Saturday, March 31, 2012

Thursday, March 29, 2012


Nom nom nom.

Our Shortbread
(makes 6 big ones, or 8 smallish ones... 
maybe double this so you can have some plain with coffee the next morning!)

1 C whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 C finely ground almond meal
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 TBS brown sugar
3 TBS very cold butter, cut into small pieces
1/8 tsp almond extract 
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
~1/2 C milk (depending on kitchen conditions)

Preheat oven to 375F. In large bowl, mix together flour, almond meal, baking powder, salt, and brown sugar. Add cold butter to flour mixture, and pinch butter into flour with your fingers until a coarse meal is achieved. Add extracts to milk, then add milk to flour mixture and stir until just combined. Dough will be sticky. Dollop mounds of dough onto parchment-lined cookie sheet and bake for about 10 mins, or until edges are browned and centers are done (keep in mind that the almond meal will cause the shortbread to burn faster, so make sure your oven is completely preheated before putting them in, and put them in the lower half of the oven). Enjoy with macerated strawberries and whipped cream, or plain with coffee.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Celebration Flags

The smallest of us all is about to have a birthday.

It's a big one.

It's the Big One.

When Sister turned one, we did it big- lots of people, lots of food, way, way too many gifts, and way too much time and headaches and hours of precious sleep lost to preparation. Don't get me wrong, she is more than worth it all, but not for the first birthday... I learned to save up that energy for the later birthdays that will be remembered.

Which leads me to our Bubba. Just because he's a Second doesn't mean his big day is less important, it just means his Mama has lived and learned. We're keeping it small, with a very exclusive family guest list (which I hope doesn't offend our like-family groups that will be there in spirit... for now), a much simpler menu, and a much less commercial, more homemade theme.

I'm actually quite enjoying making the short list of keepsakes and decorations I worked up for this little shindig. One I'm particularly excited about is a string of celebration flags I was able to make up with stuff we already had (with the exception of two packs of bias tape), thanks to generous family members and their hand-me-down crafty surplus treasures. It's something that should have been finished in one day, but thanks to my kiddos and our life right now, it took me more than a week... the most tedious part is all the cutting.

Have a pair of pinking shears?

Have some scrap fabric? A little chalkboard paint? Brushes? Sewing machine? You might just want to try putting together a string of versatile celebration flags... after all, it's only a ten-step project...

Step One: procure some canvas

Step Two: prep paint area and canvas

Step Three: paint canvas with chalkboard paint (ours needed 2 coats)

Step Four: cut "flags" from scrap fabric with pinking shears

Step Five: cut canvas blocks, slightly smaller than flags

Step Six: sew together flags & canvas, placing canvas at bottom of flag

Step Seven: mark spacing of flags on bias tape

Step Eight: sew flags into bias tape

Step Nine: test for durability

Step Ten: write desired message on flags with chalk

Viola! Something that can be made to say "Celebrate," or "Welcome Home," or "Happy Birthday," depending on how many flags you put on your bias tape, or how many strings of flags you have! I made two, because... well... I think I'm just a glutton for prolonging simple projects into days of frustrating, incomplete piles hither and thither.

That's right. Hither and Thither.

So go find something to celebrate, then make these flags.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Right Now

Right now, I'm loving...


...Texas bluebonnets.

Have a happy Monday.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Another Friday

When you live where- and what- you work, Fridays can get to feeling like just another day in a long, long line.

Sure, there are things that make each day special, and Fridays always hold that ramp-down anticipation in the air that can only come with the conclusion of the week, but still... Saturday will come around, and the same things will need to happen that morning that demand attention on a Wednesday, or a Monday, or a Sunday.

For us, Fridays do hold something that sets them apart from other days- Fridays are cleaning days. In addition to our little pick-up, straighten-up, mini-mess-management cleaning efforts, Fridays are when bathrooms, floors, sheets, and most laundry get full attention. I have it down to a science, y'all. In fact, most days I can get the entire downstairs half of the house clean in Henry's morning nap time.

For some reason this week, I've totally slacked on most of my efforts to manage the mini-messes, though, justifying it with the impending cleaning that usually happens on Fridays.

Now it's Friday.


Waking up to the feeling that your house is yuckier than usual and just waiting for you is a buh feeling. Especially when you have to leap-frog over little laundry piles to get to the bathroom, then you actually crunch through petrified crumbs on your way to the coffee pot (was that a piece of pancake from Tuesday?), and your foot sticks to something as you walk to the sink... and that's not even touching on the greenish, pollenish film on all the flat surfaces from having the windows wide open all week...

So what's a girl to do? Why, make that coffee extra strong, throw a batch of these muffins in to the oven, and strategize, of course!

