Tuesday, November 29, 2011

just write: therapy.

She stands in the small room looking at her reflection, taking in every detail. She hates what she sees, tears welling in her eyes as she turns to look at her backside, turns to the side, and turns to the front. The 360 degree mirrors miss nothing. She tries to look away but can't escape from her reflection. How did she get to this place? How did she spiral so far down, and when did it happen?

It was a slow progression; each day she let something go, each gossamer-thin thread that was her confidence snapped until she felt herself dangling by a tiny thread. This was the last humiliation.

The doors to the room open the door and her saviors step in. There is concern in their eyes, but behind those furrowed brows is a shimmer of hope. She looks at her feet, the blush of embarassment creeping up her neck like the incoming tide. They tell her, first of all, that she is beautiful. Affirmations and critiques spill from their mouths alternately. She is reduced to rubble and rebuilt, brick by brick. Eventually, she believes she is beautiful, too.

What Not to Wear: retail and psycho therapy all in one.

I am visiting my parents and spent my afternoon watching the What Not to Wear marathon. 

linking up with Just Write.

Monday, November 28, 2011


Pie, crochet and cousins. 

Doesn't get much better than that. 

Hope your Thanksgiving was filled with peace and relaxation!

Monday, November 21, 2011

just write: nocturnal living.

We've resorted to living in the dark. Not one light in our house is on, except the t.v., and the cupboard doors are shut over it so it defeats the purpose of having it on anyways. I can see flashes of light through the cracks as How I Met Your Mother finishes up. Robin just told Barney she's pregnant.

Today, both girls sleep snippets and we're all feeling the repercussions. Ruthie wakes up and looks at me with her red-rimmed eyes as if to say, "help me, mom!" Afton's lower lip pokes out and when she cries, her mouth takes up the whole sweet surface of her face. She's been a sensitive one lately.

Daddy takes Ruthie into the dark bathroom and I hear him singing a made up lullaby, and when she's finally asleep, he comes back into the room, stands over her swing, I stand at his side; my task is to lightly keep the binky in her mouth with a cuddly blankie at the ready. She'll sleep for a few hours in that swing, if we can get her in it. In our arms, she'll sleep for 20 or 30 minutes tops. We need more. She needs more.

He swoops her down, still singing, and I fold the blanket over her and turn the dial. She opens her eyes and we hold our breath...OK, still good. Sleep, sweet sister. We cross our fingers and check on Afton, who, thank God, is going on her second hour of slumber.

The unblended smoothie sitting on the counter will have to wait. As will the dishes, and the packing for our Thanksgiving trip. As with life, everything else takes a back seat. My word for this season is Surrender.

We've hit the four month mark, where for these two, everything and anything is interesting, and eating and sleeping become less and less attractive. Watch me kick my legs! Look at that pretty light. What's going on over there? 

These girls are changing so fast I feel like I can hardly keep up. I've read and heard it said that once you figure out your rhythm, they'll hit a new phase and you'll have to start over. Truth.

Tomorrow, we start over. But for now, sleep. 

linking up with Just Write.

where i'm from.

I am from shoe boxes of seashells and handwritten notes,
from Lucky Charms and backyard barbeques.
I am from brightly painted rooms and floral wallpaper,
homesewn pillows and curtains that wave in the summer breeze.
I am from green grass trampled into mud around the pool,
from stone garden steps and spring tulips and daffodils.
I am from always opening presents on Christmas Eve
and dry skin,
from Hansens and Lees, Flynns and Hewitts, Winnie and Georgine.
I am from stubbornness and people-pleasing,
a contradiction hard to live with.
From little love boats and are we there yet? on car rides
to summer visits and Thanksgiving feasts.
I am from a fear of losing salvation and no jeans on Sunday,
a faith that has deepened and mellowed with age
like a fine wine.
I'm from Wales, those rainy woods and ancient stones,
from a stern rancher and his rascally boys, 
from banana bread, freezer jam, and homemade donuts on rainy days.
I am from a California girl who fell in love with a cowboy,
who almost named me Mallory but am glad she didn't.
I am from World War II veterans and a chaplain and medals in a frame,
from carefully curated albums and hastily labelled kodak envelopes,
from prayer and daily journal entries.
Most of all,
I am from love. 

This is based on the Where I'm From poem by George Ella Lyons, find the template to write your own here. I was inspired by Stephanie at Adventures in Babywearing. Leave a comment with a link if you write one too, I'd love to read it!

Monday, November 14, 2011

homemade granola.

One of my favorite foods growing up, and into my early 20's, was breakfast cereal. I loved the crunch of the grains and the cool sweetness of the milk and the delicious result of their union. Unfortunately, it's also nothing more than sweetened and dyed cardboard and about as easy to digest. Expensive cardboard. So I don't eat it that much anymore.

Sometimes, though, I miss cereal as a before-bed snack. There is something comforting about it... perhaps because of all the childhood memories? Cereal is a family favorite, and a couple years ago, my Mom bought seven different boxes because she knew we were all coming home for Christmas. We made huge kamikaze bowls of multi-colored and sugar-coated O's, flakes and stars, and felt downright sick afterwards. Ah, the memories.

This is cereal you can feel good about eating, because all the hard to digest components are pre-soaked in an acidic medium, doing some of the breaking down for you.

The best part? It can vary according to your tastes. I made the first batch with pecans, raisins, cranberries and chia seeds, but you could also do dried apricots and slivered almonds, walnuts and banana chips, pumpkin seeds and cranberries, or wherever your tastebuds takes you.

Homemade Granola
Adapted from Cheeseslave's Recipe. 

A note from Ann Marie: "this recipe calls for nuts and seeds that are soaked and dried ahead of time. I usually soak and dry my nuts and seeds and large batches and store them in mason jars or other airtight containers — so I have them on hand for recipes like this one..."

