24 November 2014


This cabin was full of hands-on kid activities. Like this "raised bed" where you could plant/dig up wooden vegetables. But really it was for flinging dirt at each other as you try to wield the spades and hoes -you know. 

2014 week forty-seven

Nothing like a trip to a log cabin village to get you in the Autumn spirit.

Watching a demonstration of how people used to drill things. I felt like Arthur Weasely. I kept wanting to say, "It's amazing what these people would think of to get by without using magic electricity!"

In the school house. There was a printed set of rules for pupils and teachers. My favorite was if a man got shaved in a barbershop  his morals, intentions, and integrity would be called into question.

Outside the gristmill. 

Foggy morning at the park.

Drinking Mama's delicious soup as fast as she could. Notice the neglected spoon.

This week I have a recipe for you.

Apple Butternut Squash Soup

Before you get all huffy and look at me like I'm trying to get you to believe that quinoa kale burgers are the best, stop. Read the ingredients and make this soup. Or make it sometime when you're starving and all you have is a butternut squash that you bought with the best unfulfilled intentions and an apple. You'll thank me. And if you have a toddler or baby, they'll probably thank me too.

Apple Butternut Squash Soup

1/2 apple peeled, cored, chopped
1/2 butternut squash peeled, seeded, chopped (roughly the same size chops as the apple)
2 tbsp butter
1/2 onion chopped
3 cups chicken or vegetable broth/stock/bouillon (I wont get on your case about which is best)
salt and pepper
1/4 cup sour cream
drizzle of honey (optional)

Peel and chop your apple and butternut squash. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium high heat and add chopped onions, stir until softened but not browned 3 minutes. Add the butternut squash and stir around occasionally for about 5 ish minutes or so. Add apples. Stir around for another couple minutes. Add your broth and bring to a boil. Simmer until apples and squash are soft and falling apart. 5-10 minutes. Puree in blender or with an immersion blender (which I regrettably do not own). Stir in salt and pepper to taste. Stir in sour cream. Serve with or without a small drizzle of honey.

Conversely, you do not have to puree it if your husband, like mine, gags on pureed soups because they make him think of baby food.

Eat (or drink straight from the bowl) with hot crispy bread or crackers. A delicious and warm autumn soup. And a really great baby food. If you want to make this for babies you can omit most of the butter, sour cream, salt, pepper, and honey. They will love it.                                  

17 November 2014


Last minute mulch purchase to protect my plants from the 21 degree night ahead!

2014 week forty-six

Aaaaaaaand, it is suddenly winter here in North Texas.

At the mall, which is apparently Christmas heaven already. The entire time, "Light! Light! Light! Light!" Except in Old Navy when the tune turned to, "Dog? I no know?!" Some Old Navy's have dog mannequins, but not this one and that was Distressing.

Fall cleaning surfaces really fun toys like this cake-stand turned baby merry-go-round. Pardon the no pants, we were toilet training.

Going on a walk. She loves these gloves. I gave up trying to knit some that would fit her and not be too bulky. Michael's had these for $1, so whatever. At least the hat and scarf are hand knitted. Because I know you're all keeping track.

Another cold walk to avoid further tantrums. 

Happiness is your first Chick-fil-A, if you didn't know. 

It was so cold this week. I'm not even exaggerating! COLD! Like nights in the 20s arctic wind, highs in the 30s-40s, cold. We woke up to powdered sugar snow. In November! I love it. I listened to one Christmas album. That's all I could take before I felt the Thanksgiving guilt sneaking in. I love being bundled up and feeling real seasons. Bring on the coldest winter ever (according the the Farmer's Almanac)!

I have no good stories this week. But the other night I noticed Matt had pushed all the pillows to my side. I asked him why he was offering me so many. Apparently it's because I'm a "thousand-pillow wife." True love. :)

Everything froze so I stripped my cucumber and bean plants this week. We had homemade refrigerator pickles with our roast beast last night. Delicious.  I'll share our refrigerator pickle recipe.

1/2 cup vinegar (any kind, white or red are best)
3/4 cup rice wine vinegar (or apple cider)
1/2 cup sugar
tbsp pickling spices
fresh cucumbers sliced or whole.

Put the cucumbers in a bowl. Bring other ingredients to a boil in a small saucepan. Pour over cucumbers, bring to room temperature and then refrigerate until ready to eat.

The same pickling brine can be used for any veg you want. Really good for pickling onions for sandwiches.

I got crazy with fall cleaning this year and purged every counter, closet, cupboard, cranny. EVERYTHING was purged and cleaned. It feels so good and fresh in here now. Ready for winter. Pass the apple chips and hot cocoa now please.

As a note, yes we are "toilet training" but we've been toilet training her whole life, so all it means now is periodically she goes pantless when we're at home to encourage her to say something before she goes. Knock on wood, she has been dry for 2 whole days now and verbally telling us when she has to go! Hooray! My flexible goal is to be in panties by Christmas. We'll see.

Happy Monday, stay warm!

10 November 2014


This girl is so happy nearly all the time. She was just splashing water off of a chair at the park, but look at that joy!

