making merry

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas……

making merry


making merry


At least, in a very southern Louisiana sort of way. Which means the leaves are falling and the grass is green, but the lights and decorations are going up and the spirit of the season is beginning to work its magic.


making merry


making merry


making merry


The stack of holiday books and advent wreath have made their way out of boxes and taken their places around the house. Emmet Otter the book has been read at least three times and Emmet Otter the movie will most certainly be showing on Friday night here in the house….. with popcorn and hot chocolate.

It's our third Christmas here in this house and it's funny to see the kids pull things out and put them where they go. Sometimes I worry about all the holidays celebrated in different houses, states and coastlines over the years. But the excitement they hold make those worried thoughts dissipate and we all begin the hushed chatter of good deed doing and gift giving {elving}. A little good elving deed for the mama was this….


making merry


I awoke from a nap late last week to find icicle lights hung outside and very, very excited little {and big} people waiting to present it to me. (thank you!)

Our smorgasboard of holiday traditions seem to be a little more set each year…. the kids take on different roles and add their own spin to things. Things evolve and change but remain all in one. I often wonder which of these might be carried into their grown up worlds someday…..  I hope little Emmet makes it in.


making merry


Are you making merry too?


{ps – today marks my three year anniversary of being in this space. three years! thank you to all of you who visit & say hello… xoxo} 

this week {3}






At the beach in November…. the youngest were the only brave enough to swim in the chilly water.

The rest of us walked along the shore and barefoot through the sand.

We stayed until the sun set, and drove home tired, sandy, and grateful.


this week {2}

this week {2}


this week {2}


this week {2}


The big kids helped me cut up and de-seed nearly twenty pounds of those kumquats!

We made 4 pints of candied kumquats and 5 pints of marmalade. We stirred and laughed and listened to music until midnight getting it finished up. The marmalade is delicious! I can't wait to share some with Joe (who is due home tonight!)

The candied kumquats are a variation of a recipe from this lovely book. I made a simple syrup and infused it with fresh ginger slices, vanilla bean and cardamom seeds. It should be ready for a first taste around Solstice! Perhaps spooned over ice cream for a solstice dessert?

{In completely unrelated news, I just reworked the favorite books section above and added some of our favorite chapter books and some holiday/seasonal sections…. do take a peek and see if there is something to add to your library list~}





My elderly neighbor gets a kick out of us. I'm not really sure what she thinks….. but she comes over just to see what we're up to. We'll have peaches boiling in a hot water bath and pounds upon pounds of tomatoes that we're blanching to peel in a big cooler full of ice. "People don't do this anymore," she'll say. And I know she's especially surprised at Joe's involvement with the process. Putting food up is a family affair around here. 

So now she keeps an eye out for other neighbor's fruit trees that have unwanted fruit falling on the ground. She might be playing bridge with friends and someone will be grumbling about all the limes they're cleaning up and the next thing you know she's bringing us bags upon bags of limes. Or lemons. Or persimmons. And now kumquats.






"I got a neighbor that does all that canning stuff," she tells people in her thick cajun accent, "she'll pick that fruit for ya."

And so she stops by and tells me, "go knock on the door, over there, tell 'em I sent ya."


11-16-11 {for habit}


And so I muster up some courage, collect some baskets and cute children (we've got plenty of both) and I head down the street or over a block and pick a whole tree full of unwanted kumquats. The kids & I have eaten so many our mouths are sore. They taste like sunshine. And they were just the excuse I needed to buy this book, which has a kumquat preserve recipe in it. Guess what I'll be doing Saturday?




Hello marmalade!


love notes

We’re in the midst of switching our schedule all around and juggling our few loved practices, lessons and such. I’m always sort of surprised by what a creature of habit I am. We changed things up and I’m feeling a little lost at sea trying to remember what needs to happen and when. I’ve considered writing it on my hand… because, you know, it’s always with you and hard to misplace.

The kids though, they mostly just keep on doing what they do. It seems it takes a lot more than I expect to ruffle their feathers. Which is good to see. Sometimes I have the luxury of standing back and watching them roll right along… laughing and smiling and really truly going with the flow….

Miss Sophie had a sleepover with her pal a few nights ago. For some reason I think mid week sleep overs are the icing on a homeschooler’s cake. I mean how cool is a Monday night sleepover, right? As we were getting out the door in the morning…. which is always an event…. I didn’t even notice as she worked her magic. It was later that evening when I dramatically dropped onto the bed in exhaustion that I first saw it….






She had left each of us a “good nite” note. Tucked into our covers next to our pillows with the sweetest little smiley faces. She has a history of sign making, this one. And she is most certainly a list maker just like her mama. The next morning I took pictures of them and noticed yet another note…. and another….






