Monday, December 9, 2013

monday menu

I really like planning nutritious, exciting menus for my family. I love searching for tantalizing recipes and organizing them into weeks of delicious meals. I like trying new recipes and remaking old favorites. And I really like how planning our dinners ahead of time saves me time, money, and sanity during the week. However, my life is a little bit like living in a three ring circus on a merry-go-round right now, and menu planning was falling through the cracks. I found myself making more emergency trips to the grocery store and takeout restaurants, stressed at the end of the day because I had no meat thawed, scrambling to create a back-up plan on the go.

Enter emeals. *cue trumpet fanfare*
I was skeptical when I first heard of emeals, but after hearing glowing reports from multiple friends, I decided to give it a try. I've been using it for about a month now, and I'm happy to report that while it's not a perfect solution (I have to do a fair amount of tweaking to make the meal plans work with the produce we get in our Bountiful Basket, and some weeks they go overboard on the cumin love) it has dramatically reduced my stress and our eating out.

We are using the clean eating plan, but there are 13 different plans (plus breakfast, lunch, and dessert add-on plans) to accommodate a wide variety of eating habits. Every week I receive an email containing that week's menu. The recipes are simple, quick, and tasty (even my picky tw0-year-old has been asking for seconds!). I love how the recipes are clearly labeled by category (slow cooker, marinate ahead, super-fast, etc.) to make planning the week even simpler, and they even include a shopping list of the weeks' ingredients! Emeals has a simple, well planned system that is making my life a lot easier. I would heartily recommend their service.

(And just so you know, Groupon is offering a voucher for a 12 month emeals subscription for $29 instead of the usual $58--that's 50% off!)

Disclaimer: If you sign up for emeals using one of the links above, I will receive an extra month of meal plans for free. (YAY! If you do decide to go for it, please use one of my links.) Bountiful Baskets and Groupon have no idea who I am and are giving me nothing for mentioning them; I just think their products are great and want to share with you. And of course, the opinions stated in this post are my own. No one is twisting my arm to say untrue nice things about them.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

knit. drink tea. repeat.

In the beginning of October I had a surgery.
It wasn't really major, but the recovery was still long and painful.
I entertained myself by working on a couple of e-courses,
filling up an art journal, and kitting.

And now, even though I've healed,
the ridiculous cold temperatures lend themselves
to cozy curling on the couch with some yarn and a cup of hot tea,
so I've continued knitting.

These are the projects I've completed in the past few months:

A beautiful, elegant pattern.
(I learned how to make short rows!)
This hat was an instant favorite,
well-worth the price for the pattern.

Sweet Life fingerless gloves
I was using up leftover yarn from the Lucy hat,
so these are shorter than the pattern recommends.
This was a fun pattern;
I enjoyed learning the mock honey comb stitch.

Once again, these are short (and have funky colorblocked thumbs)
because I was using up scraps of yarn.
The mitts are stretchy and comfortable.
I gave them to my Mum for her to wear at work
because her office is quite chilly in the winter.

This is not really a complicated pattern,
but I had the hardest time not messing up my counting.
So much unraveling...

Lizzy Lid
This was really not the yarn to use for this pattern;
neither the lovely stitch patterns nor the striping in the yarn
is showcased in this combination.
Live and learn...

This darling baby hat is very stretchy to grow with baby
and makes the perfect little gift.
I'll definitely be making more of these.

I am always amazed at the variety and quality
of free knitting patterns available.
Thank you, you lovely people
who share your patterns with such generosity!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

happy thanksgiving

I hope you've had a peaceful holiday
and that the rest of your weekend is excellent as well!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

art retreat

Last September we went to the Oregon coast
for a quiet family vacation.
(More on that later.)

While we were there,
my sweet husband gifted me
the opportunity to attend one of Alisa Burke's art retreats.
I can't think of a better word than amazing
to describe my experience.

Alisa welcomed twelve artists of all skill levels
into her beautiful studio.

We were greeted on the first day with
carefully arranged pails of art supplies,
fresh flowers at our work spaces,
and delicious scones from a local bakery.

After some preliminary instruction on sketching,
we headed out to dodge a storm
and sketch on the beach.

We drew and painted and made new friends
for two and a half blissful days,
taking breaks to do some crafting (like stamp making!)
and eat amazing local food.

It was...wonderful.
I'm already trying to figure out how to make it happen again. :)

[photos 1, 9, 10, 13, 14, and 16 by Alisa Burke]

Thursday, November 7, 2013


 This morning I woke up inexplicably depressed.
Like, you-are-my-child-and-I-love-you-more-than-life-itself-
and-pull-the-covers-over-my-head depressed.