2014 week forty-five

You guys. It's almost Christmas season! I will admit I did not skip over O Little Town of Bethlehem when it popped up on my shuffle. And down here in Texas it feels very much like Christmas weather, socks in the house, sweaters and scarves and a high of 65 :)

We went for a windy rainy walk and left the wild thing cat outside the whole time. She was a lot more humble when we got back. V loves going for walks and pointing to the airplanes and picking up leaves, and making bird sounds. Outside is her best side.

I took a bath after a trying afternoon. This stink bug kept asking to get in. I kept saying "no." When I got out to dry off, she jumped into the draining bath water as fast as she could. She loves baths and any sort of body of water, including purposefully spilled water from her cup. 

Yzma The Beast Creature

Oh dear Pinterest. You inspire unfounded confidence in everyone's DIY skills. Just because one person somewhere made a designer handbag from toothpicks and glitter, or something, does not mean we all can.

On Friday I fell into one of those moods where everything in my house disgusts me, and it is all filthy and cluttered, and how-can-anyone-live-in-such-conditions sort of sentiments. My dear toddler and the daycare baby were soundly sleeping like angels and I took a wrong sort of sideways glance at my oven, and it truly offended me. I saw fingerprints and unidentifiable crusts and the dreaded drips between the glass. I hate those things. How do they get there? Well that sideways glance induced a craze that can only be described in pictures:

Then in my "I can obviously accomplish this" sort of mood I remembered a pin that I saw. I never pinned it, I never even followed the link, I just saw it, and from that once-glanced-at photo that was stored in my brain (my brain that forgot the cat's vet appointment -twice) I knew that I indeed could clean all the things. This was the pin btw:

That's it. With nothing else to go on, I opened the oven and brandished my screwdriver. And this the story of how I nearly broke the oven.

I opened the oven door, which promptly fell apart in about 5 layers of "what on earth?". Then I cleaned the glass, because that is what I was here for! Then I spent 45 minutes trying to figure out how each layer of "what on earth" fit back together with the oven door hanging half open. Then I started to panic.

Luckily I live in an age where I am not required to rely on my own set of skills or another's particular set of skills. I have Youtube. And Youtube has at least 400 videos dedicated to trained professionals telling me I can reassemble my oven door and never have to pay them a cent. It turns out I had to completely take the oven door off of the oven and lay it all out on the living room floor.

10 video views, 3 hours, 7 slices to my hands and fingers, 1 really audible swear that Vera proceeded to repeat for the rest of the day (chagrin) later; I reassembled that oven 6 freaking times before I realized what I was doing wrong. And then when I finally got it all together I thought I broke the oven hinge (insert the swear word here). But the good news is that I got the oven door back together AND back on properly, I was able to fix it in time to bake the bread for our dinner, I only got a little bit of fiberglass in my hands (still itchy) and I know how to assemble an oven door now (and I didn't pay in cash, only tears and begged prayers).

The bad news is, after trying for so long to get the oven back together, the inner glass got dirty and smudged.

03 November 2014


Me and The Kragle at our ward trunk-or-treat. The glow stick was V's highlight.

2014 week forty-four

Halloween week and, what's this?, cool weather! Hooray for long-sleeved shirts!

I suddenly have a toddler. As she gets older and bigger I love her so much more every day. 

Hooray this cat has no diseases! First Vet visit was a success. She was really sad for the rest of the night though and stayed in this kitten cardboard comfort circle.

All my motherly dreams are coming true: Charlie Brown, Autumn, Hand knitted  sweaters.

When you are in our bathroom, watch out for the cat who hides behind the curtain waiting to attack.

This week was Halloween. We love Halloween. We love making fun costumes and eating candy every day and watching Halloween movies and making donuts for trick-or-treaters. The last two years we have done donuts in my in-law's neighborhood. Last year we went through over 400 donuts. So this year, we decided to do it in our neighborhood to meet some neighbors and bring some fun to our neck of the woods. I spent all day happily cleaning the house, and mixing and cutting out donuts. I cut out and froze over 650 donuts. We had a delicious dinner of a traditional Irish Halloween potato dish (surprise, it was potatoes and cabbage! But you're supposed to leave some out for the fairies, so you know, it was 100% Irish) and trout with mustard and oats. My in-laws brought over the cotton candy machine, we had lights and music and a toddler running around screaming with joy, and were open for business at 630pm. We had 12 trick-or-treaters. 12. We ended up frying up about 75 or so donuts and we ate most of them (they are small, ok?), and left the rest in the freezer. Luckily they keep and are easy to thaw and fry whenever you want, but seriously neighborhood?! Apparently they all ship out to the richer parts of town... Oh well. Next year we'll set up again at the in-laws. In the mean time, anyone want 500 frozen donuts? We ended the night watching the Woman in Black. Yes it was terrifying, yes I dreamt about it all night -though it was a weird hybrid with Downton Abbey, BUT I have the nicest and most conscientious husband who spent the whole movie poking me when to close my eyes, so it wasn't that bad. Until next year October!

In October any wonderful and unexpected thing might be possible -The Witch of Black Bird Pond

31 October 2014


Happy Halloween 2014 from Emmet, Wyldstyle, The Kragle and the Piece de Resistance! (the very unhappy piece de resistance)