Monday, January 30, 2012

minor adjustments

aaaahhhh the weekend. 

Gone again too quickly.
This weekend was funny.
You see, Robby and I had a Super Date planned.
We were to hit up my bi-annual doctors appointment in San Francisco (par-tay!), and then spend the night/day exploring Big Basin State Park, while the kids were busy at Grandma's.
I had been dreaming of wandering though the Redwoods for months....and just TWO days before we were supposed to leave, the medical roller coaster that I have been riding derailed and we had to postpone my Dr's appointment for a few more months.
(sidenote: if you ever find yourself in line for a medical roller coaster, EXIT TO YOUR RIGHT IMMEDIATELY. 
While thrilling around every bend, they are no fun, and waaaaaaaaaaaay overpriced. )

So I'd had my sights set on a weekend adventure.....what should we do now?
There would definitely be no misty walks through giants, but we made a few adjustments to our plans and decided......
.....we should go snowshoeing. Yep, that's what we would do.
Ever since I have been a mother, I have LOATHED winter. 
Hated it.
Spat upon it.
I mean, what good is winter after Christmas?
With little ones, it takes exactly 1000 times longer to bundle up and get anywhere.
You just can't get out. No escape!!
Last year though, I decided to change my attitude.
I forced myself to like winter.
Extra layers, extra baking, extra fires and snuggling.
Finding more indoor things to love so I could ignore winter knocking at my door....and it turned out to be ok.
(You can see all my faking it in last year's winter wednesday posts)

But this year, I didn't want to fake it anymore.
I didn't want to just get through winter....I wanted to actually enjoy it.
So I had to adjust more than my attitude.
I had to adjust my actions.
Pick myself up off the warm couch.
Pry myself away from the oven.
Get out those 1217 layers that we wear when it's frosty,
and head for the hills.

And it was the BEST.
Sunshine and sparkly snow.
Heading off the beaten path and making our own trail.
"new tracks!!" we would yell as we ran across our blank canvas, leaving our tiny marks.
Climbing up a hill so steep I actually had to pull my girl up with the dog's leash....and then
laughing hysterically as we all slid-and-slided our way down.
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Bless you winter.
I think I may be falling for you.
snowhoe1 copy
all photos taken up Millcreek Canyon. 
trail: our own.

ps. please note that my child is simply "resting in the sun" as she put it, and not injured or deceased as it may look in a few photos up.

What do YOU do to enjoy winter?

Friday, January 27, 2012

speaking of.....

me and my tower of ruby snap
Thanks everyone for the birthday wishes this week!
I loved reading them all.....thank you!
I had a great day with my little family and we are all still full of our favorite pizza and cookies.

Speaking of full, we have been eating a lot of steel cut oats (I was never that in to them because they took so long to cook, and our mornings are crazy......and then I realized oh wait, I can cook them ahead of time and actually SAVE time in the morning......perfect!) Last time I toasted them in a little bit of coconut oil before cooking them, and then after they are cooked, topped them with almond milk, almonds, flax, unsweetened coconut, and bananas and WOW. New favorite for breakfast, pre-run, or post-yoga!
How to you eat your oats?

Speaking of almond milk, I am going to be making some soon, thanks to tips from Jen who is an expert. I will post about it and let you know how it goes!

Speaking of blog posts, blogging in the winter is hard! We have been eating some super yummy things, but when we are eating's dark! No photos to be taken. So let me paint you a picture of our dinner a few nights back....
whole wheat spaghetti tossed with:
-saute'd garlic (lots!), sun-dried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, capers, spinach
lemon juice, lemon zest, olive oil and s&p
all topped with a yummy piece of salmon....mmmm
close your eyes, picture it beautiful, and make it!

and still speaking of blog posts, I LOVED all the feedback on Monday's brussels sprouts post!! Seriously go read the comments--there are enough ideas to have brussels sprouts every day for a month.

Speaking of comments, and back to my birthday post.....I had no idea so many of you girls were also crazy and got married at 19.....I love it! We should start a club.

Speaking of 'bout this weather? Seriously I know "The Weather" is the number one small talk topic, but I actually love talking about the weather. I check the weather several times a day, in several different locations, (nerd), and love seeing what's going on. Anyway, although it "snowed" a teeny tiny bit last week, we are still feeling like it's spring here! It's just crazy. Sunshine, sunshine and more sunshine. I can't wait to get out in it tomorrow.

