Sunday, January 31, 2016

Weekend in a Capsule

As I sit here trying to come up with the opening to this post, I start to jot down words as they come to mind.   Simple, intentional, classic, breathe, learn, whole, healthy, sustainable, movement, thoughtful, aware.  These words come to mind at the end of a busy weekend, taken up in part by purging our closets.  It is amazing how light you can feel when you let go of stuff.   As I mentioned, I have found a lot of great ideas amongst my reading of late, one intriguing thought was about creating a Capsule Wardrobe.  Once I read about the idea I began to research it.  My favorite interpretation is one that just clicked with me when I read through her process.  Today, I am down to 35 total clothing items in my capsule sans workout and sleep/lounge ware which combined share a mid sized dresser drawer.  Our closet is now a mere fraction of what it was and we have several empty dresser drawers to boot!  I now know the very few things that I need to round out my essentials, and will invest in good quality items so they last.  The theory behind the capsule wardrobe is to have a handful of pieces that you love, can mix and match and then change it up seasonally. The result is spending less time and money.  No longer will you be stuffing your closet full of deals too good to pass up or an excess of impulse items that you may only wear once, and then forget about.  So phase one is done, now we shall see how this new method works!  When was the last time you took a hard look at your closet?

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Finding My Tribe and Weekly Randoms

It seems with the somewhat slower pace of cold weather, I have had the time to focus on some more reading.  I finally seem to have gotten my book reading mojo back after a bit of a slump, and I also have had a good run coming across great articles, recipes and ideas online.  As new graduates we found ourselves with first jobs in Las Vegas and tried to make it our home for eight years.  It was the perfect place to live for young people just getting started and at the time of Vegas' evolution that we were there.  One thing that plagued us though was how difficult it seemed to be to meet and make close friends.  We were coming off of our college experience when friends would always just be dropping by and it was a bit of a letdown.  Maybe it was the more transient nature of the location, but not knowing or being able to confirm that, we did not really set expectations on ever having a tribe.  Now after almost fifteen years in Wisconsin we are more fortunate than I could ever have imagined.  Not only do we have a tribe of families we are very close to, but I am part of a group of amazing and dynamic women in our town who are all vital, engaged and tremendously supportive.  I began thinking about this in depth when I came across this fantastic article from the Rebelle Society, well worth the read!

Also check out~

:: So often I see recipes for healthy breakfast bars and cookies and am disappointed once I have made them, they tend to be good for you, yes, but also dry and tasteless. I decided to give it another try when I came across this recipe, and they are fantastic!  Super easy, versatile, healthy and something the kids are eagerly asking for!

:: I love this list of 22 Tiny Things You Should Do Everyday, there is not a bad tip there and very simple things to remember in order to get the most out of each day.

:: Bi Partisan Food for Thought:   A Psychologists Open Letter to US Voters

:: Have you  heard about the Capsule Wardrobe?  I think I may just have to look into this!

What fun things have you found this week?

Sunday, January 17, 2016


Our coldest day thus far this winter will be spent indoors.  The curtains are drawn, candles glowing and we are surrounded by movies, games, good food and the catalogs that have begun to descend upon us.  As we have had our chickens for a number of years and not added any new hens to our flock in two seasons, our egg production seems to be dropping off most dramatically since the cold weather began.  Though we will not cull any of our hens who have worked hard for us, it is time to sincerely think about adding layers to our shipment of birds this year.  As we looked through the catalog we grew reminiscent of the early days when Sid had her 'boutique' chickens for show. Though show is probably not in our avian future, she simply lit up at the prospect of a couple of Silkie chicks being added to the hen house as mascots.  Topaz was her blue ribbon winner, friend and followed us all diligently though the garden.  It will be nice to see a couple of fluffy chickens around again.

We will be ordering a couple of packages of bees this year as we have gone the last season with just the one hive.  If you recall, we did capture a swarm with one of B's bait hives last year, but we combined its population into the existing one that we had.  Though going into winter it is still robust, I do not think we are going to wait on the chance of our bait hives for another swarm.

The above photo is a little experiment that B has done this weekend after reading how to make alternative heat sources.  Those votives do a fantastic job of heating that crock into the perfect little space heater for putting up your feet on a cold day.  The promise of spring, though distant, can be felt with seed catalogs arriving and livestock orders on the horizon, and oh well planning to inseminate Mabel leaves us also with the promise of piglets not long after chicks arrive.   As we warm our little homestead it will soon be replenished with young life, and what better time to be planning it than on the coldest of days.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016


I grew up in a football family.  We had season tickets to the Rams and did not miss a home game.  The football culture in Los Angeles was rich.  Sunday's began with brunch in the stadium club, followed by the game, and then afterwords, back to the club to watch the cheerleaders and listen to the coach re-cap.  

