Thursday, November 20, 2014

The Last of the Garden

It is time to close up the garden for the year around these parts. I haven't mastered any sort of winter gardening yet, so this is the end of my season.


Our temperatures dipped pretty low at the beginning of the week, mid 20s overnight, and that really did it for all of the summer vegetables that had been trying to hang on. It was time to say goodbye to the peppers and all of the marigolds, which add so much color throughout the summer, had to go too.


I had pulled a lot of the other plants weeks ago. Either they had stopped producing or it was just not warm enough for anything to ripen.


These are the last of our carrots for the year. Our harvest was pretty small, but they are so sweet and delicious. We have a few beets and some kale that still look good so I will limp those along as long as I can.


It's a little sad to look out and see the mostly empty boxes (and the work the still needs to be done to clean everything up!) But it is also exciting to start thinking about next years garden. We hope to put in permanent drip lines to all the beds and some sort of "pretty" ground cover between them in the spring.

This is the first year we have had a garden big enough to really produce a lot, I rarely had to buy any produce at the store throughout the summer. I loved that. I still have a lot to learn and there are plenty of changes I'll make next year, but overall I'm calling this a great year of gardening.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

One Pretty Flower Girl

We had a wonderful weekend away this last weekend. We headed a few hours south to my in-laws house. Although everyone was excited for a little getaway, Audrey's enthusiasm had us all beat by a mile. You see, not only were we spending the weekend with her grandparents, but she was also the flower girl in the wedding of one of Bryce's closest friends growing up. Before this I don't think she had a concept of what a flower girl was, but as soon as we explained it, it was like a dream come true to her. 

When it came time to decide what to wear we consulted the bride and groom and their only request was something white, otherwise Audrey could choose. When I relayed that message to Audrey her reply was, "Great, I want a really, really long, and really, really, really poofy dress with a bow on the back and flowers." 


So twelve yards of tulle, one yard of satin, and six inches of chiffon later that is what she got. This was one of those trial by fire kinds of sewing projects. Much to my mother's chagrin, I didn't have any sort of pattern and just kind of winged it as I went. There are definitely a few imperfections, but luckily they weren't easily noticeable.


As soon as she put it on she said, "Mom, don't I look like a princess?" Success!

She was absolutely beautiful walking down the aisle and throwing the flower petals. It definitely brought a tear to my eye. And then she danced her little heart out at the reception. She stayed until the final songs were playing and went back to the house just beaming. She also came back with holes in her dress and tights from a fall and holes in her new shoes from running and dancing so much. All in all I think she had the perfect day. 

Monday, November 10, 2014

Hold Still and Smile

A couple of days ago I decided to attempt a very mini "photoshoot", using that term extremely loosely, with the kids. They are growing so quickly I didn't want this stage to go by without at least one good photo of them together. Ha! I should have just asked them to solve world peace, it might have been just as easy. No wonder photographers set the prices they do, I would say they earn every single penny of it.

Luckily enough, I think we might have gotten that one decent picture I was after, but we also got a whole bunch of "outtakes" too.

Things started well enough. Both of them at least attempted cooperation and a smile. Unfortunately, Owen also felt he NEEDED to have his hand on his face.

We decided to move things outside which Audrey translated as time for me to take pictures of her doing "cartwheels". As evidenced by this picture she is still trying to figure out just how to do a cartwheel.

Back inside Audrey started doing "princess poses", something she picked up after going to Disneyland and Owen refused to look at me.

But I saved the best for last. I LOVE this picture. While it isn't the beautiful, happy, smiley picture I was after, it sums up our life so perfectly right now... unpredictable, silly, and a whole lot of crazy. Just looking at it makes me smile.

Happy Monday!

Friday, November 7, 2014

Homemade Dusting Spray

A couple of years ago, after a bit of a healthy-living-free-range-chemical-free-back-to-nature-documentary binge, I decided that I wanted to give making my own cleaning products a try. I was pregnant with Owen and thought that we didn't need all those chemicals floating around the house. Plus, the idea of little hands getting hold of a strong cleanser and getting sick from it was also a big catalyst. 

