get here a little earlier, but it was just one of those days…. a busy kid filled crazy sort of day… as I type this my big girl is sitting next to me knitting the beginning rounds of her Oatmeal Sweater… oh my knitting friends, please wish her luck! This post is going to be brief because we're planning to watch Babies in a bit…. late night knitting & movies!

So here are the last bits of the handmade goodness. Sort of a mish mash of things. And before you think that my older children got coal for the holidays….. I will come clean. I didn't hand make much for them. I could probably conjure up a real good excuse as to why…. but I'll just be honest. We live pretty simple around these parts. (ha, I think I should have a cowboy hat on after that last sentence! sorry.) So while we do still buy new things in line with our values…. we did buy new for the big kiddos. Jade's main gift was a fabulous screen printing kit and Sam received some coveted camping gear and a great t-shirt that Santa found on etsy…. that Santa is sure clever 🙂 He only fills stockings at our house… but there sure are some thoughtful things tucked inside them. Books & treats and other little things. Of course some thrifted gifts made their way here too…. but that's a story for tomorrow. 

So on to the last little bits of handmade.

Firstly, after the water heater incident, Joe & I were pretty darn creative this year. We chose to do handmade only…… well except for the usual dark chocolate stash he fills my stocking with. I love that man. I knit him some sweet fingerless gloves (details on ravelry) from the awesome Jo Sharp yarn that I used for the vest this summer…. same yarn, different color. They turned out really great…. which is good because I was totally nervous about that whole thumb thing.







What is it about handknits & men anyway? I love it!


There was some more wrist adornment too…. though far simpler and less time consuming than the above lovelies. I have seen these sweet wool cuffs on etsy and thought my girls would love them…. they have worn them every day since Christmas… and they are all ready frayed and broken in. I suppose you know me and my vintage button obsession by now… so of course these both have buttons from Grandma Pearl's collection:








Some much adored Katie Jumprope (by Denyse) for my big girl and sweet hedgehogs for my little girl.




Another handmade gift for the man of the house….. some fuel for his lunch time run…. inspired by the name we chose for the new furry family member (whom my lovely daughter has just invited to sleep at the foot of my bed. ahem. oh yes, and the recipe will follow on Monday along with the new pooch's tale)



And the sweetest saved for last, a french rolling pin handmade by my sweet man. The one thing I have been mentioning again, and again, and again that I wanted. I will try to recall this lovely gift when I grumble that he is not listening…. remind me of this please. My old pin is in the good will bag to go, because this new one rocks. The french know baking I tell you! And this helped me whip out a batch of tortillas in no time. Perfect for apple pizzas. Awesome 🙂

Well, I am noticing this post is anything but brief! So I should go…. goodnight friends!


A Week of Handmade : Itsy, bitsy sewing

For my girl…. my 8 year old girl…. I sewed up a pile of clothes for her two favorite doll friends. Mostly of vintage fabrics that I had in my stash…. little bits and pieces of lovely fabric that were just too small for most anything else. I had no patterns, which made it a little, uhm…. interesting at times.

The first outfit included a recycled wool sweater and I really don’t like it, the sweater that is. I almost didn’t share it here with you… but then I thought to myself…. maybe it’s good to share the ugly things once in awhile so you know that I also have those grumbly crafting moments. I may have even tossed this sweater on the floor when I was done with it. Just maybe. And then perhaps my husband, who came in with chocolate to see how things were going, reminded me that a stuffed doll and an 8 year old girl are probably not incredibly concerned with a perfectly sized sweater. Turns out my girl likes that one the best due to the fact that it was made from an old favorite sweater of hers. Who knew?



the sweater



fortunately, things got better after that



sweet well loved babies



my favorite



my girl has requested matching linen pants to these



hat & sweater handknits for Lucy


See you tomorrow for some more handmade goodness!

{The beautiful knitted sweater came from a pattern by The Sitting Tree on etsy, the size small fits these dolls perfectly and it is very well written & easy to follow! We’re trying this one next.}