A full life

Since mid-summer of last year, I have had a 'this too shall pass' mindset. I have calmed myself with the idea that while life may be crazy at the moment, things will settle down after - I have the baby/we sell the house/we buy the new house/we move/we finish unpacking/we drive all the way down to Massachusetts to visit my dad/Patrick goes on his business trip/the snow melts/pigs fly. There is always this idea that right now is somehow unusually busy, and that there is that One Big Thing on the horizon after which all will be smooth sailing. Yeeeeah.

Helping with the bread dough

This is just life! Stuff happens, like, all the time. There's no more lounging in bed until noon on weekends (I'm a stay-at-home mother, weekends don't even exist anymore!), no aimless puttering around the house, and certainly no time to experience the luxury that is boredom. We have children, now, and a house to manage, land to work, checklists and appointments and obligations. And that is GOOD. Not that I agree with glorifying busyness, but a busy life is a full life, and that is something to be truly thankful for, not spiteful of. I need to throw myself down into the trenches and get with it. This is like an MMORPG- there is no end, no winning, no finish line to run across triumphantly. Instead, there is the husband pouring you a glass of wine at the end of a terrible-twos type day, kissing you on the forehead and saying I love you. There are the quiet moments of morning snuggles when your toddler crawls into your bed, dragging her gigantic blanket and insisting on using your pillow (nevermind that Papa's pillow is currently vacant and EXACTLY the same.) There's your five-month old who won't stop cooing and giggling at four o'clock in the morning, and it's the cutest thing in the world but you are afraid she will wake the Papa and the toddler (the win here is that she doesn't). These are the triumphant moments. Winning is no longer about a finish line, it's about closing each day with a smile, with the knowledge that although I may have yelled too much and the house is a disaster, my family is happy and healthy and loved.

A captured moment between our two girls - and the natural state of the living room.

There is a post I once read (somewhere on some blog that of course I can't remember) that discussed viewing each day through the eyes of your children instead of feeling regret or disappointment in yourself. Did they learn something and have fun? Sure, I regret yelling at my toddler when she spilled the glass of water, but she had a blast wiping it with the cloth, and learned how to clean up after herself. I was stressed to the max when my newborn wouldn't stop crying, but my toddler did a great job of trying to comfort her sister, giving her kisses and rubbing her back. I feel guilty for leaving my baby in the walker a little too long while I did dishes, but during that time she practiced hand-eye coordination and had fun pushing herself around the kitchen. I'm usually not big on make-yourself-feel-better motivational stuff, but the message really struck me. This, of course, does not advocate a lack of accountability; I really should not have yelled, and the dishes could have waited until naptime. The point is to release the selfish critiques and instead focus on the good stuff, and on improving ourselves without the negativity of regret. 

And so, I will stop waiting for the magical day when life slows down and learn to 'embrace the crazy' as my sister-in-law so aptly put it. One day I will look back on these times with longing, and I want to make sure we have great memories to sift through.



Valentine's Day isn't really my thing. They say you either love it or hate it, but I am indifferent. It's a nice excuse to make a fancy dinner or to partake in overpriced chocolates, but my husband and I don't typically make a big deal of it.

I have never been one for grand gestures; I much prefer a solid intention and genuine regard. An expensive diamond necklace may as well be a greasy bike chain if not given with authenticity- meaning, one must match the gift to the giftee. My husband knows I do not care for jewelry, so if he were to give me the aforementioned necklace, it would actually be slightly insulting. My point is that I truly treasure not that which can be held or worn or displayed, but those daily expressions of selfless love that do more for relationships than any shiny bauble could ever hope to. Those quiet moments are abound in our family, serving to gently tug at heart strings throughout the busy, chaotic mess that is life. My husband is particularly good at it, and that is why I am writing this post. This season of our lives has tried diligently to drag us down, but my husband has beaten it at every turn with his ruthlessly upbeat attitude and unique form of realistic optimism. Patrick, you are my saving grace, my beacon, my reason. Nearly nine years of marriage, and yet I still feel as blessed as the day we said "I do." Your ability to pull me out of a funk is impeccable; I'd be lost without your distinct lame-yet-hilarious jokes and gentle prodding. Everyone says we are basically the same person, and even we have joked that perhaps you are just a figment of my imagination, but that cannot be true. You are infinitely more patient than I, as nothing else can explain how you've lasted this long with my crazy, moody self.