Speaking of spring, I am getting so ancy for real spring.....aren't you? Last year was the first time I planted any cold weather veggies (radishes, carrots, lettuce), and this year I can't wait to do more. Just have to wait until March......what do you plant in the spring?

Speaking of lettuce, my lettuce took off last year! We had fresh salads (yes plural) every single day. I HATE having to buy lettuce in the stores now knowing how much we had. This year I'm going to try planting it like THIS. Space saving AND no weeding between rows....perfect.

Speaking of the fact that I just linked you to my Pinterest, are you on there? I love how organized it makes me feel, and I have been trying so many new recipes because if it.

Speaking of linking you more places, check out the new sponsors that will be coming in over the next few days (right side bar). I still have a few spots me!

What are your plans for this weekend?
Have a happy one!

really super random notes for today:
-I get so many emails, and I LOVE them, but I don't always have time to respond (although I try!) I'm working on an FAQ page for common questions that come up, if you have something you'd like to be included, let me know!
-Did you know I'm on facebook? It's true.
-I MUST go to Yosemite. soon. watch THIS and you will want to go too.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

two niner

disclaimer: I started this as a simple quick post. and then it just kept going. and going and going.
So I wrote it out for ME.....but you can read it too, if you have too much time on your hands, a snack to enjoy, and something to keep you hydrated.

Short version: today is my birthday.  I like being outside. 29 is going to be awesome.

me. a few weeks back when charly and I were headed up up up the mountain to escape the inversion.
and she has officially entered her 30th year.
she being me.
29 years old.

I am actually, really, the more I think about it........EXCITED! 
This is going to be a good year....I know it.

28 was a turning point for me.

But first, let's go back.
waaaaaaay back.

I was married. 
The hardest part about being so young (NINETEEN!!!) when you get married, is that you are most definitely, for sure, in no way, grown up yet. 
Oh, you THINK you are.....but you are not. 
I was not. 
So while trying to adjust to newly wedded bliss and modern housewifery, full time school and are still trying to grow up. 
That's aLOT going on at once.
Oh, and remember how you are 19?

You start to maybe, kinda, sorta, get a grasp on your early 20s, and then BAM!! 
At 22 you have a beautiful, perfect, long-lashed baby boy. 
New motherhood is a challenge at any age, but 22! 
You are still working on YOU! 
Early and mid-twenties flash by in a frenzy of diapers and wipes and tickling of toes...
....because now a lovely little curly headed girl has joined the family.
You will one day wake up and realize that you never quite finished that whole "growing up" thing--you were too busy birthing babies and helping them take their own first steps.
What do you like? What makes you, you?
Being a mother is your absolute favorite thing in the entire world. 
It is the bestest of the best.
But it does not define you.

You start to try things out. 
Test the waters. 
What are the other mothers doing?
You try your hand at scrapbooking. HA! that didn't last long.
You dabble in this and that, motherly hobbies that fizzle out in days. 
You are lost. 

You care too much about what others think,
and don't think enough for yourself. 

And then one day, it clicks.
Without searching or asking or watching what the others are doing.

You decide to take your usual run to a trail.
You leap over.
Dodge under.
Your feet are quick.
You fall.
Get back up.
THIS is what you've been missing.
Simple as that.
Nothing you could have found in Super Mom Magazine,
and nothing Oprah told you to do.


Something you grew up with,
but for some reason,
these last few years you forgot.
Forgot how wonderful it is to just be out.

And from there on out, you are good to go.
It's you! You're back!
You re-prioritize.
You get your family outside more.
Make sure you all get good and dirty.
You simply came back to what you liked growing up.
Nothing new, or was just YOU.

I am excited for what this new year will bring for me.
What will 29 have in store?
Hands in the dirt.
Climbs up mountains.
Camping under stars.
Blisters on our feet, scuffs on our knees.
Lakes. Rivers. Streams.
Bugs and Birds.
Eating food we planted and grew.
Teaching my Littles about all these things, and how important they are to me.

And most importantly, continuing to sift out those unimportant things in my life, and focus on all of the (MANY!) little things I love, and that make me, me.


WOW. Did we get just a little cheesy? Please refer to last week's post on actual cheese if you feel like you are in the mood, thanks to this post.

