Just days away from Christmas. I can't believe it is almost here! Our little elves are buzzing with excitement. We are almost finished with all our projects. I'm loving every minute.
Have a Merry Christmas!
Sitting around the breakfast table this morning the kids and I talked about ways to prepare our hearts for baby Jesus. My task was to patiently complete the day without complaining about all I needed to get accomplished. Let's just say that tomorrow is another day.
Now that most of my gift making is finished I am relaxing more and savoring every moment of the kids' excitement. Tonight we shut off all the lights except for the tree and candles and just cuddled on the couch. Such a cozy season! While we decorate, bake, wrap, and carol, we wish you a happy Advent.
I know it has been a but since I last said hello. But here I am. Welcome back everyone! Let's sit down and get all caught up.
We have been all over the place, it seems. From Ohio to Pennsylvania, Bend to Centralia, we are finally getting everything back in order before Christmas. I love it! Such a cozy time of year.
The quilt pictured above was a last year's birthday/ Christmas gift for a friend of mine. My first quilt ever. I love making handmade items for gifts. It's fun figuring out what suits a person. This year has been a challenge since I have already made everyone just about everything I know how to make. Stay tuned to see how I solve this minor dilemma.
I have been experimenting with a couple recipes around here to incorporate pumpkin into our everyday meals. This morning we had baked oatmeal, and since it turned out to be a hit, I wanted to share it with you.
Pumpkin Baked Oatmeal (adapted from here )
3 c. old-fashioned oats
1 c. brown sugar (you can add less, I thought it was a bit sweet)
2 t. baking powder
2 t. ground cinnamon
1 t. salt
1/2 c. pure pumpkin
1/2 c. butter, melted
2 t. vanilla
3/4 c. dried cranberries
1-2 small apples, peeled and chopped into 1/2 in. cubes
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a large bowl, mix together all the ingredients.
3. Spread into a greased 9x13 pyrex and bake for 40 minutes.
We served ours with a little dash of almond milk. It's so easy; the hardest part was waiting for it to finish baking.
The second recipe we have been tweaking is our pumpkin smoothie. Here's our favorite so far. I usually eyeball things, so these are estimates. You can adjust to taste. This recipe can easily serve 2 adults and 2 kids.
Combine the following in a blender:
1 c. plain Greek yogurt
1 -1 1/2 c. almond milk (or your milk of choice)
2 T. almond butter
1/2 c. pure pumkin
1/8 c. ground flax seed
2 t. molasses
3 ice cubes
Mix all ingredients until well blended. You can sprinkle a little cinnamon and nutmeg on top if you prefer. A flexy straw is optional, but I think it makes it taste even better. If you have a favorite smoothie recipe for this time of year, please send it along to share!
We have had a small share of "ouchies" around here lately. Things can always be much worse, I know, and a few trips to the doctor and hospital make me all the more grateful for health and family. I'll be honest, though. Anyone who knows me can testify that I tend to stress a bit. So for an outlet I have been spending time at the sewing station. Tonight, however, is my turn to be laid up with an ouchie. Instead of creating I browsed for some inspiration. Of various kinds.
We are fortunate enough to sit together for most of our meals. Our conversation usually goes a little something like this:
Child 1: "Can I have more water Mama?"
Child 2 is pulling off her bib and I trade it out for a buttoned bib. Problem solved.
Child 3: "Is there anything else? This is not my favorite."
Mom: "This is what is for dinner. I can get you more of whatever it is we are eating after I get Child 1 some water. Just a minute. And how is everyone's day going? Look at the squirrel out back!"
All this while Child 2 is standing in her seat.
I love taking time to enjoy some time around our small table, especially this time of year. Last night I got to make Taco Pie for dinner and Apple Crisp for desert. Comfort food. And I wanted dinner to be just as comfortable where we could all sit (and I mean sit) through a meal and enjoy each others' company. The kids were so excited to help prepare the meal. We made sure to have everything set out on the table, with extras, so no one would have to leave the table until we were finished. It was wonderful. That's why we are committing to making Sunday meals extra special with a few added details. Just like Sundays at Grandpa and Grandma's farm when I grew up. Presentation and lingering conversation. It is Sunday after all. Don't rush to clean up right away. Relax. It's fall.
We spent last weekend in Port Townsend enjoying these amazing views. I haven't been this attached to a place since we discovered Lake Takhlakh years ago. I can't wait to get back and explore all the places around this area. If I ever had the money to buy a vacation home...
Welcome back pumpkin spice chai lattes and reading by the fire. Greetings corn mazes and fresh school supplies. I've missed you pumpkin pancakes and chili. The only thing that causes a moment's hesitation concerning the onset of fall is rain, and lots of it. Here in the Pacific Northwest, you need rain gear to make it through the season. This year I am determined to get a pair of boots so my toes can stay dry. I have not bought a new rain coat since I was sixteen and pushing carts at Safeway. At 6 a.m. in the rain. What a way to greet the day!
On my list this fall? A new rain coat, large umbrella, boots for all, and a cup of tea to keep you warm when you come in from the rain. Cozy warm.
Being a mom means being flexible. Take this week for instance. I just finished rearranging the kids' rooms this week only to discover the need to change things again. Our nine month old needs her own room so she ( and by she I mean the entire family) can sleep better through the night. The solution? Bunk beds. We own a three bedroom home, which means the older two will be sharing and the baby will move from our room into her own. Until we need to change things again, that is.
One more thing about being flexible. I intended to share photos of our kitchen, but those pics are patiently waiting on my laptop which is sitting in a shop. Until they return, check out this kitchen. The paint on the top set of cabinets (Gray Cashmere by Benjamin Moore) is one of my top picks so far. In our space it looks like a blue, gray, green. It's interesting.