Our youngest artist has been leaving me cats these days. Everywhere. His favorite place to tuck them is in the sewing machine. Do you see their names? He’s into writing the letters he knows and bringing it to me to pronounce. Then he says to me matter of factly, yes that’s what I wrote. Of course.

Shebb & Shuag! I cannot even tell you how I love them. I’m imagining ways for these felines to materialize… sewing? knitting? Don’t you think they should join the family in a more permanent sort of fixture?

These little bits of paper & love notes are savers, for sure.

And speaking of notes….. my grandmother (who lives in Arizona) picked up this amazing and huge collection of sheet music at an estate sale and mailed it to Jade.




We had so much fun going through the music. Joe knew far more tunes than I and we all laughed & sang our way through pages and pages. I’m feeling so grateful for these little love notes finding their way into our days right now. 

Wishing you all some little love notes as well…


this humble seed


I struggle with my garden. I know, I've shared this with you before. A few times. ahem~

I recently read a guest post over on Tend (a fabulously inspiring garden blog, do visit, it's lovely). In it, the author expresses the need to be grateful for anything we cultivate in our little gardens….


"….that knock-down, humbling experience of growing (or trying to grow) things in an urban setting frequently gives way to gratitude. Gratitude for what does grow, for the surprise successes and the feeling of putting it on the table."

 ~Sarah from The Yellow House via Tend



For me me this means taking a step back and choosing to be thankful for the simple salad of baby greens. The handful of sweet peas. The tiny cabbages and eager to please swiss chard.


fresh on tap, Joe's Bourbon Chocolate Stout (because Rachel will want to know)







All growing away, filling in the beds, not knowing they aren't the biggest or onliest little plants out there. And I promise to care for them as if they are just that.

I think each salad and ripe tomato should be a celebration of sorts. To take a hopeful seed and tend to it, to watch it grow and become food that will nourish your family, this is a miraculous thing. No matter how small.

I will present my modest harvest to our family table like a child with a a handmade macaroni necklace. Knowing I did my best to get it here. Being thankful and amazed. And being very much okay with it just as it is.

with gratitude~


Meet Stella + A granola bar recipe

So I did it.

I finally gave in to food peer pressure and bought a darn food processor. After a year (a whole year!) of hoping I would find a used one after my little 2 cup mini one bit the dust, I bought this. It's refurbished, and was about $50 (oomph, I know) and I love her. It's the first real food processor I've ever owned. Crazy, right? After making several batches of granola bars and pesto, I have decided such a workhorse needs a name. I mean, since we're friends and all. Doesn't she look like a Stella?



So Stella & I made some fantastic granola bars, and we wanted to share one of the recipes here with you. The first two batches were raw bars fashioned after the incredibly yummy and expensive lara bars. I found the idea here. We tweaked the recipe to make a bigger batch and use what we had on hand. The third batch was based on this yummy recipe, which won the kids over for sure.






They are delicious! So very good really. Wrapped in wax paper, we take them on our journeys for when we're in need of a wholesome snack. Which is somehow quite often. The "lara" bars are grain free and held together the best. Even on a recent kayak trip. I'm sharing the cranberry almond recipe here with you, which ironically enough are the only ones I didn't photograph! Oops. But they look just like the first bar pictured with a dried cranberry colored hue. I think they would be awesome with a bit of ginger in them, but my people don't all like ginger as much as their mama. (and once I have the cashew coconut recipe perfected I'll share that one too, yum.) Can we call them granola bars if they have no oats? Snack bars? I'm not sure… maybe we could name them after Stella? Oh, that might be getting just a bit carried away… but seriously, I will not miss my meager attempts of making pesto in a blender.


Cranberry Almond Bars

1 cup raw almonds

3/4 cup dates (whole dates, chopped into quarters)

3/4 cup dried cranberries

1 TBSP raw honey

1/2 – 1 tsp water (if needed)


Pulse the almonds in the food processor until they are a course flour consistency. Pour into a bowl and set aside. Next, pulse the dates and cranberries until they stick together in a uniform ball shape. Add the honey and 1/2 tsp water. Pulse until combined. Add the nuts and pulse until the whole thing sticks together and looks sort of like the above picture. If the mixture seems dry you can a few more drops of water. The mixture will be very thick. Using oil on your hands, press into a buttered or oiled (I used coconut oil) 8 inch square pan. Chill for a few hours & slice into 2×4 inch bars. We store ours in the fridge.


PS – A big hello to any newbies stopping in from that last post, my goodness did it get an awful lot of visitors!