Even though there is still snow on the ground there is an excitement in the air. Excitement for the possibilities that only spring can provide. My dining room table turned into a project table filled with seeds, notes, ribbons, labels, old photos and papers of all sorts. Sorting, crafting and planning- we’re all energized for warmer weather over here and for the weekend in general. Here are some borrowed words to celebrate spring, to excite the gardener in you and to add beauty to your day.Read More
Hello March! I cannot believe you’re already here. This season of my life is just passing so quickly. Winter is passing in a flash. As my memory isn’t quite as good as I had hoped it would be, I have developed a strong urge to document. I take photographs and videos with the intention of turning them into photo books and a monthly video (so far, I am 4 years behind on the printed photo books and I make 1-2 videos per year for special occasions). Special moments are recorded in messy scrolls in baby books. I write shorthand in my journal to clear my mind.
As I mentioned in a post waaaay back in January, I also took the time this year to record reflections from 2018 and directions for 2019. It was a process that was new to me and I am already seeing the benefits of completing the exercise. I have found that the seed is set when I record an intention. It seems that information gets organized in the brain or body so that a person becomes more open to seeing things from a different angle or perhaps notices things that he or she wouldn’t have noticed otherwise. Focus becomes a given as the universe provides. This has been the case for me from reading, physical activity and career perspective.
My bedside table is filled with books that I have begun. I would secretly enjoy providing a lengthy and accurate answer to the commonly asked question in “By the Book” New York Times Book Review section of “What books are on your nightstand?” The ones that I have actually finished (and enjoyed) are:
As I write this blog post, the snow continues dance outside my window. I can hear the windchimes in the backyard. A neighbour is outside shovelling. I’m cozy and warm within the shelter of these thick, limestone walls. I’m humbled by the age of my home, by the storms it has endured and yet, how it still solidly stands over 150 years after it was constructed. There parts of it that need care, storm windows to be restored and a roof that needs repair in the spring, but it we’ll make it through the winter. The home must have so much history locked away within these walls. Stories to tell about the people and families who lived here before me. Who were they? Has there always been a piano in the front room? When was the kitchen moved from the basement to the first floor? Did children feel safe to play in the streets outside?
My February musings. I’m not sure I’ll figure out the past, but I keep my listening ears ready for the stories of the people that surround me. I record my children’s stories and the ones that were told over the holidays. I’m listening more than ever before and reading more than I have in years. It takes practice and I know my winter rhythm will change when the snow melts and everything is green once again. But in this moment, I am content.Read More
Welcome 2019! Happy belated New Year, readers!
It’s hard to believe that we’re already halfway through January. I’ve been taking my time to write this blog post because I’ve been focusing on planning and getting off to the right start for myself and my family. Also, my writing flow is rusty as it was put to the side too often in the second half of the past year.
Goodbye 2018. It was a year of intense and beautiful growth for my family. There were a lot of firsts, first steps, first piano lesson, first skate. It was the year that we turned our old house into our home. The year that I healed my knee and made small steps forward in my photography. I’ve written this before, but I find it difficult to move on when I’ve had an enjoyable time. There is so much to be thankful for and so many fleeting moments. I was the child who never wanted summer to end and as an adult, I want my vacations to last longer, to spend extra time with my kiddos as babes, toddlers and all of the wonderful childhood stages and also, to have that extra piece of pie and be the last person at my best friend’s party. 2018 was a wonderful year and in order to let it go, I’ve started something new. I recently went through a thorough reflection process for 2018. It occurred over the period of a week and involved pages and pages of writing in my black leather catchall book for recipes, dreams and plans. The writing process was both cathartic and served as a method to be accountable to myself. In retrospect, I should have been doing this for years, but I had to get over the hurdle of feeling like I was wasting time.
In reality, I have wasted time spinning my wheels. Being indecisive and uncertain. Afraid to make a mistake I suppose. In this state of unawareness, it is not fully possible to “live in the moment” as we’re encouraged to do. And really, I could continue on this way. It is easy to put off dreams for the future or to claim that now is not the right time especially in the throes of early motherhood. Being busy and tired does make it difficult to focus. I’ve finally realized, 6.5 years after becoming a mother for the first time, that it takes a different strategy to make things happen, it takes thoughtful planning.
I’ve been absent as of late. From a work perspective, I have focused on writing in both the technical and personal realm. In addition, I have been actively following my desire (need?) to further reduce my screen time and ultimately spend more one-on-one time with my children. I still love my little space in this growing community but have moved into a less prescriptive posting schedule (more on letting things go, here). I’m back today as I couldn’t miss the opportunity to write about Christmas cookies.
The first cookie recipe that I always bake during the lead-up to Christmas is shortbread. I consider the humble shortbread to be the most important cookie on the cookie tray. The buttery, crumbly texture as well as the not overly sweet taste make it an immensely satisfying cookie. I’ve graduated from decorating the cookies with sprinkles (sprinkles are for sugar cookies and party cakes) to simply sprinkling sugar on top and occasionally adding dried flowers. With so few ingredients in the recipe, it is essential to buy fresh ingredients. If you do not usually bake, do not use the flour that you bought last year at this time. Toss it and buy a fresh bag. It makes the world of a difference.Read More
Autumn seems to have snuck up on me this year. It feels as though I’ve gone from breezy summer days to sweater + coat + hat weather overnight. Nothing gets me going though like pumpkin season though. And really, I have to give the credit to Sara Cornelius, of the blog Cake Over Steak, who has organized the #virtualpumpkinparty since 2015. Every year, bloggers enter their pumpkin recipes and we celebrate the hype of the season. It is a once a year gathering of a large community of enthusiastic cooks and bakers. I encourage you to view some of these gorgeous fall recipes by clicking over to Virtual Pumpkin Party.
Part of my New Years goals were to slow down and try to simplify my life. On my blog, this means that my recipes have become less fussy and hopefully, more approachable. I like to think that this pumpkin loaf is easy to put together but offers something that elevates it. In this case, the addition of molasses makes the bread richer and the vanilla glaze adds a touch of sweetness and more beauty to a somewhat humble bread.Read More