Simple Moments v. 1

simplemoments13You guys probably don’t know this about me, but I was a ridiculously devoted scrapbooker for many many years.  I started in 6th grade.  Growing up, I worked as a janitor and my first major purchase was a film camera.  It cost me $254, if I’m remembering correctly.  I spent a lot of what I earned on developing film and I don’t regret it for a second.  Eventually, I was indeed that crazy person who would spend an entire hour on 1 page.  Wow, if I could go back and tell myself to find a better use for my time!  Obviously, I had to learn the hard way.  Fast forward to marriage and a new baby.  By the time Faith was crawling, I realized that this hobby and I were breaking up.  I was frustrated that I seemed to have the only baby who cried all day.  Why couldn’t she just let me work on HER baby book?  Distraction was in full force as I tried to wrongfully twist my calling and season of that time.  So funny to see how God weaves his plans and lessons in our life. We all know the crazy motivated little girl she is today!

I COMPLETELY see why I had my little Faith before an easier child.  God was molding me and showing me the things that weren’t necessary in my life so I could eventually understand how to drink those moments in, not just journal, cut, paste, and embellish them to pieces.  For me, it had become a part of my life that didn’t belong in that season of difficulty. So, I switched fully to a website I had started in 2002, before she was born. This continued for many years, even when I had Jack and Dean.  Then I realized my (little!) spare time was getting zapped again.  3 kids that were 4 and under.  WEBSITE OVER.  I may not have been working on that website during the day, but I needed that rest of the mind and soul at night and I didn’t even know it.  The season was missed again.

Fast forward, I start this particular blog in 2010 as a way to connect with friends and family far away who wanted recipes and tutorials.  My husband traveled all the time so I had a lot of evenings at home while the kids were sleeping.  We had left the church I grew up in, following years of growing apart in our understanding of God’s grace and our view of His love towards more than those who have their names in a member book.  We were rejected by friends in the process and carried from that place a further conviction that God’s love looks a whole lot different than we had experienced, up until that point.  His arms are wide and open.  I felt alone but hopefully for what was over the next hilltop.  In this season, instead of sharing about my kids, I wanted to offer up the things I was learning and experiencing.  This space has been more about sharing skills, information, and travel…something I LOVE doing and it has been very healing.  After that stretch of time, my husband traveled less, I had made a new group of friends and I wanted to just be with him and these ladies, sharing laughter and tears as we went.  It has been a lovely season and I’m so thankful for the hurt that has finally been removed from my heart through truth spoken in these friendships.  I’m finally starting to understand this “season” thing!

This new season is upon me where those babies aren’t crawling around (oh, how I miss it!), nobody is potty training or needs their bottom wiped, and my kids have even learned to play with each other (something I never thought would ever happen).  Change within ourselves is good and I’ve learned that even though I wanted to start something and do it exactly the same for each child for 20 years, that didn’t happen.  It took some time, but I’m OK with how God worked it out.

There will still be recipes and loads of things that are inspiring me.  It’s been a joy to have met some of you lovely readers in person and hear what you’ve made and tried from my site.  In my soul, I just feel that you, like me, don’t have time.  We don’t have time to read tons of blogs and live our life in the way we should.  If you read my blog in any sort of regular sense, I am truly honored.  Only a few blogs appear on my screen for soaking in every week.  The rest of my online stops are quick ones for recipes or how-tos, as it should be.  Anything more would be a distraction from the fullness of life out there waiting for me to grasp and devotion to the people who need my full attention!  God needs my eyes in a certain direction and I don’t want to miss his nudges.

All of this to say, see the season you are in for what it is…a season.  Tomorrow you might find yourself in a new place.

For myself alone, I wanted to start keeping more of a journal of our memories, experiences, and recipes.  I take pictures with my camera ALL THE TIME, but don’t have time to blog the “how-to” for everything. ;) I don’t know how often or for long I’ll do this, but I’m OK with that!  I don’t want to miss the season again!  I hope you enjoy soaking in these moments during your week.