And then late morning there was a knock on my door.
Apparently the local fruit stand guy has had to resort
to peddling his wares door to door.
He had some apples that were deeply discounted
because he'd had them for over a week.

Suddenly I realized that the sun was shining
and that at that moment more than anything else in the world
I wanted to make apple butter.

So I bought a quarter of a bushel of apples,
ignored the laundry and dishes,
and made apple butter with Brother instead.
It was perfect.

Monday, November 4, 2013

no preamble

I'm back!
My blogging hiatus has been good and necessary,
but I'm feeling ready to jump back in.
I've missed this space.
And I've missed you, my lovely readers.
I can't wait to reconnect.

Saturday, August 10, 2013


My life is crazy right now.
Lots of hard things. Lots of good things.
And then more hard things on top.
I feel like my strength is being tested to its very limits.

I have tons of stuff that I could blog about.
I have even been able to complete several projects.
But when I sit down to work on
the calligraphies I have been commissioned to make,
the contribution I am making to Made,
the posts I have planned to write here,
or even to play in my art journal,
I feel drained.
Completely used up and exhausted.
Like my life has crashed down around my ears
and my will is seeping out through the cracks.

I am trying to be gentle with myself.
I tell myself:
everything that needs to get done
will happen in good time.
But it's hard.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013


the sky is the color of deep indigo ink.
the chilly is air heavy with the scent of vegetation,
wet with the dew of the night.
the earth is reverently hushed.

and then the sky is paler blue,
the mountains show in dark silhouette.
the green of the valley becomes more intense.
a glow of pink blooms in the east.

the dark water ripples,
ethereal mist rises and blows in my face.
the silence is shattered: ho-onk? asks a goose.
his fellows answer, rising on powerful wings.

the birdsong crescendos, the breeze lifts my hair.
colors become more distinct.
i can almost pinpoint the moment
the sky changes to blue from its pearly pre-dawn hue.

suddenly the sun leaps above the mountains,
pulsing in the glory of fiery coral sunrise.
it continues to climb, reaching down to the earth,
offering warmth and pure gold light.

and so, another day begins.

Monday, July 29, 2013

monday (lack of) menu

[uncooked pink rice]

I've been having something of a menu crisis lately
because I pretty much hate cooking
during these hot summer months.
What are your favorite hot-weather meal solutions?

Saturday, July 27, 2013

guitar string bangles

My sweetie has been away for work this week,
so I've been wiling away the long and lonely evening hours
by listening to an audio book
and indulging my latest crafty crush:
making bangles made from upcycled guitar strings.
I have been saving Benjamin's old guitar strings for years
because I just knew that someday
I would be able make good use of them!
I have been having so much fun
combining them with pretty beads and wire wrapping
and learning to use Benjamin's soldering iron.

Friday, July 26, 2013

and in the summer we are fruitivores

I think I've mentioned before
how much I love being able to get Bountiful Baskets!
I appreciate how it pushes me to try new vegetables
(grilled eggplant, or sauteed kale anyone?),
but my favorite is the variety of fruit we receive.
Here are a couple o fun fruity things I have made recently.

Taste the rainbow--nutritiously.
Top to bottom:
Strawberries, cantaloupe, pineapple,
honeydew, blueberries, and plums.
(Yes, I know that there is an indigo stripe in there too.
But tell me what kind of fruit is indigo.)

It really was a big hit
even though they look less than enthusiastic. :)

And of course there have been more popsicles.
left to right:
tropical smoothie
(banana, mango, pineapple, coconut milk)
red, white, and blueberry
(strawberry puree, vanilla yogurt, whole blueberries)
(honeydew and cantaloupe with whole blueberries)

left to right:
mango peach
kiwi slice and whole blueberries in apple juice
apple plum

This week we also enjoyed
 skewers of deliciously sweet frozen grapes,
but those disappeared too quickly for photos.

Thursday, July 25, 2013


Earlier this month we went camping
at a gorgeous, pristine location
that is only about an hour away from our home!
It was amazing.

Here are a few of my favorite photos.
Big Sky Country

Our brand new tent fits the six of us
much more comfortably than the old one did.

little explorers


There was a tiny stream a short walk from our campsite.
It was a magical place for the boys to play:
shallow enough to be quite safe,
yet extraordinarily exciting.

I love the quiet woods.

I am quite good at building fires.

Well, good morning, handsome!

In addition to many butterflies,
we also saw deer, frogs, fish, and lots of mosquitos,
but I didn't get any photos of them.

gift from Little Man

gift from Sweet Pea

busy girl

Can it get much better than this?

field of wildflowers

hiking to Coolidge, a ghost town


So glad we met these rain clouds were on the drive home!