Where did all this come from? I think maybe my parents found me in the woods.
Sheena(4mos) & Clem 1983
Sheena 1990

Last year of my 20s....let's go!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

advertise with the little red house!

I love ads.
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I would love to have YOUR ad here in The Little Red House!

If you have something you'd like to advertise,
The Little Red House
would love to help promote you!
Artists, bloggers, makers-of-awesome things, designers, photographers, shop owners, writers, entrepreneurs....whatever you may be, we'd love to have you!

Please email me sheenajibson at gmail for rates for the New Year (starting at $15), sponsorship info, blog stats, or any questions you may have, like, "where can I get myself one of those baby tanning lamps?"

Monday, January 23, 2012

a winter favorite

Brussels Sprouts. 
a favorite? 
Teeny green adorable members of the cabbage family. They tend to be one of the more snubbed veggies out there in veggieland, but only because you've been eating them wrong.....these are a big time favorite around here--even with my kids! We eat them often in the winter months--they are very versatile and and contain a healthy dose of fiber, and more than your days worth of vitamin C and K in one serving (about 6 sprouts).

While I was doing a little research, I learned that boiling them was a popular way of preparing them. May I offer up a suggestion? please?
I would like to take out a public service announcement that says this. 

Boiling does nothing for their flavor, it decreases nutritional benefits, and it turns them into a bowl of wonder people don't like them. If you leave this post with anything, please remember,
 no boiling.

So how should you be preparing them? Let's talk about it.

First. You need to admire them.....they really are different. Layer upon layer of green--and have you seen them grow? They grow on a tall stalk.....appearing to be a bit alien-ish....I love it.
 Has anyone grown these? How did it go? 
It's something I would like to try out in the first cool months of spring.
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Ok so you've admired them. 
Now wash them. 

Cut off what's left of the stem--this is bitter and you don't want to eat it. It also allows you to easily peel off any of the outer leaves that may be discolored.
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A tasty way to eat them, is roasted!
You can roast them whole, or cut them in half. 
I like to half them so they are a bit easier to eat, and they roast faster. 

Roasted Brussels Sprouts:
 Toss halved sprouts with olive oil, salt and pepper, and roast at 400° for about 30 minutes until outsides are crispy......the outside crispy leaves are the BEST. 
I usually add another sprinkle of salt when they come out of the oven and they are delicious! 

But from here you can add anything. 
A squeeze of lemon. 
A splash of balsamic vinegar. 
A sprinkle of parmesan cheese. 
Anything goes. 

Or add them to something......
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Wild Rice Pilaf with Brussels Sprouts and Pecans
ok ok maybe the bold title made you think this was a "recipe" but it's just an idea of flavors together--use whatever amounts you like. 
you'll need:
-wild rice mix (cooked in chicken or veggie stock)
-saute' some leeks in a few TBS of butter, after they are soft add a handful of chopped pecans. cook until pecans are fragrant. 
-roasted brussels sprouts (see above)

mix rice, leek and pecan mixture, and brussels for a tasty and filling side dish.


The quickest way I have found to cook them is right on the stove top--and again the possibilities of what gets mixed in is endless. 

After you have washed them and removed the stems (above), slice them thinly. 
They will fall apart and begin to shred on their own. 
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Now we are going to make my favorite.....
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Brussels Sprouts with Bacon, Avocado, and Lime
1lb brussels sprouts
2 slices bacon (If you are a bacon LOVER, you may want to add a slice or two more....I think this is just enough.)
1 garlic clove, minced
juice of 1 lime
1 avocado, sliced
a pinch of crushed red pepper (optional)
olive oil
salt and pepper

While you are slicing your brussels, cook the bacon until crispy in a large skillet.
Remove from pan.
Add a little olive oil to the pan (depending on how much bacon drippings were left over), and add your shredded brussels, garlic, and crushed red pepper.
Cook for just a few minutes on medium heat, until brussels start to get tender.
Mix in lime juice and crumble bacon into the sprouts. s&p to taste.
Scoot your sprouts over to the side of the pan, and add avocado slices--just to quickly warm each side. You don't really want to stir them around into the sprouts or they will mash right in. 
When they are heated through, mix everything together and enjoy!