Some simple moments I want to remember this week:

// Jack asked me to take a picture of him because Grandma wants a close picture of him.  She told him my pictures are too far away and she can’t see his face.  Here, Grandma ;) //

// We harvested all of our Thompson seedless last week because japanese beetles were on the attack.  Turns out that our insect book says the main things they eat are grapes.  Good to know.  I also made a fizzy frozen grape and lime drink I posted on IG here. //

// The pool is in full swing and we had people her every day last week!  Fun to see our friends so often. //

// After several months of no garden because the chickens had eaten it, dirt had been gradually added back in and the garden is reborn.  Thanks to my husband for lending his muscles. //

// Roast 4 pounds of tomatoes, 1 thickly chopped red onion, a head of garlic, salt and pepper, and a drizzle of oil on 425 for an hour.  Blend and use as pizza sauce, squeezing the roasted garlic from it’s casing before you blend.  It’s the best pizza sauce I’ve ever had.  You can thank me later. //

// Obsession with this heirloom tomato, Humbolt Fog, and vinaigrette salad continues.  I posted the dressing recipe on IG here. //

// Faith made risotto (Recipe coming soon!) for the first…and second time last week.  Super proud of her growth and I’m thinking she will be a way better cook than me before she’s a teenager. Yikes. //

// We made quick pickles inspired by “Little Bunny Follows His Nose”.  You can find the recipe on Paging Supermom here. //

// My Dad gave me some figs from one of my parent’s neighbors.  I gladly accepted and made figs poached in honey syrup.  I think a jar will be marrying some super ripe blue cheese soon. //

// Last week, my husband was working in Vegas so I decided to turn the house upside-down and reorganize…everything.  He has come to expect changes after his long trips and OBVIOUSLY I didn’t want to let him down.  I went through lots and lots of stuff and got rid of things that I thought I had already gotten rid of. //

// Every time we have an outdoor movie, we wonder why we don’t do it more often.  This time we watched “National Velvet” because Faith had just finished the book.  Her love of horses has fired up again.  I caught her reading a book on horsemanship.  I expect mention of horseback riding any second. //

I realize that I post a lot of pictures of food.  I’m sorry.  Well, maybe I’m not.

simplemoments6simplemoments12simplemoments9simplemoments5simplemoments4Simplemomentssimplemoments8simplemoments2simplemoments3simplemoments11simplemoments10simplemoments7simplemoments1

 

Click below to follow us on:

F a c e b o o k  //  T w i t t e r  //  P i n t e r e s t  //  I n s t a g r a m  //  E m a i l

Chicken Coop Update: We Have Walls!

new-7 copy

Ed has been working so hard on this chicken coop!  Check out my first post here about this amazing news!  We are still gathering and soaking in as much information as possible.  Over the last few Saturdays, Ed dug trenches (with a little help from those hard-working guys outside of Home Depot), installed framing, cement blocks, part of the wood siding, the base of the coop interior, frame and installed 2 of our vintage windows, and installed 1 vintage screen door.

Here are some chicken related questions with been wondering about, as well as some things we are learning (PLEASE SHARE YOUR CHICKEN KNOWLEDGE BELOW!):

Do we want to throw a Thanksgiving turkey in the coop and will he get along with the chickens? Not sure if we would be taking on too much with that one.

Where to buy our chickens? I’ve found some local hatcheries here in San Diego.  It’s really important to me that they eat good food from the minute they’re born.  Why else would we be raising them, right?

What should we feed them? After looking at loads and loads of websites and local store options for feed, I’ve concluded that I will be making my chicken feed and scratch, among other things.  Sheesh.  I don’t know why I’m surprised.  Chicken feed, even organic, is FULL of corn and fillers.  What’s the point?  Everything I’ve read says feed chickens corn as a treat and yet it’s the first ingredient on every bag I look at.  This is not ok therefore I am searching for balanced recipes.  This one looks perfect and well researched. Recipes?

How to keep pests away?  I am searching for the right kind of containers to store food in to keep rats and moths away.  HELP!

How do I take care of these little ladies?  Right now, we are reading, having the kids read, and are reading to the kids, “A Chicken In Every Yard”, “The Backyard Homestead Guide to Raising Farm Animals”, and “Farm Anotomy” to gather information! Favorite books?

