Wednesday, September 17, 2014

glimpses















Slowly, slowly, slowly things are coming together. That shelf of jars filled with grains, flours and herbs makes me so happy. Every time I walk into the kitchen I feel like my pinterest boards have come to life! Designing the kitchen you want is the way to go. Of course it isn't finished yet. The cabinet doors aren't painted and put back on, the subway tile isn't up, one of the countertops still hasn't arrived, and we still don't have a fridge. We got a call yesterday that it had arrived locally and was scheduled to be delivered here on saturday. Such a tease! Why tell us it is in town but that we don't get it for four more days?

The kids' room is coming along nicely. All I have left to do is sew the curtains. My husband built a loft bed for Gianna, which she loves. Her old bed is turning into Dean's new Big Boy Bed. Hopefully he'll be sleeping in it by next week. Fingers crossed...

The first cold of the school year arrived earlier this week. I figured it was a good time to try out this recipe for Super Immune-Boosting Chicken Soup. I almost didn't make it because it has some strange things in it and I was worried no one would eat it. Turns out it is delicious! The only change I made was omitting the fresh ginger in the final soup. We aren't huge ginger fans and I knew it would be too much of a stumbling block for our palates. There's lots of ginger simmered in the broth though, so I knew we would be getting some of it's health benefits. That soup, combined with lots and lots of tinctures, vitamins and herbs, seems to have done the trick. I'm hoping we all will stay well. My mother-in-law arrives tomorrow for a visit. The last time she visited us we all got really, really sick. I'm hoping for a more enjoyable visit for all of us this time.

Lastly, I'm feeling settled enough to start checking out books again from the library. I've wanted to read Whole-Grain Mornings for a few months, but knew I wouldn't have any spare time for it. I made the best oatmeal I've ever eaten from it. The secret is toasting the oats in melted butter before boiling them. It gives such a depth of flavor. My husband said that if it were sweeter it would taste just like Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal, which is a compliment.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

fauna










We had friends over for dinner this week and it was so nice to share our new home and new kitchen! We still don't have a fridge in the kitchen yet (fingers crossed for next week!) so the kitchen flow still isn't great, but I'm still managing to make some simple, easy meals. At this point in the season the fruits and veggies are so amazing that simple food really is best. On a hectic night last weekend I made a salad of little fresh mozzarella balls (bocconcini), balls of sugar kiss melon, and slivers of prosciutto. It was like summer in a bowl.

In addition to meeting the neighborhood dogs and cats, we've found two wooly bear caterpillars and a praying mantis. The praying mantis visited us briefly one evening. I'd never seen one before. It was much bigger than I had anticipated. The wooly bears are now living in our kitchen, feasting on fresh mint and rhododendron leaves. We hope to watch them spin their cocoons.

This morning was quite chilly and windy. The street is littered with leaves, twigs and acorns. I happily wore my boots. It's the perfect time when it's chilly enough to wear a sweater and drink tea, but warm enough to still have the windows open, smelling the fresh air while listening to the rustling leaves. I'm pretty sure every post I write will be a bit of an ode to autumn until the crisp air is replaced by rain.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Walking to Preschool













Our new house is about seven blocks away from our old house, but those seven blocks have changed some patterns in our lives. Now we are closer to my daughter's preschool and the elementary school she'll go to next year. They are both a ten minute walk from our house. That was one of the major selling points of this house for us. I really don't want us to spend a lot of time in the car driving daily. My hope is that they will find friends in the neighborhood to ride bikes, play, and walk home from school with when they are a bit older. 

Preschool started up last week and we have been enjoying our morning walks there. After little brother and I say goodbye to big sister we walk over to the community garden to pilfer a few raspberries and enjoy the beauty. I'm thoroughly happy that we moved, but I have missed having a garden this summer. I'm so glad there is such a big, bountiful one nearby.

Fall is in the air, despite the temperatures still being a little hot during the day. There's a chill in the air in the morning and at night that isn't present at the height of summer. I love it! I look forward to this time all year long. Soon enough, usually in time for Halloween, it will be raining, so I'm going to take walks every opportunity I get now. 

The canopy of trees on our street catches me off guard every time I drive down it. It is so quiet here. Our last house was on a busy street. Here I've heard the neighbors singing 'Happy Birthday,' some kids playing, and nightly a group of dogs bark all together for about 20 seconds. 

Friday, September 5, 2014

Settling In









Oh September, I've been looking forward to you for a few months. I knew that once we turned the calendar over we would be on the other side of packing and moving. Of course we still aren't fully settled in, but everything really is starting to come together in our new house.