I love that you let me have the good fried eggs, the ones whose yolks I didn't destroy.

I love that you insist so genuinely that the burned part is just more flavor.

I love when you tell me that I look nice even though I didn't do anything differently that day.

I love that you still dress up for holidays, even if it's just us.

I love that you remember tiny details like how my hair was styled when you first saw me, or what dress I wore that time you were my server at Applebee's after the high school Valentine's day dance.

I love that you don't make fun of me for still listening to Hanson.

I love that you get up and dance with Abigail after every Dick Van Dyke Show or I Love Lucy, no matter how tired you are.

I love that we can still talk for hours and never run out of things to say.

I love that you are always my advocate, knowing exactly what to say when I am at a loss for words.

I love that five months ago, you helped me achieve our dream of having a natural childbirth. There is absolutely no way I could have done it without you; you were my champion. Even when you had no words, your eyes never left me, and that spoke volumes.

I love your passion for knowledge, and that you are able to answer any question, no matter how silly or simple, without ever making me feel inadequate.

I love how you love, with intuition and boundless generosity. You are a prime example of how to love with actions, not just words. Our children will grow up knowing just how deeply you care for them, and there is no Hallmark card or box of chocolates that can express just how grateful I am for that.

Happy St. Valentine's Day, my love.

(This is a day early, I know. No patience, remember?)


All this for a cow

After many months of eating mostly postpartum freezer food and take-out, it feels good to be back in the kitchen. I love the organized chaos, seamlessly moving from one task to another, all of it seemingly separate but definitely connected. It is at once empowering and overwhelming. A real food kitchen is perpetually filled with puzzle pieces: yogurt culturing, sourdough rising, beans soaking, nuts dehydrating. Each of these things is its own project, and I think it is so fun to run a kitchen like this. Eating only real food made from scratch takes a lot of work, and requires you to multi-task, plan ahead, and remain organized. It is intimidating at first, but you soon get the hang of it and will find being immersed in it both maddening and deeply gratifying. Putting together the puzzle is the final reward, when you see all your hard work finally realized, each piece snugly set against another on the kitchen table. 

It's easy to wax eloquent here in cyberspace. Real life, though? Definitely not always grapes and sunshine. This season of life has been chaotic, to say the least. Last summer, my husband and I made the semi-delusional decision to sell our house. We figured it wouldn't go anywhere, we’d take it off the market for the winter, and then pick back up in spring. WELL. The dang thing sold after one month of being listed. Sure, that should have been amazing, but we seriously thought it wouldn’t happen and were not prepared for the whole ‘hey now we have to quickly find a new house to buy or we’ll be homeless’ thing. Did I mention I was pregnant? Like, third trimester pregnant. So, I went from being very pregnant, packing like a madwoman, and chasing a toddler, to not-pregnant, packing, chasing a toddler and taking care of an infant, to unpacking a million and a half poorly organized boxes and eating postpartum freezer food whilst taking care of said children, then to unpacking and eating mostly egg sandwiches and take out (plus, you know, the kids) ((Wait, we didn’t eat the kids...you know what I mean…)). When the chickens stopped laying due to the cold weather, I finally gave in and got my behind back into the kitchen. The one underlying reason for all this? We want a dairy cow, and our last home did not have enough land. All this for a cow. Sigh.

Tipped-over tractor trailer next to my house. This image sums up life around here for the past few months. 

So I suppose that means I'm back here, too. Sort of. With a nearly five-month old baby and a two-and-a-half year old toddler, I can make no promises. But by the grace of God, my two girls nap at the same time most days, and this mama needs a hobby for those times when the dishes are magically done and dinner is already in the oven.