A note from me: Making "crispy" nuts is so easy and really improves their digestion. Raw nuts are high in phytic acid, which can cause problems in some people. Combine 4 cups of your chosen raw nut and 2 tsp. salt together in a bowl or mason jar. Fill with water, and leave in a warm place for 7 hours (for cashews, do no longer than 7 hours) or overnight. Drain and rinse. Spread on a baking pan lined with parchment paper and bake, in a warm oven (150F) for 12-24 hours, or until dry. Turn occasionally. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.


3 cups oatmeal
3 cups warm water
6 Tbsp. Whey, yogurt, kefir or buttermilk, or you can use lemon juice or vinegar if you have dairy allergies. (I personally use kefir)
1 cup unsweetened coconut 
1 cup dried fruit of your choice
1-2 cups nuts and seeds, your choice (Save time and soak these right along with your oats, unless you have some already on hand!)
1/2 cup wheat or spelt flour
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup organic sugar, rapadura or sucanat
1/4 cup honey or pure maple syrup
1 tsp unrefined sea salt

- The night before, combine the oats, water, and whey, kefir, or etc. in a large bowl. Mix the nuts, salt, and water in another bowl or mason jar. Cover both with a dishtowel.

- The next morning, preheat oven to its lowest setting (usually 150-170F). Drain and rinse nuts.

- Combine soaked oats, dried fruit, nuts, seeds and flour and stir until thoroughly mixed.

- If the coconut oil is solid, melt in a saucepan. In another bowl, combine coconut oil, sweeteners and salt. Add to oat mixture and stir.

- Spread mixture on baking pans lined with parchment paper and bake in oven until the oats and nuts are dry and crisp. Break into pieces and store in an airtight container. I store it in the fridge.

*(To make a quick version of this, set your oven to 350F and bake until crispy, turning every 15 minutes. I prefer to "set it and forget it"...I would invariably forget to check it soon enough and end up with a charred mess. You can't burn much at 150 degrees!)

Linking up to the Real Food carnival @ the Healthy Home Economist and Tasty Tuesday @ FTLOB!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

some thoughts on books.

Some of you know that I had a book shower before the girls were born. My dream is for a HUGE library! Nothing inspires and teaches like reading!


I just found the neatest blog: Vintage Kids' Books My Kid Loves. She has an Etsy shop selling vintage books and posts about her favorites on her blog.

Proclamation! Have you seen this? Food for a writer's thoughts. Click through for a full size version.

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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

31 days to an organized home.

When I was in school and working, it was easy to look the other way at all the organizational "projects" in my house. Now that I'm home ALL.THE.TIME, it's getting to be more of a challenge. It's staring me in the face every time I walk into our guest room/office...and every time I open that pesky above-stove cupboard...and also every time I open my closet to grab a fresh pair of socks.

Take a look at what happened to my kitchen over the weekend. Andy decided to make crepes. Then, it all exploded out of the cabinets onto the counters. Ugggh. It would have been so much more relaxing to eat these delicious fancy crepes in a clean-ish kitchen. Because, of course, we were eating them standing up in between bouncing babies and replacing binkies. C'est la vie.

Enough guilt. I'm starting Organization Made Fun's 31 Days to an Organized Home. It doesn't require fancy containers or a complete system overhaul. I figure I can easily commit to 15 minutes a day, whether it be between naptimes or an extra 15 minutes after the girls go to bed. Or maybe I can even convince Andy to entertain them while I woo him with promises of a pretty-looking closet that doesn't overwhelm him every time he tries to find something.

Want to tackle your own organizational nightmare? Join me!

Monday, November 7, 2011

care package.

Care package from my grandma today!

10 fresh loaves of her famous banana bread. With chocolate chips and a brown sugar crust.


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

pumpkin chocolate chip cookies (grain and dairy free)


We aren't a gluten free household by any means, but I do like avoiding white flour as much as possible.  Andy's dad was diagnosed with Celiac Disease about five years ago, and we as a family have done major research about the condition. It can be triggered by so many different things, so as a precautionary measure, we watch out for too much processed flour in case Andy is pre-disposed to it. Sometimes, you can't and shouldn't avoid it, like when making delicious Redemption Cookies or a proper cake. But for other occasions, I like to experiment.

In my freezer, there is a big ziploc bag with some Bob's Red Mill spelt flour, buckwheat flour, and more recently, oat flour and coconut flour. I've had great success with spelt flour, but it still contains gluten, and I'd love to have some recipes ready for my in-laws when we visit them at Christmas. He would love it! He's usually the one eating his hamburger wrapped up in a corn tortilla.

If you can't find coconut flour at your local supermarket, co-op or health food store, you can use regular flour...but you might want to scale back the number of eggs you use. Because coconut flour is high in fiber, it requires more eggs than would normally be needed.

I found this recipe posted in the forums of Elana's Pantry and modified it just a bit.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies (Grain & Dairy Free)

1/4 cup butter or coconut oil, softened.
1/2 cup canned pumpkin puree
3 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup coconut flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

1. Preheat oven to 350 and grease a baking sheet.
2. Combine wet ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
3. Combine dry ingredients in small bowl.
4. Blend or whisk dry ingredients into wet, making sure no lumps remain.
5. Let batter sit for a couple of minutes to thicken. Dough should be soft but hold its shape when scooped.
6. Scoop dough onto parchment-lined sheet, about 1" scoops. Cookies will not spread much during baking, so press them down and round them as you would like them to appear.
7. Bake 17-20 minutes. Cookies will be set and very lightly browned. Store in an airtight container. Makes about 20 small (two-bite) cookies.

Linking up with Tasty Tuesday @ FTLOB!
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