The first few days were really rough. We were practically camping in our house. As it tends to go with home renovation, the sink and countertops took longer to acquire so we moved into a house without a kitchen. We made do with the utility sink in the garage, but had a harder time dealing with a surprising complete lack of hot water. As my friend Patrick likes to say, we were being introduced to the joys of 'home-moaner-ship.' Two days after we moved in was my birthday. I was thrilled to get to take a hot shower that morning and escape out with my friend for drinks and dinner that night. I wouldn't recommend having a birthday two days after moving. Moving really overshadows everything else. As I was unpacking I found a sweet book my aunt had given to me for my birthday thirty years ago. I can't believe I am old enough to remember anything from thirty years ago.

The following weekend my husband picked up the remaining kitchen pieces and put it together. It is gorgeous! Seriously. On Monday night I made dinner for the first time in almost two weeks. We were all so glad to be finished with take out and restaurants. There really is nothing like a home cooked meal.

I already love living in this house and know it is just going to get better as we get more settled in. I was a bit worried that moving to a substantially smaller house would be a big adjustment, but really I find living here easier. I don't have to run down a flight of stairs to put in a load of laundry or take the garbage out anymore. I can always hear the kids so keeping track of them is easier too. The bathroom is tiny and quick to clean. And once I find the hardwood attachment for the vacuum I think the rest of the house will clean up fast as well. Once we get a bit more organized I'll take some proper photos of the house, especially the floor and the kitchen.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

is it over yet?






pink tile!

We are now in our last week in this house. Things are changing quickly. The front and backyard gardens have been dismantled. The chickens and their coop now have a new home (Thank you Alyson!). Boxes have begun piling up around the house. Some are filled, some are empty and have been turned into rocket ships and houses. Some of the empty boxes that were taped have been cut open because it turns out I shouldn't have packed the cornstarch so early, or the dill! Meals have gotten unappealing with the combination of hot weather and packing. We are on a steady diet of rotisserie chickens from the grocery store, sausage, beans and rice, take-out, frozen peas, and occasionally a salad. I miss eating real food. My husband is remodeling the kitchen in the new house and we won't have all of the appliances when we move in (or possibly a sink or counter tops), so the take-out parade will continue for another week or two I fear.

I'm very excited to have a new dishwasher and a new refrigerator. I've lived in rentals since I was six, which never had nice appliances. The shelf in the door of our current rental fridge was broken when we moved in and still is. I'm still deciding on a stove. Ultimately I want a dual-fuel range with gas on top and an electric oven. However, running gas to the kitchen would blow our budget so we're going to save that upgrade for the future. I've been toying with getting a vintage electric stove but it might be more hassle than it is worth.

We are all going a little batty with this transition. My husband has been putting in long hours working on the new house and I've been putting in long hours solo parenting. I've been staying up late packing and then getting woken up super early by my youngest. Yesterday morning we started our day at 4. This morning he wanted to get up at 2. He finally fell back to sleep at 4. Crossing my fingers for a better night tonight!

I had to include one shot of the new house. I've been holding off posting photos of it until I get time to compile all of the before and after shots. It was painted such crazy colors and now it is just so beautiful. The bathroom is the only room we really aren't doing much to right now. I love the vintage pink tile! Can you believe the previous owners painted the inside of the medicine cabinet maroon? They made so many strange design choices in this house.


Tuesday, August 5, 2014

morning in our new backyard













The kids and I stopped by the new house this morning so I could take some measurements for new curtains. I'm thinking of making roman shades for the bedrooms, and I'll need to make them soon before I pack up all of my sewing supplies. They enjoyed running around while screaming and listening to the deafening echo in the empty space. As soon as the last measurement was taken they burst out the back door into the yard. The house is on .26 acres which means there's a lot of yard to explore.

While they gathered hazelnuts and sorted rocks I started taking inventory of the flora there. There are at least four ornamental cherry trees and three magnolias. It is going to be so gorgeous in the spring! The honeysuckle is so sweet smelling and the wild blackberries are delicious. There are too many oak trees to count and at least two hazelnut trees. I foresee many nut-based craft projects in the future. There are also rhododendrons, camellias, lilacs, roses, ivy, nightshade, morning glory, mint, and lots and lots of dandelions.

We are pretty sure that the previous owners were hippies. They had a large teepee in the backyard. No, they didn't leave it, just a huge patch of gravel where it stood with a fire pit in the center. There was also a cow skull up in a tree and some mandala-based art. They also left the woven dome structure that is getting covered with morning glory. I like it, despite it feeling a bit Blair Witch Project to me.

The playhouse is such a wonderful bonus to our new home. In a couple of months I won't need to worry about them falling off the ladder and it will provide lots and lots of fun. It will be great for sleepovers when they're older, a guest house if we have an adventurous guest, or even an art studio. So many possibilities!