A New Piano






I grew up with a piano. I took lessons and played along side of my Pop as a child. I always loved playing but didn’t stick with it.

When Chris and I first moved in we bought a relatively inexpensive piano from Craigs list. I couldn’t imagine a home without one. I played a little but then running a farm and raising two babies got in the way and it just sat there untouched unless my Pop came over for a visit or the occasional friend who played. We decided to get rid of it and make room for other things.

A few years back we were given another piano on a long term loan. I was determined to play and get the girls lessons but the long term loan turned in to a very short visit and the piano had to go earlier than expected.

I decided to put the idea of a piano on the back burner and began to fall in love with my open and airy dining room without one. I replaced it with a secretary desk which I used for my every day dishes and it worked well as a serving piece when entertaining.

But a few months back the girls began asking for a piano again. When visiting my cousin over the holidays, Hannah sat down at the piano and asked me to play with her. When my fingers touched the keys I was filled with warm memories of playing with my Pop. I Love Coffee, I Love Tea, Send in the Clowns, One Enchanted Evening and songs from Fiddler on the Roof, were some of our favorites to play and sing together.

When we were in Florida last week I got an email from a friend who was looking for a new home for her piano. I thought about how much I love my open and spacious dining room with my little plates stacked neatly in the desk shelves and was ready to decline but then I thought about my girls, my Pop, learning to play again, a home filled with music and something made me write yes and press send.

It was delivered last night and I am adjusting. I get a little grumpy sometimes when I bring in something new. But I do love it.

It needs tuning and I so do I. Lessons will begin in a few weeks.

After everyone went up to bed last night I sat back and admired the new addition to our home. I dusted it’s wood and adorned it’s top. I greeted it and sat down to introduce myself and played a few songs.

It felt good and I swear I heard Pop humming along.

Chicken Pot Hand Pies



We made these last night for dinner and they were to die for.
True comfort food I tell ya.

Early morning I started a whole chicken in the crock pot and when I arrived home in the afternoon I made the dough and filling. I saved the fun part of constructing the pies for Norah and Chris. They got straight to work rolling out and crimping the dough when they got home.
We make a good team.

I doubled the recipe so there would be plenty of pies to pack in everyone’s lunch the next day with still a few left over to freeze.

Everyone declared that pretty much anything wrapped in that cream cheese dough would be delectable.
So we came up with a list of different fillings we want to try.
Stay tuned…..

Sunday Afternoon Craft Circle




A few weeks ago the girls asked if they could host their own craft circle with friends. I guess after watching their mama have fun crafting with her friends each month for the last 15 years they thought they should give it a try.

They decided on the first Sunday afternoon of every month and hosted their first one yesterday.

Each girl brought along a craft to work on and they all sat around the fire chatting and working on various projects. A few worked on crocheted ipod charger cords, Hannah began knitting a hat while her friend worked on a knitted bear project. There was some duct tape art and after much finger knitting over the years Norah began her very first knitted project on needles~ a scarf!

And of course there were refreshments. Norah made back bean brownies again and served them with peppermint tea.

Although there was a bit of a generation gap and the conversation may have been a bit different, craft circle on the first Sunday afternoon of the month with the girls looked a lot like craft circle on the second Wednesday evening of the month with the ladies. There was laughter, lots of chatter, sharing of tools and ideas and of course tea and goodies.

I know that this Sunday afternoon tradition may not last forever but for now I will cherish these moments and feel a little bit proud that my girls want to follow in their mama’s footsteps.

Let’s start with cake…

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We usually drag birthdays out as long as possible around here. The day you were born is an important day to celebrate so why not do it over several days or even a week!

Although Hannah doesn’t turn 12 until Tuesday, we began the festivities with a birthday cake with friends last night. I made this cake and it was to die for!
I am usually a chocolate cake with buttercream or cream cheese icing kind of gal but this cake spoke to me when I read the icing was made with sour cream and bittersweet chocolate.
The tangy to sweet ratio was perfect! Warning: make enough icing to ice your cake and eat it too. It was hard to stop tasting!

When I came home from the store to unpack the cake ingredients I was disappointed to find that I had overlooked the bittersweet chocolate I had bought contained almonds. Chris was nice enough to run back out for me. He couldn’t find plain bittersweet but did come home with both dark chocolate and milk chocolate. He thought combined it would do the job. And he was right. It was perfect.