How do YOU eat brussels sprouts?

and there is more!
I added brussels sprouts to my salad here
Giada's mix of roasted winter veggies (here) looks delicious and easy
I am itching to try this brussels and pear combo (here)

I've had quite few requests for beets.....I'm on it! 

Thursday, January 19, 2012

weekend indulgence

well, almost weekend. 
my brain kicks in to weekend mode come Thursday afternoon....I can't help it!

Let's talk about cheese. And chocolate. 
chocolate and cheese!
Two of my very favorite things to eat. and talk about. and dream about. and eat.

Two things that also, tend to get a bad rap--especially this time of year, with all of the resolutions that have yet to be broken. They are sworn off, thrown out, and shoved to a hiding place where someone will eventually find them and binge themselves into a tummy ache full of regret (and old chocolate).

Seriously though, maybe it's just me, but anytime I have sworn I wouldn't eat something (say, sugar) I end up depriving myself of it, and eventually giving in and eating waaaaaaaay too much. right? right. 

So we don't deprive around here. We don't swear off food. We just eat healthy healthy healthy most of the time, live very active lives, and that way we are not afraid to indulge in our favorites from time to time.

Take this giant plate of cheese for example. 
Do we eat this every day. no.
(but do I wish we could.....yes!)
I put this together on Christmas Eve day. 
We love cheese, and wanted the kids to be able to try a few different kinds at once. 
I had no idea really how to pair what with I was happy to find this post
over at Sprouted Kitchen. 
cheeseplate copy

Parmigiano Reggiano-loved this with pears
Goat Cheese (Chevre)--rolled in fresh chives, thyme, and lemon zest
peach jam--perfect for spreading on a toasted baguette and topped with manchego
sliced pears
Manchego--a sheep's cheese, loved it with the peach jam or cranberry sauce
toasted baguette slices
more crackers, but you knew that
a quick homemade cranberry sauce: whole cranberries, pure maple syrup, orange zest, and a squeeze of orange juice simmered until cranberries soften and mixture starts to thicken.

not pictured: pickles. my kids do not believe in any appetizer that does not somehow involve we set them off to the side....away from the delicious cheese.

let the cheese sit at room temperature for a bit before you dive in.
have fun with it! 
see what kind of creations and combinations your kids come up with (some of which may involve pickles) .....and try not to gag. 

Moving on to dessert......chocolate style of course.
Reason #972 I love the weekend: we usually end up snuggled on the couch eating some kind of treat. We've worked hard and eaten well all week.....we deserve it! 
I made these last weekend--I haven't had blondies forever! They were a favorite when I was little--in fact, this recipe came from my mom! I just browned the butter.
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Brown Butter Blondies

6TBS browned butter*
1 1/2 c brown sugar
2 eggs 
1 1/8 c flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 c chocolate chips

*to brown butter:
Heat pan on medium heat.
Cut butter in to pieces and melt in pan.
Stir continuously. Butter will foam up.
After foam subsides, small brown flecks will start to appear in bottom of pan.
Continue stirring, until butter has reached a nice brown color, and nutty aroma.
Remove from heat.

Blend brown butter, sugar and eggs until well mixed.
Stir in dry ingredients.

Pour batter into greased 8x8 pan, sprinkle top with chocolate chips, and bake at  350° for 25-30 minutes, until just done around the edges and on top (don't over bake). These are awesomely gooey in the middle.
They are perfect hot out of the oven with ice cream.

Have a happy weekend! 
Get out and do something active.....and then come home and indulge in something delicious! 

What is your favorite way to indulge?

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

la-la-laundry day

It's everyone's favorite subject......LAUNDRY! 
Ok maybe not that exciting.....but here's a little something to make it more.....interesting. 

I have been seeing this "recipe" for homemade laundry detergent all over the www, and I finally decided to give it a try. 

You see, the girl has THE fairest, most sensitive skin in all the land. 
I finally found a laundry soap that I love and doesn't irritate her skin-as-white-as-snow.....but it's not cheap. 

Someone did the calculations on this homemade stuff (not I), and found it to come out to 1¢ per load! 
If you're adding essential oils, it may come out to a tad bit more.....but you still can't beat that. 