For those of you that are a) still here and b) long time readers, there are going to be some changes. This blog began as a space for me to just practice writing, which quietly slid into food bloggery, then jumped into the homemaking/homesteading territory. I can say, quite definitely, this is no longer a ‘food blog’. Most nights, it’s all I can do to scrounge together dinner for the family, nevermind something that should be photographed and shared. As if I even had the time to take said photograph. My life still pretty much revolves around food, though, just not the beautiful Instagram-worthy kind. We are quite heavy into the Weston Price/traditional preparation way of eating; you know, the soaking, sprouting, fermenting, takes-a-long-time-ing of food stuff. No one has been really sick in years, my little girl’s eczema is nearly gone, and I lost all the pregnancy weight in three months- I’ll take that as a sign that this way of eating is pretty darn awesome. ANYWHO, my point is that this space is heading into yet another direction. Or should I say, multiple directions:

Food politics- GMOs, big agriculture, organic vs. conventional, that sort of thing.

Pregnancy and childbirth- I am WAY into natural birthing stuff. As my midwife said, I am a ‘birth groupie.’ I can’t get enough of the research, the tear-jerking birth photos, the science behind age-old wisdom. Ask around and you’ll find that I can bring pretty much any conversation back around to natural birth. It’s a skill.

Homesteading- having just purchased our homestead comprised of 12 beautiful acres, there are likely to be many posts about farming. We hope to purchase our first milk cow in the spring, in addition to raising 50+ meat birds and growing a massive garden.

General stuff- being confined to the role of food blog really hindered my creativity (that doesn't sound pretentious at all...). It's nice to be able to just post a few pretty pictures, or jot down a paragraph about my day sometimes. So there’s that.

Links to stuff- I did a link-heavy post thing a while back, but like all my blog endeavors, I never kept it up. Maybe I can manage it this time around.

Recipes- I'll still post food stuff, because I am, of course, mildly obsessed with all things edible. 

There you have it. I am back, bigger and better. (Well, not that much bigger. I did lose the pregnancy weight, remember?) A mama of two beautiful girls, blessed with enough land to make our self-sufficiency dreams come true. 2015 is going to be stunning, friends, simply stunning.

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CSA Week 1

Our first CSA box from Willow Pond Farm!

Their land is gorgeous, I'm so jealous! They encourage their customers to walk around the farm, visiting the arnimals and enjoying the view. We were only able to spend a few minutes this time, but next week we hope to visit the horses and pigs. Little Abigail was not at all interested in their chickens, as they are as commonplace to her now as a house cat!

I'll be posting our haul each week, which will morph with the seasons. I'm so excited to see what beautiful produce we will be blessed with as the summer peaks!




Garlic chives



Young kale


A few things

Just popping in to say hello and give a quick rundown of what's going on around here lately. 

We've finally settled into a comfortable routine regarding what we eat. After many trials of being grain-free, gluten-free, and dairy-free, our experiments have led us to our (hopefully) final destination in healthy eating. I will try to do a detailed post soon, but it's all about finding what works for you and your family. It seems no matter how healthy you think you are, there is something out there that says otherwise. Our current road has my daughter's eczema in remission, and that's proof enough for me. 

50 pounds of organic einkorn flour

I recently tried a new soap recipe from Mommypotomus. It's supposed to be gentle enough for babies, so I hope it becomes another notch in our belt of self-sufficiency (har har) and I can stop purchasing baby body wash. 

Considering I will be 8-9 months pregnant at the height of summer, we decided it would best to skip the big garden this year and join a CSA instead. I am still planting a few things for our winter preservation, though. I bought tomato and basil transplants from Walmart, which isn't ideal but is better than nothing. I was actually surprised to find a few heirloom varieties! I also started green beans and zucchini from seed, pictured below, and will be putting in a whole bed of carrot seeds. We'll see how it all works out, as I am due in early September. I put up quite a bit when I was nine months pregnant with my first child, so perhaps I will be blessed with that burst of energy again this time. :)

Tomato and basil transplants
Lastly, we had our ultrasound back in April. It's a girl! I am so excited! While I obviously would be just as happy if we had a boy, I am over the moon that Abigail will have a sister so close in age. I already have visions of them giggling together, playing dolls and dress-up, staying up late talking and sharing secrets. My husband's sisters are just a few years apart and they have a wonderful relationship. Only three more months until we meet our new daughter!!!