The Butcher

 Last weekend my sister and I took an hour away from the kids and went to wander downtown Petaluma. There is an awesome array of little stores and shops, to include a little butcher shop called Thistle Meats. We were walking on the opposite side of the street and saw their pig out front to indicate that their shop was open. It was Sunday, so many places were closed. We crossed and stood and stared in the window, and were waved in by the friendly folks inside. It was fun. A very open space with their small cases in the front and behind their work area where you can watch them prepping their meats. It was one of those places where you could go and just have a conversation with some nice people. Oh, and buy some really amazing meat. There were things I'd never seen or heard of before. I love places like that.
 It gives me a good opportunity to expand my own knowledge of available foods and to come up with interesting new recipes. And it helps me to stay up to date with a field that I love--Culinary Arts and the Restaurant Industry. I may or may not ever end up back there, but I have a deep love and appreciation for all things food. Perhaps food styling? That would be dreamy.
 A midst the Duck legs and pate, salami's and sausages, there was this meat item I didn't recognize. It was fascinating. Ground meat wrapped in what looked like sausage casing, and flattened like a burger. "Let's try it," said my sister. And so the fellow picked one out and wrapped it up.

Atriaux are made ​​of minced meat of pork, liver chopped pork, parsley and spices, all formed into pellets and packed together. 

 I had to look up how to cook it. It can be cooked like a burger in a pan, with some water. Or in a lovely white wine. Guess which I chose.

 It smelled amazing while it was cooking. All those fresh herbs, mixed with wine. It smelled amazing.

I imagine that it would make some amazing meatballs, of a sort, to go over some pasta with a white sauce. It may be something to look forward to in the near future. 

What is the most unique food item that you've tried lately? I'm always up for trying something new.


Woodland Creature Tic Tac Toe

In the middle of working on a project my computer updated and I thought all was lost. I couldn't find my work. This time instead of getting mad and searching high and low until I was purple in the face, I decided to just let it go. I'd made what I set out to and if all my hours of work were deleted...well then maybe I was just meant to keep this project as a "just for the family" project and move on to something else. And so move on to something else is exactly what I did. 
I spent a couple of random minutes (ok maybe an hour) looking at projects that I'd pinned on Pinterest. I found a cute little Tic Tac Toe board and decided that it looked easy enough to satisfy my urge to make something. Check it out. 

For the game pieces I simply cut out some felt pieces and glued them with some Tacky Glue. What you don't see on the other side is that I put a layer of Chalkboard paint so that it's multi-purpose. This would be fun in a little sack for car rides with a couple of sticks of chalk for your little ones to play!  

Hope you enjoyed the video. I'd love to see your version if you decide to make one. 

Oh, and I did end up finding the project I was working with on my laptop. Those darn updates sometimes mess with my groove! :)


Wool Pumpkin Follow-Up

 Given the fact that I'm not a super duper editing-superstar, there were some things that (looking back) I wish I would have done a little more clear in my video. But that's all part of the process(learning)! And let's be real--I don't have a team of superstars behind me...although I do have this cute little face right next to me while I work...

She's a bit distracting! And quite the helper. Hence why she ended up in the carrier on my front! She was happy to be cuddled and be a part of the process. My sister was pointing out to me when I was complaining to her about my lack of ability to just push through a project that some of the people I admire who blog and write books and decorate houses, etc., have a team of people picking up where they leave off and running errands and doing the actual work part of the projects. They're actually just the ones with the ideas. Well. That makes sense. So from me, you get real life. Which happens to be messy and backwards. 
So here's what you missed from the video. The actual things I used. 
  • An old wool sweater, any color you want! 
  • Yarn or string in a coordinating color
  • A hole punch
  • A piece of thing leather for your leaves and curled vine
  • Scissors
  • Some wool or other stuffing (even dryer lint would work)
 My leather came from a coat I picked up second-hand for really inexpensive, for the exact purpose of cutting it up for the leather. On the inside of the coat it was lined with fake fur, which will also come in handy for another project.