I have also talked to friends who have kiddos with sensitive skin, and they didn't have any problems with this, so one more reason to give it a try. The Fels Naptha soap does have a bit of a fragrance, so I decided to go with a small batch to test it out and see how her skin does, and we will go from there. 
I'm trying to find a good balance between delicate for her, but strong enough for stinky sweaty armpit smells (ahem, my own). 

For the big batch of detergent, check out abi's blog.

3tsp Fels-Naptha soap (grated). You can find this in the detergent section of a grocery store. 
It acts as a stain remover.
4tsp Borax. Found in the detergent section of most stores. 
Borax disinfects and neutralizes odors (like those from your stinky armpits)
4tsp Washing Soda.  Found in the detergent section of grocery stores. 
This fights stains and grease.
few drops of essential oil of your choice (optional) I used lavender.
empty container.

-Add grated soap and 3/4 cup water in a saucepan on low heat, and cook until soap is dissolved.
-Add borax and washing soda, and continue to cook and stir until dissolved, and mixture is thicker.
-Pour into an empty container (if you are making the big batch I would use empty detergent jugs if you have them). I used a jar since I just made a little bit.
Add 5 cups of cold water, and a few drops of essential oil.
Give it a good shake, let it sit overnight, and shake it again in the morning and you are good to go!
Use 1/2cup per load.
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Have you made your own detergent? What's your recipe? 
I will report back on how the little girl does, and let you know if I make a different version for her.

Happy Laundering!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

eat your greens

Last month I decided to start spotlighting different fruits and veggies--why we like them, and how we eat them. (I kicked things off with pomegranate)

This week I want to talk about greens.
We love greens. 
Now had you asked me a few years ago....I would have gagged. 
I didn't understand how to eat them.....or why you would want to. 
When I thought of "eating your greens", I imagined soggy spinach in some kind of cream sauce.
no thank you. 

This post will focus on kale, but most of the "recipe" ideas can be also used for collard greens or chard.

So what's so great about this stuff?

One cup of kale contains 36 calories, 5 grams of fiber, and 15% of the daily requirement of calcium and vitamin B6, 40% of magnesium, 180% of vitamin A, 200% of vitamin C, and 1,020% of vitamin K. It is also a good source of minerals copper, potassium, iron, manganese, and phosphorus.
It is a SUPER really, how could you pass it up?
And it sure is pretty....
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How to prepare it:
Very easy.
The larger the leaf, the tougher the stem, so I usually just take the green right off the stem.
Chop into bite size pieces--perfect for almost any recipe you'll use it in. 
How to eat it: 
-Make a salad! Toss it with your favorite salad ingredients and a good vinaigrette.
-If it's your first experience with kale, it is a bit more chewy and hardy than a usual salad of romaine or baby lettuces, so mix a little bit of kale into your regular salad.
-Put it in your smoothie. You won't even know it's there.
-Make kale chips. Theses disappear so fast!
-saute' it in a little olive oil and garlic until it softens, give it a squeeze of lemon.
-put sautéed kale in your favorite pasta dish or on your pizza!
-buy Whitney Ingram's cookbook (coming soon!)--it has a delicious recipe for braised kale.
(cookbook update! many of you know I am photographing Whitney's cookbook. We have 4 shoots left, and we should have information for pre-orders soon....eeeeek! so exciting!)

Throw kale right into your soup!
this may be the easiest way to warm up to kale or any other green (and the best way to hide it from your kids!) Start out small--chop it up tiny and only add a cup the first time. If you like it, add more next time. (remember it may look like a lot at first....but it shrinks down to nothing.
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Chicken Soup with Kale and Barley
if you are new to the blog (welcome!), just a disclaimer: most of my "recipes" are very loosely written, and are basically just me throwing stuff in a pot. feel free to interpret them as you like.

1 leek, finely chopped
4 carrots, sliced
5 garlic cloves, minced
1-2 cups chopped kale (or collard greens or chard), chopped into bite size pieces
2TBS chopped fresh thyme
1 TBS chopped fresh rosemary
1-2 chicken breast, cut into bite sized pieces
1/2 cup barley (you could use any grain you have--maybe wild rice or bulgur)
6 cups chicken stock
juice of 1 lemon

saute' in olive oil: leek, carrots, kale, and chicken pieces until onions are tender and chicken begins to brown on the edges
add garlic and herbs, s&p. cook for a few minutes.
add stock, lemon juice, and barley
bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat.
Let simmer on low for a few hours, until the barely is tender.

top with parmesan cheese and enjoy!

other soups with greens:
butterfly soup
chicken and white bean soup

How do YOU eat your greens?