We lost grandpa a year ago this week, and I eulogized here about his special voice.  As I was wrapped up in memories this morning, I did a little sound-check (as I do every so often with all of my grandparents), and I could still hear his voice loud and clear.  This mornings sound-check included a vivid memory of a stadium full of fans swaying from side to side chanting  E - v - e - r - e - t - t   in welcoming our new quarterback, oh so many years ago.  No ones voice was more clear to me then or now as grandpas.  I think this morning especially he is smiling down seeing that his precious Rams are headed home.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Winter's Arrival

With our Spring-like winter thus far, it was nice to wake up this morning to a light dusting of snow clinging to the landscape of the homestead.  Do not let the clear sky and bright sun rising fool you. Today, for the first time this season our temperatures are falling and it is truly cold.  It was a perfect morning for moving slowly and binge watching a little Mozart in the Jungle.

The girls have been completely non plussed by the ice turned slush on the ground this week.  They love to root around in it to the dirt below.  With frigid temperatures forecast for most of the next week B and I mucked out their indoor pen yesterday and bedded it down with a couple of bales of fresh dry straw.  I have got to say it was good to be back out in the yard doing something physical.  We are months from the growing season, but it was nice to have a big job to get the heart pumping.

There were lots of happy pig sounds when they were let back in and started to spread out and roll in their new straw.  I swear pigs are really just 400 pound dogs!  We will be inseminating Mabel in about two weeks, so once spring truly is here there will be babies on the farm!

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

January Randoms

Is it just me or is it already flying?  Even though it is the first week of January, life just didn't miss a beat.  School is back in session, work busy, spring soccer practice started; it really feels like we hit the ground running.  In the last few days a flurry of invitations and RSVP's for events over the next several months are already filling the calendar!

The winter TV season is just starting and I felt child-like excitement with the airing of Sherlock and of course Downton this past weekend.   B and I also just started watching an Amazon exclusive Mozart in the Jungle...if you have not heard about this or seen it yet, do it.  Definitely binge worthy!

For this year's Goodreads reading challenge I let up on my expectation of myself a bit.  In 2015 I started the year fairly strong, but then transitioned to reading a few more biographies and histories which I just can't seem to get the fire to read fast.  I am hoping to finish those that I have started this month, then get lost in some good historical fiction again.

With our trip to Spain coming up, I keep looking for different ideas to make the travel easy, so we can immerse ourselves. It's just the list maker and planner in me.  Do I bring my DSLR or rely on my iPhone 6?  It seems like that should be a no brainer until I think about carrying it around and getting it in and out of my bag.  Decisions, decisions....and total first world problems, I know.  I did find the most perfect bag on a crazy good sale at year end.  The Jetsetter Mini Convertible Backpack, came earlier this week, and it exceeded my expectations.  The perfect size, roomy but not too big and it converts from a backpack to a cross body and can easily be used as a shoulder bag too.  I am glad that I took advantage at it when it was on sale or I would never have even looked at it.

In December after over 20 years of contemplation I got my first tattoo!  I know, crazy hugh!?  My SIL was in town so able to come with me.  Sidney drew the artwork and I was able to incorporate each of the kids signatures.  Very special and I love it!!

Well I suppose that is enough randomness for this morning.  Has your January kicked off as fast as mine has?

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Food & Family = Home

As always our New Year began with our Tastebuds preparing brunch together.  This year was a bit bittersweet as there was a hole in our gathering without our dear friends who moved last summer.  It was a relaxed day with quiet conversations, kids playing, and food preparation.  We each fell into our roles, prepped food, helped where needed without a word or a need for asking.  It is really interesting how a group can begin to anticipate over the years and just click in place.   It was Mastering the Art of French Cooking (as we had all watched in the movie Julie and Julia), that had inspired our group to begin with oh so many years ago.  So we always begin each new year with Julia's Formage Souffle.

Our theme for the brunch was food as good luck symbols for the new year.  We had a pulled pork with chipotle apple butter panini, cheesy polenta topped with collard greens and lentils, oyster hush puppies, and finished with eating 12 grapes and molten chocolate cakes.

I transitioned the house from being peppered with holiday cheer, to warmed with winter white candlelight.  The trees are down, and only a few snowmen and white glittered pine cones sparkle in the flickering light.  There is a clean simplicity that happens when you transition into the new year, one that has many blank pages to be colored on and written in.   For me, home is comfort.  It is filled with food and laughter and always has family, of all stripes, at its center.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Happy 2016 in One Word

First of all Happy New Year!  Each year I pick one word that will be a theme or reflection point for the year.  So, as I was thinking about what that one word would be I was rather frustrated that one word felt so limiting.  Then I decided to check out the thesaurus, and realized that any word that I chose would have a number of meanings.  One of my favorite movies is The Holiday.  It has become a tradition for our family to watch it each year when we are in California for Christmas.  I kept flashing to one scene in the movie and decided that my word for the year would be...


noun nerve, initiative
As you can see a single word can encompass a number of meanings.  For me the energy, sense of spirit and strength that the word Gumption possesses is perfect for the first page of a brand new 365 page book.  What one word will you pick for 2016?


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