It didn't take much googling to find a million and one different homemade cleaning "recipes". I gave a few a try and altered them to my liking and now I have a few that I've been using for the last year and a half. A couple of people have asked me for the recipes so I figured here was as good of place to share them as any. 

First up today is dusting spray. I've used this on both painted furniture and natural wood and it works great. And I LOVE that the recipe is so simple and ridiculously inexpensive. These are things I always have on hand so I don't have to worry about keeping something special around. 


I keep all my cleaners is spray bottles with the recipes right on the front. That way when I run out I don't have to try to remember the recipe, which, let's be honest is not going to happen, or have to go look it up somewhere each time I need it.

Doesn't it bother you that I capitalized the "t" in "tsp"? Yeah, me too! To bad I'm too lazy to change it. 

Here is the recipe, as it is a little hard to read in the photo:

Dusting Spray
(Shake well throughout use)

1 3/4  cup water
1/4 cup white vinegar
2 tsp olive oil

A couple of notes... I always use distilled water in the cleaners as we have hard water. Also, because oil and water don't mix you have to shake throughout using it to make sure you are getting a little of everything.

Let me know if you decide to go the homemade route, I'd love to hear what you think. Happy dusting!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Unpacked!

When we moved from Sacramento two and a half years ago we were lucky enough to get to use a moving company, thanks to Bryce's employer. It was quite possibly the greatest thing ever to have someone come and pack up all our stuff, load it, and move it. The only downside was that we were moving into a rental so we still had to move it all ourselves when we moved into our new house. While we were in the rental anything we didn't need stayed boxed up. We knew we were short timers and didn't want to unpack just to have to repack.

Now, 19 months after moving into our new house and two and a half years after having originally been packed I can finally say I've unpacked all the boxes. The last box held a great print from the National Gallery in London. I really like the print, but just didn't know where to put it.


We have this extra large opening above our TV and I really have been stumped on how to fill it. The other day I decided some sort of large framed thing would be good and it dawned on me that this one was still boxed up. It fits perfectly in the opening above our TV and I am enjoying not seeing a big empty white box anymore!

Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween

This is the second year that Audrey has had a real opinion about her Halloween costume.

Last year she knew for months beforehand that she was going to be a doctor, "just like dad". We sewed her a pair of scrubs and she even picked the exact color that her dad wears to work. It was awfully cute.

This year I should have been able to guess what she wanted to be. A farmer, again, just like dad, down to the exact overalls he wears when working on projects and taking care of the animals. It is pretty endearing how much she loves him.

Now that she has crossed off his day job and hobby who knows what she will pick for next year.


Luckily at 18 months Owen is still pretty clueless about Halloween, so he gets whatever we have. This year we happened to have a monkey costume in just his size. And really, he makes a pretty cute monkey.



Happy Halloween. I hope everyone has a fun and safe night.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Chewy Sugar Cookies

If I had to pick my favorite cookie it would be, well, hard to say. There are a lot of good cookies out there, but right at the top of my list would definitely be sugar cookies. And while I love perfectly thin, rolled sugar cookies cut into adorable shapes (essentially my mom's sugar cookies, which are the best ever), sometimes that feels like just a little too much work. Especially when I have two little sets of hands wanting to help. Which, don't get me wrong, I LOVE, but it does add a little bit more of a challenge.


That's where this recipe for chewy sugar cookies comes into play. They are quick, easy, and ridiculously delicious. I'm all about the texture when it comes to a cookie and these don't disappoint, they are perfectly chewy. We topped half with sprinkles and half with raw cane sugar and the crunch that either adds is a great addition.


Chewy Sugar Cookies

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1.2 tsp baking powder
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp whole milk
Sprinkles or cane sugar for tops


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

2. In a small bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, and baking powder.

3. In a stand mixer cream together butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in the egg and vanilla. In small batches blend in the dry ingredients until incorporated. Blend in milk until just incorporated.

4. Scoop small balls (about a rounded teaspoon) of dough onto cookie sheet. Slightly flatten top of each cookie and sprinkle with sugar or sprinkles.

5. Bake 10-12 minutes or until very slightly golden. Allow to cool for 2-3 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely. And enjoy!

RECIPE SOURCE: slightly adapted from Food Network, recipe by Linda McClure