Monday, November 3, 2014

time away

Last May, before we knew we would be buying a house and all of the craziness that would bring with it, I signed up to take a workshop taught by my favorite illustrator Heather Ross. In between packing, moving, settling in and every other part of life I have been trying to make a little time to sketch a bit and get inspired. I've been so busy with everything that is life, that it has suddenly snuck up on me. I'm going to New York on Friday! This Friday! I'll be gone for six days! Six days away from my family. It still doesn't seem real. The only nights I have spent away from Gianna are when Dean was born. Otherwise I've been home for every bed time and almost every nap time for both of them for their entire lives. This will be a big change for all of us.

I'll have one free day in the city on Saturday to do whatever I want. The rest of the days I'll be in the workshop or traveling. I'm starting to compile a list of places I want to visit: Purl Soho, the Orla Kiely Store, the Matisse exhibit at the MoMA, Eataly, Dean & Deluca... I'd love some suggestions too! The whole concept of being alone for more than a few hours is really foreign to me. I'm really excited but also nervous and a bit sad. I'm mainly excited though!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

reading (and listening)

One of the best perks of not sharing our room with a toddler anymore is being able to read in bed again. I've always liked reading a few pages before turning out the light at night. There are no other distractions there; no tv and no iPhone. It's much easier to find something else to do when reading is relegated to other areas of the house, at least for me it is.

The truth, though, is that I 'read' mainly by listening to books. In fact Gianna told her preschool teacher that I don't like music, which is completely untrue. I listen to music a lot, but more often I'll be listening to someone talking rather than someone singing. It's a way for me to keep in touch with the rest of the world and learn new things.

Last month I joined I also get digital audio books through the library. I love a lot of podcasts too. Of course, just as I was getting really into my Audible book (This Town - a really fun book about politics in DC) I got an email letting me know that I had a book ready to download from the library (Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less - fascinating and potentially life changing). Since the library book expires in a few days I switched to it, although I am looking forward to getting back to the backstabbing world of politics soon. With The Smartest Kids in the World I mainly listened to it, but also checked out the print version too. Gianna will be starting kindergarten next fall and hopefully this book will be help me find a good school for her. The questions at the end of the book are really great. The next book on my list to read is Courtney's new book, Three Story House. I can't believe I still haven't read it! I love that there are so many ways to take in books these days.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

the pumpkin patch

Pumpkin patches are a big deal around here. They have hayrides! and petting zoos! and elephant ears! and cow trains! and spooky train rides! and A GIANT CORN MAZE! etc... For Gianna's first Halloween we pretty much ignored the whole thing. The next year we went to Sauvie Island in search of a pumpkin patch and quickly became overwhelmed. Sensory Overload! Too much for a little person just 18 months old. So we hopped back in the car and kept driving around the bend on the island. And then we found this mellow farm. It has pumpkins, flowers and honey. That's it. It's not crowded at all and the pumpkins are lovely. My favorite are the Cinderella pumpkins, dark orange red and squatty. We love this farm and have come back every year since. When they are older I'm sure we'll check out a corn maze and a haunted train ride, but I really love the simplicity of this sweet farm. I like it so much that it deters me from growing pumpkins in our own garden.

The pumpkins' arrival on our porch has opened the floodgates of autumnal crafts and decorations in our home. Who knew that Haunted Gingerbread Houses were a thing? Trader Joe's, that's who. The gingerbread scent, while good, keeps pushing me forward to Christmas though. I think I'd make a dark chocolate cookie house instead. Maybe next year I will...

Monday, October 6, 2014

curtains, finally

We have made it through the big transition! Dean has slept in his big boy bed for the last week and a half and is now sharing a room with his big sister. She has even started referring to it as 'our room' which is amazing.

I finished the curtains and really like them. I was looking at these photos, wishing they were brighter and then realized that the curtains are doing exactly what I was hoping they would do, make the room dark.

Soon we will hang some art and maybe even take down the changing table. Now the biggest challenge is keeping Dean from climbing up the bunk bed ladder. He is too wobbly to be up there alone, but he sure is fast at climbing up!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

not enough hours in the day

We had a lovely visit with my mother in law. We talked about knitting a lot and I have two new sweaters that I'm going to start. Actually three sweaters. I'm going to knit this Katrine for myself and then a Fimma for Gianna in pink (of course!) and one in something else for Dean. While the bodies of the sweaters will be different colors I think I'll try to make the fair isle pattern the same colors. Not too matchy, but still coordinating. I've never done fair isle knitting and am excited to start! I'm planning on their sweaters to be Christmas gifts for next year. I have to be realistic, right? The magical soup I made last week must have done the trick because we were all cold-free for her stay. We did, however, discover the downside to having a loft bed that is bolted to the wall. When a child vomits in bed, it's really hard to clean between the bed and the wall. (A wet washcloth and BioKleen Bac-Out are my new friends)

I've been slowly working on sewing the curtains for the kids' room. The fabric is SO CUTE. The sewing room is still full of boxes so I've been setting up a mini studio on the dining table here and there. It works great, except by the time I get it quietly set up and the iron heated I have time to sew only a seam or two before nap time ends. We are moving Dean to his big boy bed tomorrow night, so I think tonight I will stay up until they are finished.

We finally got our fridge! It was making a terrible grinding noise and we were considering returning it, but then last night our knowledgable friend discovered that the ice maker was left on when it was installed, despite it not being hooked up to a water line. Now that it is off we are thoroughly enjoying our complete kitchen. We even made pizza for the first time in this house. The cooler days means it is time to turn on the oven. Hooray!!

Above is a drawing Gianna did of me on her paper party hat. I am wearing stripes in the last few portraits she has done of me. Maybe I'm becoming too predictable with my fashion choices?

Wednesday, September 17, 2014


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.