Wednesday, June 4, 2014

small home living?

i've been thinking a lot about what kind of house we want to buy. not only what kind of house, but also in what neighborhood. for our price range, our options are to get a small house (right around 1000 sq ft) in a great neighborhood (where we currently live) or a bigger house (1200-1700 sq ft, with probably more than one bathroom!) in a much less charming neighborhood. the less charming neighborhood is less neighborhood-like, with chain restaurants and convenience stores nearby. the school also rates much lower than the school in our current neighborhood. i would rather live in a small house in a great neighborhood than a bigger house in a not as great neighborhood. i started making a pro/con list today for living in a small house.

pro: less time to clean, less energy to heat/cool, more time spent together, less money to improve aspects of the house such as new windows, roof, etc., less space means less stuff/things/materialism

con: less room for our various hobbies (sewing, canning, beer brewing, art making), less room for stuff could mean too much stuff everywhere (see my messy stack of books above. i'm terrible at organizing and maintaining clean surfaces, but my husband is great at it.)

one of our requirements is to find a place with three bedrooms. we would have a room, the kids would share a room, and we'd have a craft room. right now the craft room is downstairs and it is huge. it's 2-3 times the size of a small bedroom. we also want a place with a big enough lot that we could build a studio in the back for when the kids are older and need their own rooms, thus kicking us out of the third bedroom.

jessica, a good friend of one of my good friends, has started a lovely blog about living in a small home called Sunday Peaches. i love how she reminds us that many people living in other countries live in very small spaces and don't think it is strange at all, unlike here. she is one of my big inspirations for small home living. her instagram feed is one of my favorites. she and her husband and their three boys have been living in a 2 bedroom 735 sq ft house for the last six years! now they are adding on to their house a bit, but still only expanding to 1200 sq ft. if a family of five can live in 735 then our family of four should be fine in 1000, right?

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

mother's day

we'd had plans to have my mom over for brunch or dinner to celebrate mother's day last sunday, but gianna came down with a cold. we didn't want to give her the sniffles along with our love, so we decided to postpone. then sunday morning, after a delicious breakfast (my husband made waffles, bacon and mimosas!) i had a brilliant idea and decided to go out with just my mom. my gracious husband happily wrangled the kids while i was out. my mom and i looked at sewing machines, fabric, and had lunch. it was the first time she and i had done something just that was just the two of us since i was pregnant with gianna, over 4 years ago. it felt like a vacation. then i returned home to antics with the umbrella outside, a bit of gardening, and an amazing pizza dinner. i love my little family and am so happy to be sharing my life with them.

the next evening, continuing my adventures outside the house without my kids, i met anna downtown in the evening to hear my favorite illustrator, heather ross, read from her new book. it was glorious. the evening was gorgeous, it wasn't crowded, she was funny, real, and very nice. she told me she once had a goat named Cassie, so she drew a goat as a part of the inscription to my book. she gave away little prints, info about her next fabric collection, and fabric swatches - which ran out right before anna and i got up to the table. at least i'll be able to buy some in july. i'm planning on using fabric from her last collection (briar rose) and the next collection (far far away) to make a quilt for each of my kids when we move them into a room together. it was a very inspiring evening. this book is a memoir and i can't wait to find a moment to dive into it.

Friday, April 25, 2014

during nap time

today during nap time i decided to air out the house. i turned off the heat and opened the windows. the heavy rain outside was the soundtrack to my quiet morning activities.

i sliced potatoes and put them in a saltwater bath. there they will stay until dinner when they will be tossed with oil and tossed into a hot oven. then they will accompany pork chops and asparagus for a hearty, yet fresh spring meal. perfect for a rainy friday night. maybe we'll even build a fire in the fireplace.

before nap time i dropped by my favorite bakery to pick up another springtime rite of passage, a rhubarb danish. eaten with a steaming cup of tea and the chilly, wet breeze from the open window. so perfect.

and now nap time is coming to an end. time to walk the little one up - so he'll go to bed at a reasonable hour - and get ready for the big one to come home. she's out seeing her very first theater performance, a matinee of Alice in Wonderland, with her preschool. and the poor wet cat is meowing at the door...

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

being busy

2011 - her first birthday

we've had a busy last couple of months here.

i've been trying to bake all of our bread. i think i've only bought one or two loaves in the last month or so. i tried making some sourdough, but it was too sour, so i didn't keep making it and the starter died.

i've been knitting and knitting and sewing! it feels so good.

we celebrated my big girl turning 4 with pizza, cupcakes, and a strawberry outfit.

the smell of lilacs permeate the house. we are enjoying spring.

Monday, March 3, 2014


we've been busy creating: food, art, clothing, moments and memories.

gianna and i made lasagnas together. fun and messy. we also made crackers. they were great except for her very liberal application of seeds and lots of salt. they're pretty much inedible, they're SO SALTY!

i'm got interested in making sourdough bread and discovered that the bakery at my local grocery store will give you some of their sourdough starter for free if you ask for it. once i got it i started feeding it flour and water, just like the recipe said to do, and wow did it take off! i need to feed it for a couple more days and then i can use some to bake my first loaf.

we rearranged the dining room and turned the spare room into more of a play room. it feels so nice to have less clutter in the dining room. New chairs make it even better!

i have finished the birthday strawberry shirt/dress and am halfway through the strawberry pants. i'm thinking about making some strawberry shorts too. why not?

and in case you're wondering, here's the recipe for the cocktail pictured above. i've been varying it by using different frozen berries. i can't wait to try it when there are fresh berries!

since i posted my ramen recipe i have a made a few changes to it, mainly just cooking almost everything separately and then combining it together at the last minute. the change was based on this article about the best way to recreate amazing ramen noodle bowls at home. i didn't try making this exact recipe, but i thought the idea of cooking everything separately made sense, and it really tastes better. everything tastes fresher. i've also been only adding miso paste to the broth, and omitting the sherry and soy sauce. maybe i'm longing for spring and lighter flavors. i don't know, but it tastes right right now. i also found this ramen recipe in my inbox from amazing illustrator heather ross. it seems sort of labor intensive, (i.e. not based on using leftover meat like i do) but i bet it is fantastic!

Saturday, February 15, 2014


we had a lovely valentine's day here. it has always been a mellow holiday for us (no big jewelry gifts) just having fun with small expressions of love and good food, of course :)

my mom came over earlier in the week and made the valentine garland with gianna. i had gotten gianna's dress in a bag of hand-me-downs and it had a huge hole it in. so i took some strawberry scrap fabric, patched it up and turned it into a beloved valentine dress. she declared that she is going to wear it "every valentine's day!"

i had fun planning a special dinner, complete with a chocolate cake frosted with cream cheese frosting. it really is the best. i picked up a box of classic conversation heart candies which gianna enjoyed decorating with (and eating - yuck!). for dinner i made mustard stout marinated pork chops, brown butter orzo, roasted acorn squash, and caesar salad. the pork chops were really good, although next time i'm going to pan-sear and then roast them instead of broiling them. there was so much smoke it was like the house was on fire! it wasn't the best atmosphere to dine in, but the food was good enough to make up for it. i was a bit late getting dinner on the table, which combined with hungry kids means i didn't get any pictures taken. i think i may have posted one on instagram though. vincent brought me a sweet card, a gorgeous bouquet, a chocolate bar and a bottle of lambic. he knows me well.

today is a rainy saturday. swim classes in the morning and pizza for dinner. i'm looking forward to drinking my lambic and having craft night in the basement after the kiddos are asleep. gianna's birthday dress still has a long way to go before it is ready to wear...