My Trusty Routine Cleaning Strategy

1. Pick up: you can't clean anything when there are toys, laundry, books, magazines, cups, etc. everywhere, SO my first step is always to pick up and put away, or at least relocate to the correct room.

2. Do your thing from the top down: dirt and dust follow gravity! SO don't start by sweeping or vacuuming, because you'll be redoing it before the day is done... especially if you have a family member who is an expert at flinging... well... everything.

3. Go chore-by-chore, not room-by-room: if I try to focus on one complete room at a time, I usually find myself distracted, and, say, changing out the laundry because while cleaning the kitchen I realized I still hadn't put my shoes away and on the way to the closet realized the washer needed to be emptied. Instead, if I'm just doing floors, all at once and right now, I'm moving, I'm working, and I'm completing a task that has a tangible beginning and end. 

4. Work on the hard stuff when the mess-makers are away: when my "helper" is with me, you can guarantee I'm not cleaning her room, or picking up her toys, OR working with something really yucky or chemically (read: litterbox or potties). I am, however, doing a few of the things she can "help" with, like sheets, or sweeping. It helps keep the 'done' list from being undone, and lets her help with stuff that is safe and within her skill level.

5. On an average week (ahem), clean as you go! One ounce of prevention is worth ten ounces of cure, people, and it's so true.

I should probably add a 6th point to this list: get off the computer. I guess I should take my own advice and get started, because the Littles will be up soon, and I sure don't want these week-old crumbs on the floor to start looking like a good breakfast supplement to the Henny-Benny.

Despite it all, I still can't help but feel glad it's "just" another Friday.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


First a howling blizzard woke us,
Then the rain came down to soak us,
And now before the eye can focus -
Crocus.  ~Lilja Rogers

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Two Weeks on the Oil Cleansing Method

All right, it's been two weeks. Two weeks from when I ditched my prescription face treatment, name brand astringent facial cleanser, and moisturizer. Two weeks from the first day I used castor, olive, and avocado oils to "wash," with fingers crossed. Two weeks since my before photo. Two whole weeks.

It is now time for me to throw in my two cents, and reveal my verdict....... not in that order, though, because I want to start with how much I love washing my face with oils. This chick will not be going back to the pricy regimen that was not working, even if that does mean missing out on the clean smell that went along with the cleanser I was using. For me, it is a small price to pay. For that price, I get smoother, clearer skin that is moisturized with the very stuff cleaning it up so nice and purty, and it's going to end up being way cheaper, too, because the initial two tablespoons of oil I mixed up at the beginning of this experiment actually ended up lasting me through the entire two weeks. That's right, one TBS per week. I'm thinking those pricy bottles of oil will be lasting me quite a while. Awesome.

The pros and cons I observed in my check-in post still hold true, and one week later, there's no new item I'd add to either list. SO, that being said, here's the proof (for me, anyway...):

Before starting with oils- notice problem areas on temples especially

After two weeks washing with oils every night- temples cleared up and texture way better
(as much as I tried, I could not get the light from the 'before' pic to be the same in my 'after' pic, because the weather is completely different today, 
creating a need for the bathroom lights to be on, sorry)

In conclusion, I would strongly recommend anyone willing to think outside the box to visit this how-to post, decide which oils would best suit their skin type, and give it a two-week trial. I, for one, will never look back!

>As for the shampoo trial, well, we're ending the first week, beginning the second out of three, and let's just say that so far, what was promised in the beginning is coming true- my hair has not yet found a balance for it's natural oil production, and on top of that this week has seen humidity over 80%, so it's been ponytails, ponytails, and more ponytails. I'm hoping that what has also been promised will soon come true- that it gets better than this! We'll see!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Right Now

Right now, I'm loving...

...the view from the porch in the morning

...enchiladas made by the dearest hands

...rescuing turtles

...the confirmation of a Daddy's Girl

...peach blossoms, here and everywhere

...wild children and bare toes


...the view from the porch in the evenings
Right now, I'm feeling so full, so blessed, so amazed by the things in this life that come and go and happen when you learn to let go and let them. There is something precious for you anywhere you find yourself, of this I am certain. So right now, I am loving the precious things around me, in this moment and in every moment, and as the week kicks off, I hope I keep my eyes open to them. Happy Monday.

Friday, March 16, 2012


We've been busy all week, and as it draws to a close, it feels like there's something energizing yet lazy in the air... maybe it's the fact that Spring is springing, yet it's cloudy and gray... a perfect combination for a Friday, in my book. We're staying home, doing the things we do to get ready for the weekend (whatever it may hold), and enjoying the feeling of getting things done with no looming deadlines or expectations. Energizing, yet lazy. Happy Friday.