Tuesday, April 30, 2013


 A portrait of my kids every week for 52 weeks.

Audrey trying to see how the camera works from the outside when I take a picture.
Henry laid back, with his mind on his Mommy and his Mommy on his mind.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Right Now

Right now, I'm...

...eating oatmeal cookies with my coffee.
...drooling over almost every post each time I visit my newest blog crush.
...planning on bringing out the sewing machine this week, and making a to-do list so I get to every project I need to while it's off the shelf (and my fabrics are spread out everywhere).
...watching the mail for some new books... oh, how I love getting new books in the mail!
...hoping I'll get the tutus through the laundry and back on their hangers before they're missed this morning.
...plotting a few fun projects and a spectacular dessert for May Day.
...feeling dizzy from the speed of April passing.
...lingering in thought spurred by this article, and wondering...
...feeling excited about our small garlic harvest this weekend- one ramp and 17 small(ish) heads! So not everything is struggling out there... hmmm!
...pausing indoors only long enough to write this post, then taking breakfast for the kiddos and heading back out into this beautiful spring weather!

Happy last Monday of April!

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Candied Orange Peel and Pretzel Bark

We've had a unique Spring so far... unique, in that it's been "normal." Rainy, cool, gray at times... honestly, it's surprising to me, as I'm so used to it simply going from cold to hot.

This weather, however enjoyable to our garden plants, has kept us all inside a little more than what we're accustomed to this time of year. On one of these gray days, I found us trapped inside with rain pouring down, 11 oranges, and some antsy kiddos. My solution? Make some candy. Candy can cure almost anything, no? We started by candying the peels, then we moved on to incorporate other things we found in our pantry, and what resulted was truly amazing, let me tell you.

Candied Orange Peel and Pretzel Bark
Makes enough for two mothers and two grandmothers,
in case you may be looking for gifts for Mother's Day, wink wink

4-5 strips of candied orange peel, diced
~1 cup pretzels, crushed into pea-sized pieces
12 oz dark chocolate
12 oz almond bark (don't use white chocolate, it won't melt right)

Chop dark chocolate and almond bark (keep separate)

Place chopped chocolate and bark into double boilers (or heatproof bowls over sauce pans of simmering water).
Gently stir (with separate spatulas or wooden spoons) until melted.

Meanwhile, crush pretzels into pea-sized pieces and finely
chop candied orange peel.

When chocolate and bark are melted and pretzels and orange peel
have been broken/chopped, cover a rimmed baking sheet with
parchment paper, and spread dark chocolate about
1/4" thick. Sprinkle with orange peel and pretzels.

Top with melted almond bark. Spread to cover, swirling a bit for a marbled look. Allow to set, which for me was about
an hour on the counter top at room temp. Break into desired sized chunks, place in cute boxes, and gift (or consume)
as desired. Will freeze well if wrapped in wax paper.

Allow assistants to lick spatulas.

This stuff is sweet, crunchy, salty, and orangey without being overpoweringly orange. It's amazing.

Like, seriously, I can't stop eating it.


Friday, April 26, 2013

This Moment

Playing along with Amanda today... in her words: 

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

In The Clatter of My Kitchen

"The time of business does not with me differ from the time of prayer,
and in the noise and clatter of my kitchen,
while several persons are at the same time calling for different things,
I possess God in as great tranquility as if
I were upon my knees at the blessed sacrament."
~Brother Lawrence, seventeenth century monk and mystic,
as quoted in Laurel's Kitchen

According to Gandhi, any work we do for a selfless goal, without the thought of profit, is a form of prayer. 

It matters not who you pray to.

It matters not who you believe hears you.

It doesn't even matter what the job actually is.

It only matters that you do the work with attention and care to detail, with a peaceful mind and a joy for the task at hand, remaining in the moment... and in approaching your work in this light, every action has the potential to become an act of love- a work of art. 

Tuesday, April 23, 2013


A portrait of my kids every week for 52 weeks.

Audrey, apron-clad, helping with dinner.
Henry doing what he does best.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Right Now

Right now, I'm loving...

...the last hours of light on the last day of the weekend, spent around the fire bowl with the ones I love the most.

Happy Monday.

Friday, April 19, 2013

This Moment

Playing along with Amanda today... in her words: 

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Early to Rise

Weird dreams.

Temperature swings.

Alarm clocks.

Family pets.



There are one thousand reasons why I may end up waking earlier than I ever would have thought possible only a few short years ago. Enough reasons, in fact, that you can't take them all out of the equation on any given morning. More often than not, I'm up early.