What is the best way to reap the benefits of chicken poop?  I currently have to buy chicken fertilizer for my garden so I’m searching for the right kinds of cleanup methods that are best for getting the most out of chicken droppings.  Hey.  Nothing wasted, right?

Names!!  I think it’s safe to say that every one of us is excited about naming these ladies!  I’m expecting names that reflect Star Wars, book characters, hilarity, and maybe something slightly inappropriate coming from my husband.  We are splitting them up to name them so everyone will have their chance to pick!

To follow the every day chicken and backyard homesteading adventures, follow us on Instagram.

PLEASE share anything you’ve learned below!

Here’s the coop progress by the man who is constantly surprising me with making my dreams coming true…even chicken dreams…

new-5-2

new-2-2new-10new-12new-11new-4-2new-14

new-9new-7

Stick around and find us on:

F a c e b o o k  //  T w i t t e r  //  P i n t e r e s t  //  I n s t a g r a m  //  E m a i l

 

A Golden Afternoon Farm

chickens

We are so excited to be expanding our little backyard “farm”!!  For a solid 3 years, I’ve read, thought, prayed, researched, and dreamt of owning chickens.  The time has not been right in our lives until recently.  I see now why previous years would not have been good.  To take a venture like this, the entire family has to be all in and ready to take on the work involved.  I can honestly say that we are ALL ready!

A Golden Afternoon Farm is ready.

My husband has bravely taken on the task of building us a rather large chicken coop.  Right now, we are planning on having 15 chickens.  Sound like a lot?  Well, we use 5 dozen eggs a week for all of our breakfast, baking, and other food needs.  That’s what happens when you cook from scratch, I guess.  Plus, we’d like to be able to share some with our friends and family (get ready Erik and El!). He’s never build a chicken coop, but he has all of the spirit he needs to carry him through!  He is proving that if you want to do something enough, you can learn your way through the hard parts.  I’m really proud of him.  We have been married almost 10 years and he’s still making my dreams come true.  Who knew a chicken coop could be such an amazing and unexpected display of affection?

I’ll keep you posted on our progress and share how he built it after it’s finished!  We don’t have chicks lined up yet but I really felt strongly about finishing the coop before getting the chicks to make everything smooth and stress-free.

NOW, any seasoned chicken farmers please leave as much advice as you can in the comments!  I want to know what you did right and also what you would have done differently.  For the organic farmers…what you feed your chickens (every organic feed I see is loaded with corn!).

Favorite this and that…

tricks of the trade…

Please share!

new-6

new-2

new-4

new-5

Stick around and find us on:

F a c e b o o k  //  T w i t t e r  //  P i n t e r e s t  //  I n s t a g r a m  //  E m a i l

 

Make: A Succulent Teacup Planter

succulentteacup

 

Last year after Christmas, I told myself to find something simple yet wonderful to make for my friends the next year.  I get caught up in so many projects and commitments, sometimes I end up leaving less room for the fun handmade Christmas presents I love so much.  My schedule has changed a lot the last two Christmas seasons with my attention turning towards homeschooling.  I am enjoying this school year so much but when vacations comes around, I am in much need of rest and time to finish projects…and go to seemingly endless rehearsals and performances for the Nutcracker.  I wanted a gift that would be easy, fun, inexpensive (although, good friends are always deserving of the best!), and beautiful.

I feel really good about these succulent planters.

Succulents are perfect for everyone because they look great and SUPER EASY to take care of as they need minimal care and water once established. Perfect for friends, your mother-in-law or mom,  the neighbors, or the UPS driver.

I started looking around estate sales and thrift stores for good English china to plant succulents in a few months ago.  I noticed that the Japanese and Chinese tea cups were always more.  How nice that the one I was looking for was actually less.  Yay, for me!  I got mine ranging from $.25 to $6.  If I was in love with the cup, I would buy it for $6, but usually not.  You could buy new ones as well.  A special monogram mug from Anthropologie is always a good idea for $8.

