Friday, November 9, 2012


We are well into fall around here and I am loving every minute of my favorite season of the year.  Cooler weather and leaves changing colors mean more time outdoors for our family.  Pumpkin has begun to once again find its way into many of our baked goods and eating them under a big blue sky makes them that much better. A trip to a local pumpkin patch was a recent field trip for my little 6 year old filled with lots of hay, best friends, and pumpkins for our doorstep. Oh, and soups galore have made their way onto our table to help warm us up from several recent weekend cold snaps.  Yes fall is in the air and we are doing all we can to try and keep it from passing by too quickly.  Wishing you all a wonderful weekend!

*For those who might ask here is the Chicken Quinoa Soup (pictured above) recipe from Big Oven...


2 tablespoonsolive oil
1/2 cupcarrots; chopped, optional.
1/2 cupcelery; chopped
1/2 cuponions; chopped
2 cupswater
3 cupschicken broth or stock
1/2 cupquinoa; rinsed
2 cupschicken; cooked and diced
1/4 cupparsley; chopped fine
1/2 teaspoongarlic powder
1/2 teaspoonfresh black pepper
1/2 teaspoonSalt


In a large saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add ½ cup chopped carrots, ½ cup chopped celery, and ½ cup chopped onions or scallions to the heated oil and fry for about 5 minutes or until the vegetables just start to brown. Stir in 2 cups of water and 3 cups of chicken stock or broth and bring to a boil. Stir in ½ cup of rinsed quinoa, 2 cups of cooked and diced chicken, ¼ cup finely chopped parsley, ½ teaspoon garlic powder, ½ teaspoon black pepper, and ½ teaspoon salt. Cover the pan, reduce the heat to low, and cook for 20 minutes. Adjust the seasoning if necessary and serve. This recipe yields approximately 8 one-cup servings.

Friday, November 2, 2012

{this moment}

{this moment}

A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. Hosted by soulemama.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Farewell September

What a whirlwind of a month!  Adjusting to school, the beginning of dance classes and piano lessons, first tests, allergy flareups, and all things in between have kept us quite busy.  Thankfully home has been a bit of a respite from the hectic pace of life on the outside.

Here is a little of what our September held around the house...

* Accomplishing little house projects that have been a long time coming like painting our back doors and installing new hardware.

* Harvesting our okra that is still growing with gusto.

* Using some of the applesauce that we canned at the end of the summer for some fall baking.

* Continuing to appreciate the end of summer peaches in some yummy fruit leather made in our kitchen.

* Appreciating little hands that help with some housework while she and I are at home together.

* Loving the play that comes when she has had enough and she looks up at me and says "Come on Mommy it is time for a break" :)

Hope you had a great September!

Wee K begins!

Can someone please tell me where September has gone?  Obviously little time has been spent here at the computer and so I have some backtracking to do with my blog posts.

Hannah was not the only one around here to start school recently.  Several weeks after Hannah started 1st grade Lily began her first days at the Our Lady of Sorrows School.

This is such a big deal to us all but, as you can tell by her big smiles, no one was more excited than Lily.  She is now a part of the real school that she visited many days a week for the past several years of her life to pick up and drop off her sister.  I have to say though that this excited feeling was mutual for Hannah.  The two of them spent much time in discussion of the possibility that they might see each other in the hall.  Lily is only in school 2 days a week and the Wee K program is somewhat separated from the rest of the school but each week they do go to the library and music in the main school. This means, as my girls have figured out, that there is a small chance that they might bump in to each other in the hall.  It actually happened the other day and when I picked them up the first thing out of each one of their mouths was that they saw each other AT SCHOOL!!  :)  Oh the fun and excitement!

As I am typing this and looking at the picture of Lily walking up those steps by herself I have to say it seems like just yesterday that I was carrying Lily on my hip up those same steps to drop her sister off.  Time goes by so quickly and it is a wee bit bittersweet.

My little Lily you are growing up so fast...I love the joy and determination that is at the center of who you are and I am so proud of the big girl that you are becoming.  I love you so very, very much - Mommy

Friday, September 14, 2012

{this moment}

{this moment}

A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. Hosted by soulemama.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

This morning

Lily and I were the first ones up this morning.  We decided to let the others sleep in a bit and slip outside to the porch to watch the rain that was steadily coming down.  Lily brought along a book and an umbrella (just in case there was a puddle that she needed to jump in) and I brought my cup of tea.  The stillness of the morning is always so nice, especially when the pitter-pat of rain is added.  It was a good start to the day.