The funny thing is- I don't regret it. I don't regret getting up early. I relish it. I enjoy that time when there is lingering stillness from the night, when there is still a coolness to the air, and when no one needs anything from me, even if it's only for a little bit.

I like the chance I get to think... think about dreams, think about the plans for the day, think about nothing at all. I like the chance I get to breathe... deep breaths, slow breaths, mindful breaths. I like the chance I get to choose to get ahead in to-do lists, or just sit.

It doesn't take long for the time to come when I am joined by the Others in the house- breakfast is needed, chores are waiting, errands need running, business as usual... but the time that I claim between my waking and the rise of the rest of the house has become a time I treasure just for me, and for that pause, learning to become an early riser has been so worth it.

Early to bed
Early to rise
Makes a [gal] healthy, wealthy, and wise.
~Benjamin Franklin

Tuesday, April 16, 2013


A portrait of my kids ever week for 52 weeks.

Henry with glasses, flute, and one of Sissy's shoes.
Audrey "napping" with the games on her camera and her favorite babies.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Right Now


Right now, I'm...

...listening to Robert DeLong.
...planning what will go in the garlic bed once they're done and curing in my laundry room (this site has me thinking about permaculture, and maybe setting up my beds for the future with this ideology in mind).
...nursing the first minor sunburn on a kiddo- ever, in this house- with some calamine lotion and extra-extra sunblock.
...balancing the regret of the sunburn with the joy of a weekend spent almost entirely outside.
...shaking my head at The Look development in my youngest. For his sake, I hope he learns to rein it in soon!
...pondering a recent study linking fatty milk consumption for toddlers with an overall lower childhood body weight, while watching my babies gulp their organic whole milk alongside their breakfast... interesting...
...marveling at the fantastic weather we've been having, and hoping for the chance to get out in it as much as possible this week.
...feeling a little overwhelmed by the volume of parsley coming out of my garden right now... literally... like, growing outside the borders, in the pathways, outside the garden fence, and throughout the yard.
...loving the accumulating hours logged with bare toes, bare arms, and wild hair as Spring really settles in all around us.

Happy Monday.

Friday, April 12, 2013

This Moment

Playing along with Amanda today... in her words: 

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Mother's Day Link Love

Yes, Mother. I can see you are flawed.
You have not hidden it.
That is your greatest gift to me.

Mother's Day is fast approaching... a day set aside to force us all to think about our mothers. Wait, wait, let me explain- what I mean is this: the job of being a Mother is made up of subtleties, feelings, guidance, and intangible things like love, support, and nurturing. If done right, they are all things that basically go unnoticed- taken for granted by her children, as they should be (for how terrible would it be if her children did not take these things for granted, and had to go to bed worrying about if they would be there in the morning?).

So commonplace are these beautiful consistencies that they become the background to our lives, and so for one day a year we have collectively decided that we should pause and focus on all that has been done for us to get us here.

So... exactly how does one honor the person that may never be completely understood by her children?

Well, you could start by saying, "Thank you."

Beyond that try out some of these ideas, complete with link love, for dear ol' Mummy. It is said all the time, but I believe that when it comes to Mother's Day it's especially true: It's The Thought That Counts. So get a jump on it and start thinking about what you'll be doing on Sunday, May 12th, so you won't end up in line at the drug store with a bar of candy you hope she'll like and a generic card featuring hugging bunnies and a goofy greeting in a 16-pt sparkly font.