DSC_89901

Required materials:

tea cup

glue

soil

succulents

Basically, I took the teacup, glued the bottom of the cup to the saucer (optional), filled it with soil, and added succulent clippings.  They survive for long periods of time with limited water, but make sure to keep the soil moist while they are developing roots.  If you have time, place the clippings in water, wait for the roots to form, then add them to the soil.  I’ve been propagating them for a few months now from my own yard.  It would be super easy for you to find a neighbor with overgrown neighborhoods (think retro 70′s neighborhoods where they will be prevalent, like mine).  I saw some down the street from me and will definitely ask them in the future since it’s a variety I don’t have.

That means they’d be FREE!

DSC_90091

If you liked what you see, stick around and find me on:

F a c e b o o k  //  T w i t t e r  //  P i n t e r e s t  //  I n s t a g r a m  //  E m a i l

 

 

Tomato Gazpacho with Pickled Onions and Parsley Oil

Isn’t it great how some of the most enjoyable foods are the simplest?  A scrumptious garden tomato with a simple sprinkling of salt is a delicious gift.

So simple.

I made my case for peaches being one of the greatest foods of summer, but tomatoes are right up there too.  The kids and I had an opportunity this past weekend to pick at a local farm here in San Diego, Suzie’s Farm.  We’ve done many farm tours there for school and we love being able to pick baskets and baskets of produce goodness.  The Best.  When summer fruits and veggies are at their peak, very little needs to be done to improve upon them.  God created a tomato or a pepper to go from incredibly sour and inedible, to juicy and sweet in just a few days, thanks to that glorious summer sun.

What a fantastic overseer and gardener God is.

Thank you, God, for tomatoes.

I think gazpacho is a such an amazing soup. It actually existed way way back in the deep dark corners of the history books.  Maybe it’s just my love of history, but I think it’s pretty cool to eat something like they did in Rome long ago, don’t you think?  It was created to both enjoy the produce of summer but also to eat on a hot day.  Quite simply, it is a tomato-based soup served chilled.  All of the ingredients are thrown into the blender, so no cooking over the stove or turning on the oven for this recipe!  The pickled onions add a little tang and the parsley oil adds some fun flavor and color.

Ok, let’s blend…

Toss all of the gazpacho ingredients in the blender.  Puree for a few minutes or until completely smooth.  Season to your liking.

Pour into bowls.

Done.

I find arranging buffet style toppings for meals encourages kids to create their own meals and eventually try things which  would normally cause them to freak out.  Having a small level of control even helps mine to branch out and try new things.

Above, I have hard-boiled eggs, pickled red onions, parsley oil (see below), bruschetta, goat cheese, cucumber, and avocado.  If you had shrimp or crab available, that would be fantastic too!

I also served ours with bread since it is an automatic comfort to my kids when they are eating something with a texture like a soup.  Gazpacho or even tomato soup are delicious with torn pieces of bread in them.

Enjoy!

Tomato Gazpacho with Pickled Onions and Parsley Oil

For the gazpacho:

6 regular size tomatoes, preferably heirloom

1  large avocado

1 sweet pepper, any color

1 regular size cucumber, peeled and diced

1/2 red onion, chopped

1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil

2 T. apple cider vinegar

1/2 tsp. paprika

1-2 cloves of garlic

salt and pepper, to taste

For the toppings:

pickled onions

avocado, chopped

hard-boiled egg, chopped

fresh bruschetta (chopped tomatoes, dash of olive oil, garlic, salt)

goat cheese, crumbled

cucumber, peeled and chopped

Parsley Oil:

1 c. of fresh parsley

1/3 c. extra virgin olive oil

salt, to taste

Blanch the parsley for 1 minute in boiling water.  Strain and blend with the olive oil in a blender.  Serve, salt, and refrigerate.

Add all of the gazpacho ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth.  Season to your liking.  Add the toppings and enjoy!

Stick around and find us on:

F a c e b o o k  //  T w i t t e r  //  P i n t e r e s t  //  I n s t a g r a m  //  E m a i l

 

Page 1 of 612345...Last »