 Of all the projects I've made this one is probably the most simple. It uses the least amount of supplies, and was super affordable and cute! The variations on color and size are pretty simple and easy to conquer as well, which gives you the opportunity to have a cute little inexpensive and coordinated family of pumpkins for the seasonal decorating. They can last from early Fall all the way until Thanksgiving!

Different textured or patterned sweaters as the base could be cute as well. I'd love to see yours if you make some. Leave a comment and link to your own!



 When it's Spring and Summer it's always fun to see the beautiful produce at the farmers market and in the grocery store. What amazing colors and flavors! Beets are some of my favorite root vegetables because of their bright colors and versatility. They can be eaten hot or cold, be a side dish or a main course, and add beautiful color to just about everything they are in. This day they added some hearty goodness to some quinoa.

Cleaned and cut in half, they can be roasted in the oven at 400 degrees for about 45 minutes with a little olive oil, until they are tender.
You'd not know from looking at the back side of them that they hold a richness and beauty under that tough skin. 

 When cooked, the skins can easily be peeled off to reveal the deep pinks and purples within.

 Slice them for salad, cube them for quinoa, shave them for a little color to add to a dish as garnish. You can pickle them. You can eat them hot. You can eat them cold.

This makes an excellent lunch!
For the complete recipe, come see where I am posting over at CatholicSistas



Wool Sweater Pumpkin

Welcome to my first video tutorial. And please be kind! I'm still working out some kinks. I know that I need to work on some lighting issues and maybe add some more instructions along the way, but...I think it turned out ok! Hope you enjoy. And I welcome your input!



For a Beard, that is. The trend is beards, don't you know. My siblings are all bearded. Well, except my sister, who happens to be delightfully smooth-faced. (I love you sister.) My brother Ben sports a serious mountain-man beard in this other-worldly shade of Auburn. It's quite the magical beard. 

Anyway, he happened to mention the other day about wanting to make some mustache wax because, honestly, buying a tiny 1 oz tin of wax for $12 is pretty...expensive. I'll agree with him in that making your own, in the long run, will be more economical. And the perk is that you can make it to the consistency that you like, and the aroma that you prefer.
I happened to have on hand some Essential Oils, and other ingredients that I had previously used to make some other lotion type concoctions. I love a good experiment. Alas, I had no recipe, but I did look up some tutorials. About 20 different tutorials to be exact. In the end, I used a little bit of this and a little bit of that and guesstimated for the rest.

In the picture, I have Melaluca, but I didn't end up using it. I was thinking to myself, "What would I want to be smelling all day?" It wasn't Melaluca oil. I switched it out for some Lavender. Also a few of the recipes, called for only 2 tsp of beeswax. My brother mentioned wanting his wax to be more thick to hold his mustache in place better throughout the day. When all is said and done, I think I had close to 1/4 cup of grated wax.

 After I grated the wax, I put it and some Sweet Almond Oil, about 2 tsp of Shea Butter, and 1/2 tsp of Lanolin in a jar. (I skipped the coconut oil!) I melted it in the microwave on 30 second intervals until it was completely melted. In between I stirred the mixture with a plastic spoon. When it was completely clear and not one little bit of wax pieces were left, I added my Essential Oils. This part is hard to guess on. I only added three drops of oil. My brother tells me that he smelled the actual wax and other ingredients more than he smelled the oils. So I would play with that a little bit. Definitely er on the side of caution. You can't undo the amount you add, so use it sparingly until you know what your man-friend will like under his nose all day. You can always remelt it down and add more.
 Gently stir in your essential oils. You have to do this fairly quickly as the wax and oils will start to cool quickly. I should mention, have some paper towels and an oven mitt nearby. For one, the jar gets hot in the microwave, and two, messes happen.
 You can see in the picture below that the mixture was starting to cool pretty quickly as I was pouring it. I filled a cleaned Altoids tin about halfway. This should last....forever. Or close to it! My brother tells me that you don't need much to keep your 'stache under control.
 The other day I picked up some Cedar Atlas EO and I'm going to add a few drops of that, along with some more Frankincense to his tin of balm to make it more manly smelling for him. We'll see how he likes the scent after that! Wish me luck ;)


He Who Strengthens Me.