Mother's Day Link Love

For the Sentimental Mommys:
  • Put together a box/jar/container of some kind with 52 things you love about her, written on slips of paper, to be retrieved once a week for a year of appreciation.
  • Put together a photo collage with a theme- you growing up (baby to present), a side-by-side of you, your mom, her mom, and maybe even your grandma's mom (if you have access to photos that far back!), or recent photos of you and your mom doing stuff together (traveling, crafting, etc).
  • Go through your baby book/keepsakes, find some original artwork you did for her when you were a kid, and frame it.
  • Make her a crafty version of a family tree.
  • Have kids of your own? Do something crafty with their hand/footprints
  • Sit down with a blank card, meditate on who she is to you, write it all down, then send her the card.
  • Turn her favorite baby pictures into jewelry.
For the Foodie or Chef Mamas:
  • Get your hands on some heirloom, handwritten recipes, and frame them for her kitchen.
  • Make her a table runner out of sentimental fabric scraps (from old blankets, clothing, fabric with a meaningful pattern or print, or even fabric you design yourself).
  • Replace that thing in Mama's kitchen she's always cursing and "making do" with that should have been garage sale fodder years ago (new blender, sharpen knives, better coffee maker, new hotpot holders). 
  • Make her a compilation CD of music to cook by, or background music for her next family meal... maybe include a few songs that are meaningful to the two of you.
  • Have enough unique family recipes to actually put together a cookbook? Why not? Make her a personalized cookbook of recipes from her own kitchen, or kitchens of the family!
  • Make her a picnic tote, then make a lunch to go with it and take her on a picnic!
For the Mom with a Green Thumb:
  • Rig up a gardening apron, fill it with new gloves, a few packets of seeds, and a bottle of sunscreen. 
  • Have a garden yourself? Save her the seeds of your most successful plants, get some nice pots and give her starts of that herb or plant she's always admired, or simply cut her a home-grown, fresh bouquet!
  • Get her a great folk art print for over her potting table.
  • Make her a garden journal.
  • Gather up some medium-sized smooth stones and markers, some paint stirrers or wide Popsicle sticks and chalkboard paint, or second-hand wooden spoons and paint of choice, and make her some custom row markers for her garden (you know, "Carrots," "Beans," etc.).
  • Get her one of these amazing hummingbird feeders.
  • Make/paint a personalized birdhouse for her garden area.
  • Make her a bottle terrarium
  • Get her a gift card to her local nursery.
For the Mum Who Has Everything:
  • Get her a customized return address stamp.
  • Have the kids create a simple line drawing of something she likes (flowers, birds, themselves...), scan the image, size it down, and print it off as one-of-a-kind stationary.
  • Make her a Gratitude Wrap (and include your custom stationary!). 
  • Make her a print in a bold font that says, "YOU WERE RIGHT ABOUT EVERYTHING," frame it, done.
  • Wash and detail her car.
  • Make her an iPhone case covered in photos of the kids or grandkids.
  • Send her a cheeky card with a gift card inside to her favorite coffee shop/chocolate shop/nail place.
  • Let her sleep in (no, really, like let her sleep in until she wakes up on her own, and not because someone is screaming at her, needing something from her, or trying to put out a kitchen fire).
  • Make her a mind-blowing meal, then clean up afterwards
  • Skip the meal and go straight for dessert- pick her favorite genre, and go for it!
  • Meet her at a coffee shop, a restaurant, or her back porch with a bottle of wine, and just spend some quality time with her.
Whatever the route you take for Mother's Day, just let it come from your heart- that's all she'll ever want.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Chilly, Rainy

We are having an unusual (compared to the past few years) spring. Last night, we went to bed with the air conditioners on, and this morning, we woke up to faint thunder, teenie-tiny hail, and 20 mph winds with a 34 degree chill.

Oh, and it's been raining.

While I'm sure this weather pendulum has left our sweet hummingbirds wondering exactly what they're supposed to be doing right now, we didn't hesitate for a second; we know what to do with chilly, rainy spring days. We stay in pjs until noon. We bake something warm that contains cinnamon. We (I) keep the coffee hot. We (they) take a long bath... no, wait, take a long bath while having a tea party. We pop popcorn. We dance to music. We drink tea... and between this busy schedule, we squeeze in some clean sheets, a few loads of laundry, and a good long nap.

We know just what to do with chilly, rainy spring days, indeed.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013


A portrait of my kids every week for 52 weeks.

A Texas spring tradition: portraits in the bluebonnets.
Photos by my father-in-law, Bill Ware

Monday, April 8, 2013

Right Now

Right now, I'm...

...drinking a cup of coffee made from the last bits from 3 different almost-empty bags... note to self: need to add coffee to the grocery list, stat.
...enjoying the view of a mowed front and back lawn- even though for a certain Ladybug Friend that means her magical ladybug plants have been cut down (she has been announcing to them all that they can find homes in our garden, never fear).
...marveling at the cattle egrets that have been picking over our freshly cut grass since Sunday afternoon.
...breathing in the calm after a day of reminders that our youngest has now entered the Terrible Twos.
...adjusting to just how quiet that calm is, now that our aquarium has found a new home (I may need one of these to help me make this transition).
...laughing at the joy these kids can find in the most arbitrary events... like wearing new socks... only new socks... on the potty.
...loving a weekend spent with our loved ones, celebrating our sweetest little one, and reveling in the things that make him, him.

This past weekend made us tired in all the right ways and happy in all the best ways. Even on a Monday when we have to take our youngest in for shots (always a sad day!), the glow from the weekend lingers.

May everyone be followed with the glow of the sweet simple things, even in the face of difficulty.

Happy Monday.