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

dear january

new year's eve
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dear january,
you came in with a bang. well, I guess literally for us, you came in with a sparkle. But you've been absolutely charming and whisked me off my non-snow-booted feet.....what with your 50° sunshiney weather and all.

dear feet,
how much are you LOVING all this non-sock weather!??! It's great!

(ps. dear socks,
I am not a fan of you.
weird, right?)

dear snow,
did I offend you? I sometimes forget to bite my tongue when you stay too long.....but you haven't even come to visit yet?!! (less than 1 inch doesn't count) I'm sorry if I said something wrong. Please feel free to come visit for a little while, so we can go sledding together, and get cozy afterwards. And then you can be on your merry way until next Christmas (we missed you this year).

dear green grass,
as nice as this weather is, I really miss you.

dear school,
you are the WORST. you take my family away from me and leave me with time by myself.

dear time by myself,
when will you learn to be productive? you have a few mornings to yourself, you should probably get stuff done instead of fleeing to the trails.

dear trails,
you are the BEST. Because of the lack of snow (see above letter) I have never experienced you in January. Charly and I are thoroughly enjoying our climbs to your mountain tops each week. 
time wasted? I think not.
dear charly,
remember when we were running out-of-control-fast down that mountain (arms flailing) and I toooooootally fell. I think if dogs could laugh, you would have laughed. hard.

dear birthday,
you are this month!! be kind to me and leave me with more wisdom than wrinkles this year. 
it's our last year in the twenties......let's make it a good one.

you really inspired me. I want a bug display in my that weird?
don't answer that. I think it's pretty. in a dead-bug-pinned-to-a-board kind of way.
dear garden,
I have been thinking about you a lot these days. About how I want to do things differently.......we didn't really click this last year, did we? I have been looking through seed catalogues and dreaming about the day we will meet again....months from now. Not soon enough.

dear babies,
where do you come from and how can I get one of you to come to my house?

dear mom and dad,
coooooooooommmmmmeeeee baaaaaaaaacccckk!! 
(that is me shouting because you are so far away)
we had fun, even though you cheat at games.

dear february,
you are my least favorite month. let's skip right on to march.

dear soup,
I really really love you. with all of my heart and soul and fiber of my being etc. We recently tried giada's soup (we are on a first name basis) with a few adjustments (less beef, more veggies) and it was a huge hit.

dear mr. martin luther king jr,
thanks for being awesome so we can have a holiday this month.

dear robby,
remember how we stayed up super late every night during vacation watching documentaries and then enjoyed sleeping in every morning. that was fun. let's do it again. soon.

dear full moon + bare trees combo. you are very january-y.
keep up the good work.
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sincerely yours/all my love/your bff/xoxo,

Sunday, January 8, 2012

a small start

here I am......"swinging" into the new year......bwahahahaha
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One week into the year! 

Twenty Twelve they are calling it. 

I remember Y2K like it was yesterday, and I just accidentally dated a bill 2003, so it boggles my mind that it is know, the year the world is ending, and stuff. 

Did you make big resolutions? Have you kept them for the past week? 
I think as a "blogger", it is my duty to make one of my first posts of the year all about the goals I want to set......but I have never been big on setting goals at the start of the New Year....borrrrring. 

blog fail.

But over the last year I have made a few small changes that I would like to share with you.

blog redeem.

I have stopped reading blogs.

(record screeches to a halt!!!!)

What!? Not read blogs?! Isn't that what life is all about? it IS the end of the world!

Well, not completely......I still check in with friend and family blogs so I can stay up to date on their adorable children. I have a few favorite photo/travel/food blogs that I love to drool over the photos (because who doesn't?) 

But I have really whittled down my list. For the most part, I find that too many blogs, no matter how adorable or fashionable or creative or popular or absolutely wonderful they may be......they are in no way contributing to a better lifestyle for me. What I get out of them is that I am not doing enough crafts, throwing enough parties with all my fancy friends, wearing a new outfit in every photo I take of myself, dressing my kids adorably enough, wearing my hair pretty enough and making a tutorial of how I made it so impossibly pretty, living in a fancy enough house, organizing every corner of my life, hand making paper for handmade invitations for a handmade birthday party for my baby that isn't born yet, etc. etc. etc. 