 Last Sunday at Church my priest came over to say hello. As I struggled to keep my youngest contained he joked, "How are you going to take care of these kids all by yourself?" What he didn't know was that on the inside, he made me cry. My quick and not thought-out response was, "With God's help!" Because honestly, how do any of us do it alone?! We're either mad as the hatter, and/or we depend on God to get us through. As of late, God has been carrying me through!

While I carry my young ones through their days (often times literally), God's been providing strength and encouragement along the way. He's very merciful. Oftentimes, all I can do is offer up that "Yes" that we're all called to, and hope and believe that he's going to guide my way.

The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged." Deuteronomy 31:8

I like to think of that passage as God's promise to me. He's not going to leave me when I am afraid or unsure of myself. He's bigger than anything that could come my way, and he's going before me so I don't need to be afraid. I'm human though, and I do get afraid. (I'm a work in progress!) But I move forward anyway! More often than not, in my head I'm literally throwing my fears into the wind and doing the next logical thing that is set before me. God keeps catching me and placing my feet firmly in front of me on solid ground.  The unknown is often the scariest thing, wouldn't you agree? If we just do the next logical and morally correct thing...really...things fall into place.
 There have been several friends that have stepped up and offered to be of service when I truly needed help. That in and of itself is a great gift that God has poured out into my life. Life circumstances can bring out the best and worst in people, and it's always bittersweet to recognize who your true friends are. Sometimes they come in the most unexpected packages, or end up being the last person you would have thought of. What is truly precious is realizing that a good and true friend will encourage you on your journey, ask you the hard questions, help you see things clearly and not judge you if your choice differs from what they personally may have chosen had they been in your circumstances. They will call you and with all sincerity ask, "What do you need? How can I help you?" I've been blessed abundantly with friends that I can put my needs or questions before and count on getting honest and true advice or help.

That strength that God gives through friendship is tremendously helpful when I have these little eyes looking to me for guidance and leadership. That I don't always have the answers to things has me running to seek out more answers all the time! Thankfully, these sweet eyes of my children seem to love unconditionally. I find that honesty helps. "I don't know, but let's figure it out together." 
The thing is...I don't think that we're meant to have all the answers. And I think that, as Scripture says, His power is made even more present through my weaknesses. Miracles abound when I depend on Him, and I'm surprised quite often by the generosity and beauty that is poured out on me in my life.

Do I know how I'm going to get through A,B or C? No, but I know who I can trust for Strength. 


A beautiful Breakfast.

 Quite a few times a week I post food pictures. Some of my favorite meals are breakfast. Actually, breakfast is just my favorite meal of the day, but some of my most favorite recipes are the ones that end up as my breakfast. Being a busy mom doesn't give me a whole lot of time for self care these days. In an effort to do more of that, I try to get up early enough to be ahead of the kids to get some things done just for me. I make myself a cup of coffee. I go outside for a few minutes and breath in some fresh air, check on what may be in bloom, bird watch, or read my bible. And I make myself a nice breakfast. Sometimes it's the only meal of the day that I really spend much time on for me. There is the fact that I am gluten and dairy free and 3 out of four of my kids are not. There is just the busy-ness of meal times, as well. Are you one of those parents that stands at the counter and eats in between fetching more food for the kids, or drinks, or cleaning up spills? Yup. We must be friends.

I like to incorporate new things into my meals, too. Lately I've been on this Essential Oil high, trying to incorporate my oils into my foods. Some of them have such amazing healing properties. (I don't think that is an FDA approved statement, however, my personal experience has been amazing with my EO's.) Lemon is my favorite. It's good for digestion, but I also love lemon. Lemon bars. Lemon meringue pie. Lemon Ice. Lemonade. Lemon pudding. Lemon in my tea. Lemon makes the house smell clean. Lemon everything!