And there is still cake left over. Cake counts as breakfast right?

Happy Valentines Day

dutch baby

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i love valentines day.
a low stress holiday spent with the ones you love. a day to indulge just a bit.

we made some of our favorite treats today to celebrate.
a dutch baby for breakfast.
soft pretzels for lunch.
and clementines and strawberries dipped in chocolate fondue for an after dinner dessert.

my heart (and belly) is happy and full.
i think tomorrow we will start the day with a green smoothie.

snow day

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we woke up to almost a foot of snow this morning. this has been the snowiest winter i can remember and there are no complaints here.

activities on a snow day may vary but a few things always remain the same.

recipe for a snow day

hot chocolate
makes 4 mugfuls
whisk together in a saucepan on low heat and steep until fragrant and steaming hot
5 cups whole milk
1/2 cup good quality cocoa powder
1/4 cup raw sugar
vanilla bean
cinnamon stick
sea salt
for a extra kick to warm your insides add a pinch of chile powder.

2 parts snow
1 part nature finds, hat, scarf and mittens.
don’t forget eyebrows, mustaches and eyelashes.
dot cheeks with beet juice or watercolors.


always keep firewood and kindling in a dry protected place.
the night before a storm stack enough indoors on the hearth to get you started in the early morning.
hardwoods like ash and oak both burn hot and slow.
due to it’s resin, pine is a powerful fire starter.
hang your wet mittens and hats nearby to dry toasty warm for your next adventure outdoors.

to sooth muscles from hauling firewood and shoveling, there is nothing like ending the day with a hot bath. fill tub with water. pour in Epsom salts and your favorite essential oils, light a few candles and submerge.

applesauce cake

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we had just a smidge of our homemade applesauce left so i thought i would do it justice by turning it into cake. craft circle was this evening and i served it up with chai tea.
it’s a deliciously moist cake made with warm spices, brown sugar and pecans, tasting a bit like gingerbread. it tastes best warm out of the oven with a dollop of homemade whipped cream but is also the perfect breakfast drizzled with a little yogurt and honey.

applesauce cake

preheat oven to 350 degrees
grease and flour one (6 cup) fluted or bundt pan

1 1/2 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon round ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
1 cup applesauce
1 cup chopped pecans

sift together flour, baking soda and spices.
cream butter and sugar. add egg
alternate adding flour mixture and applesauce.
add nuts.

scrape batter in to pan and bake for 30 minutes.
cool and dust with confectioners sugar.

adapted from the joy of cooking. i added ginger to the recipe.

Tuesday Nights with Izzy








i look forward to tuesday evenings with my sister elizabeth (or izzy as my girls call her).
being my only sibling i feel so lucky that she only lives 5 minutes away.
over the last year we have enjoyed dinner together almost every week.
it usually falls on a tuesday night and we alternate hosting each week.
there are no specific rules. no pressure, no stress.
sometimes we eat pancakes for dinner. and sometimes there is a roast chicken and scalloped potatoes.
the kids play while we cook and chat.
and the night is never complete without lots of giggling. usually resulting in me getting the hiccups.
some things never change.


our good friend rich hoffmann is an amazing film maker.
we were lucky enough to be subjects of his award winning film fridays at the farm, about his personal experience as a member of the farm chris and i started and ran for nearly 8 years.

having this film has been such a gift to promote CSA (community supported agriculture). i use it often as a an outreach tool for the farm i work at now. i can’t tell you how many times i have watched it and each and every time without fail, i cry.
you will see i am very pregnant and don’t look much like myself in this film but i love having this snippet of our lives to hold on to. hannah is so young and sweet and norah just a few days old.

rich is on to a bigger (literally, an IMAX!) and even more beautiful film called watermelon magic, shot entirely on the farm where i work and which chris also stars in!

check out rich’s story and be sure to scroll down to watch the movie trailer.


you are such a quiet thing. always thinking and observing and are quite a creature of habit. even though you don’t go to catholic school, or any school for that matter you have a uniform of sorts. your favorite is your jeans, your fuchsia turtleneck sweater and your bog boots. you are a lot like your mama in that way.
on sunday you were sick in bed with a fever and listened to the entire penderwicks book.
when we walked to jane’s house on monday you kept asking me if i needed help carrying anything. even though i told you i was fine you kept insisting on carrying a bag. sometimes i can’t believe you are only 11 and other times i can’t believe 11 years have gone by.