So I pulled the plug. 

Every year at this time of year I wonder why I blog. What a silly thing to do, and why would anyone care what I have to say? But I have made some fantastic new friends with similar interests over the past few years, all because of this tiny little corner of the internet....and I LOVE that! I have found that I love having a place to share my passion for food, living healthy (and making cake), being a mom, exploring outside, and just my general enjoyment of the small things in life. I want to spend my hours living my life and doing things with with my family, not working on trendy new blog worthy content.
That is not living.

All of our lives are full of so many tiny things. I think it is too easy to forget how important these tiny things are when we are constantly bombarded with perfection and grandness all around us.

 I love this quote:

"The art of being happy lies in the power of extracting happiness from common things"
-Henry Ward Beecher

I try so hard to do this every day.
Life is busy and crazy and fast paced.
But every day I try to look for all the little things around me. 
They are the big things.
dance parties in the kitchen.
little hands making messy sandwiches.
a sun ripened tomato. 
warm bread.
a run.
a nap.
little things. real things. life.
These are the things I hope I can share with you.
From the food we eat to the mountains we climb, and all the tiniest in-betweens.

We ended our 2011 with two hikes in one week.......could I go on and on and on about this crazy amazing weather? YES!
hike #1. neffs canyon. 50°. slushy trail. rope swing. frozen creek.
decemberhike14 copydecemberhike3 copydecemberhike4 copydecemberhike6 copydecemberhike7 copydecemberhike8 copydecemberhike9 copy
On New Year's Eve we headed out in the sunshine for a few hours to admire the mountains we live in.
We came home for cocoa, we rolled sushi for the first time (fun!), ran around with sparklers, and watched a movie--the four of us together on the couch. 
We spent New Years Day eating soup and ice cream (contradicting?), playing Uno and a [very heated] game of Monopoly. 
What a perfectly simple way to start the year. 
hike #2. corner canyon. new year's eve 2011.
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Here is to a happy year, full of the littlest of things.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The Food of 2011

Happy New Year!
I'm so excited for this brand new year and all it will bring!

I love looking back over last year as a whole and thinking about all we've accomplished/enjoyed/endured/overcome/explored/eaten/on and on and on.
It was a very, very good year.

Here is a little peek at some of my favorite food from the year.
I had to laugh as I went though and picked out my favorite photos.....most of them are dessert! And I promised you a healthy start to the new year-ha! It's just that I LOVE photographing desserts--I have more time to set them up and make them pretty, rather than dinner where we are all in a hurry to eat it hot. 
So here are some of my best shots from our year in food......
chicken and bulgur stewangel food cakestrawberryleather8 copychocolate and coconut cakerufflecake copyalmond butterwhole wheat strawberry pancakesbreakfast.baked frittatachocolate dipped bananassummerlayer after layer.whole wheat naantomatoes on toastblack raspberry icecreamdouble chocolate ice cream with peanut butter swirlspeach jamwhole wheat english muffins...pumpkin pancakesoatmeal cookietomatos3 copyhomemade granolaveggie soupcpbread3 copybrown butter chocolate chip cookiespeppermint icecream copysnowballs7 copytoffee8 copyhow to eat a pomegranatechocolate orange layer cake copy
chicken and bulgur stew, angel food cake, strawberry leather, chocolate and coconut milk cake, chocolate cake with strawberry buttercream, almond butter , whole wheat strawberry pancakes, raw oatmeal, pasta with arugula pesto and spring veggies, baked frittata with tomatoes and goat cheese, chocolate dipped bananas, fresh fruit and yogurt popsicles, chocolate layer cake with whipped vanilla cream and raspberries, summer burger, whole wheat naan with chicken and veggies, goat cheese and tomato on toast, black raspberry and chocolate chunk ice cream, double chocolate ice cream with peanut butter swirls, peach jam, english muffins, roasted butternut squash and sweet potato soup, whole wheat pumpkin pancakes, chocolate chip oatmeal cookies, sun dried tomatoes, cinnamon granola, butterfly soup, cinnamon swirl bread, brown butter chocolate chip cookies, candy cane ice cream, snowballs, english toffee, pomegranate, chocolate and orange layer cake