Friday, August 17, 2012

{this moment}

{this moment}

A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. Hosted by soulemama.

Monday, August 13, 2012

1st grade begins!

Today summer ended for my little (or should I say big) 6 year old and first grade began.  Our past week has been filled with the busyness of buying new shoes, making sure uniforms still fit, finishing up a summer book report and trying to figure out if there is anyway to make summer last just a bit longer.  In between all of that we also got to meet Hannah's new teacher and see her classroom in preparation for this big day.

This year the eve of Hannah's first day of school was marked with a little gift to open before bedtime.  Our nighttime routine always involves reading a book before bed and so last night she had a new story to listen to, Amelia Bedelia's First Day of School.  It came with a little inscription to remind her of the first time we read this book together. 

This morning came quite early.  I say that because I am still getting used to the school routine of getting up before everyone to make sure that snacks and lunches are packed, breakfast is made and things are in order ready for the day ahead.  Have I mentioned I love lazy summer mornings and I miss them already?

Everything was set out the night before and ready for Hannah to get dressed and out the door.  Cinnamon rolls were on the breakfast menu by request and so thankfully I put those in the refrigerator to rise yesterday.  This morning all that was left to do was pop them in the oven and make the icing.  I love a good make ahead recipe.

All this was done ahead of time so that we would have time for some before school photos when we were dressed, fed and ready to go.

Thankfully these first three days of school are half days so Hannah is home with me and having a little quiet time with Lily as I am writing this.  I picked her up after school today and listened to her excitedly tell me of new friends, recess and storytime.  We are off to a good start and it sounds like it is going to be a great year.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

To the Mountains

Last week we left city life and headed up to Blue Ridge Mountains with Matt's parents and his aunt Margaret.  Our little cabin in the woods had a beautiful porch and beautiful mountain views.

We were surrounded in every direction by woods and the dirt road that led up to the driveway of our house was a bit daunting with it's steep incline.  Our first morning in the mountains we were greeted by a black bear sniffing around the outside of our house.  After spotting us he quickly wandered back in to the woods but later we saw him again walking down our driveway.

Hannah and Lily loved that the other face that welcomed them to our cabin was this one on a tree outside the back door.

Most any time of the day that we were home someone was outside on the porch enjoying the cooler temperatures and beautiful views.  My favorite time was morning snuggles with my early risers.

Afternoon chats, play time, supper preparations and just sitting with a great book were all good porch activities too.

Our other favorite spot was the firepit right next to our house.  Hannah had been asking me to buy marshmallows at the grocery store weeks before this trip so that we would be prepared for the roasting.  Warm gooey marshmallows are a definite mountain adventure must.

We did venture away from our mountain home for several fun outings.  Matt found out early on that the road leading to our house connected with some off road trails through the mountains.  His dad came along and we took a good part of a day riding and exploring the woods along narrow, windy gravel roads.

There were many stops along the way for some exploring cliffs, visiting an old cemetary and a picnic in the woods.

After lunch we made our final two stops.  The first was a beautiful lake at the top of the mountain.

Don't you just want to sit on that bench and stay a while?  Oh and did I mention the temperature was probably in the 70s?  Ahhhhhhhhh.  Hannah took some time to stand next to the water and feel the wind while Lily stuck her toes in the water for the fish to nibble.

Our final stop was a mountain waterfall that seemed to be in the middle of nowhere.  The girls got to stretch their legs, get their feet wet again and do a little more exploring.

The day after our trail riding fun we stayed a little closer to home and visited a nearby apple orchard for some early season apple picking.  We visited Mercier Orchard and were able to fill two big bags full of ripe green, red and yellow apples.  When we arrived back at our house Hannah took one of the apples she picked and mmmmmm'd and ummmmmm'd as she ate...finally declaring it was THE best apple she had ever had.  Then she asked when I was going to make her an apple pie, some apple cider and applesauce :).

Our trip was so full and so fun and I am pretty sure that no one wanted to leave.  We packed up a little sad to leave our mountain retreat headed back to the real world.  We are back though and now in full get ready for school mode.  Hannah's first day is Monday and I will be back soon with pictures.  Have a great weekend!