This morning, I literally had no idea what I was doing for my breakfast, but I wanted to treat myself. I've been working hard on some personal stuff lately and I wanted to treat myself well this morning. I also knew I needed to us up some Sheep Milk Yogurt that I had in the fridge. Not knowing whether it would be a good idea or not, I whipped up some gluten free pancakes and used my yogurt as a dressing for them. In a bowl, I mixed into a cup of yogurt a tablespoon of sugar and two drops of Lemon EO. I poured this over my pancakes and topped them with Blueberries. Oh my goodness, I should have done this before! It was so yummy! The hint of lemon really popped in the yogurt. And the tartness of the yogurt lent itself well with the lemon. It was almost like I had stirred in lemon juice, but without having to cut up a lemon. Score!

My next experiment with Lemon EO, I've decided, is to make the same Lemony Yogurt, but make Yogurt Pops! And maybe sprinkle the blueberries into the bottom of the Popsicle containers. I'm going to give it a try anyway.

If you're up for it, definitely try to EO in your yogurt!


Loving our now.

Over the last few years I've had some interesting experiences with my children. From dealing with ASD tantrums in public, to advocating for my kids needs, to being starred at, to being told (by a teenager of all people!) how well behaved they are. Being a special needs mommy is so adventurous. I shared about an experience I had in a grocery store a little over a year ago in this post. But today, this experience was entirely different from the experience that I wrote about previously. Everyday since that day over a year ago, has been an entirely different experience, in fact.
Today's experience went something like this. 
Put Lisette in Ergo carrier. Grab wallet and head into store from car. Get stopped twice on the way into the store by an old man, and then a younger woman, who both stopped me to ogle over my sweety pie. She flashed them her cheesy smile, which includes two top toofies that are slowly making their way in on her top gums. So cute. They wanted to keep talking, but I had groceries to get and had been out and was generally tired of being in the car, so I smiled and wished them a happy day. On with shopping! 
I headed into the store and grabbed a shopping cart and pulled out my list, just in time to have another person stop and start chatting up a storm with my sweety pie. Seriously. I'm not making this up. 
Never, in all my 12 years of parenting, have I been stopped so often as I am with my little Lisette. She is like the Sun: everywhere we go, she draws people in like a magnet. Honestly, I love that she makes so many people happy and that so many people see her as a blessing and tell me how lucky I am.
I wouldn't have it any other way, in fact. It was a little strange at first when people talk about wanting to take her home with them. It happens at least once a day, though, and I totally get what they are saying. She's got joy, and she's innocent, and everything is just the way you see it-- no ulterior motives. 

I continued on with my shopping, and wandered a little bit to avoid standing in a long line. Thankfully, Lisette is super mellow and lets me do that. My other kids, not so much! But I'm sure Lisette will get to a point where she wants to run around pulling everything she wants off the shelves, too. Oh, I can't wait. She's doing a great job of wanting to keep up with siblings and friends. I see it happening in the not to far off future. 

We made our way to the register, and of course the lovely lady wanted to talk with us as she scanned our items as well. As I finished paying she, like so many others before her, reminded me of how blessed I am to have such a precious little one as my own.

 I agree. She's pretty great!
I'd like to put something out there, though. But before I say that, I want to point out that I LOVE OUR NOW. I love her, just like I love my other kids. Everything that she brings to my day-to-day is perfect, even with it's imperfections.

I'd also like to say....she can drive me bonkers just like my other kids. She pulls everything out of drawers and cupboards. She screams at the top of her lungs to get my attention because she doesn't have words yet. She can have some pretty good little tantrums. Yes, we're at the toddler-tantrum stage! She's a person, just like you and I, and she has her off days just like anyone else. Life isn't always rainbows and butterflies. That's not to say it still isn't great, but it does mean that she is human just like you and I. No, she's not an angel like some people like to call her.
Let me follow that up with...even when she is throwing a tantrum, she's pretty darn cute. Darn it. It's those darn toofies--she keeps flashing them at me.
I surrender. I love it.  She's got me wrapped around her pinky.

Part of me has started to think that maybe God's plan for me is to just be present and advocate for her while she sets the world on fire. I'm fascinated to see what the future holds. Whatever it is, I'm on board.


Related Posts with Thumbnails