Wednesday, June 25, 2014

a big desk for a big girl

as you can see... she moved it right in and put it straight to use (next to her old desk that is still there)

my oldest daughter will turn eight in a few weeks. she loves to work at her desk, play teacher with her little sisters, and to make various paper gifts. 

she is also still using the little desk that i bought for her (used) at a school fundraiser three years ago. it was the perfect desk when she was five... but the last year or so it's been getting a little small for her.

so, one of my "plans" for her birthday was to find a nice used desk that is more fit for her needs now. i was also planning to paint it white... like the trim in the photo above... and paint the chair the same teal that her dresser and bed stand are painted. which i think would look beautiful and really blend well into her room. but of course... when i got it home... i got the dreaded "you can't paint that! it's good wood!" ahhh... the good wood curse. i can't tell you how many times i have heard that one, and it never fails to make me question (and usually give up on) my plans. now, that desk does look pretty good in her room as is... so i'm not going to fret about that now... but i am going to paint some other pieces and see how i feel about it a little later (with a bit more experience).

i have some other fun plans for this girls birthday as well. in the next couple weeks we are going to work together and clear off her walls (which she has plastered with pictures and stickers... and even she finds overwhelming now), and we are going to clean and organize everything again. then i'm planning to find a way to sneak a few special changes in right before her birthday. one of those changes involves special lighting in the little nook where her desk usually is... she constantly complains that it is too dark in there. i have been brainstorming a beautiful solution though and i am very excited to make it happen.

i am so excited.

i believe one of my favorite things is problem solving in my home. 

Sunday, June 22, 2014

the little things

a little list of things i'm appreciating right now...

1. time in the morning. time to take it slow. time to read and relax while i drink my coffee. time to cook a thoughtful breakfast like the one above... 2 eggs, topped with sauteed sweet red peppers and onions, ribbons of fresh basil, feta cheese, salt, and pepper... yum.

2. sunshine. sunshine that makes all of the green things grow. sunshine that makes watering a fun activity. sunshine that warms our skin and turns blonde hair to curls of gold.

3. monkeys that follow little girls everywhere. monkeys that get lost... and then found again.

4. little girls. summer dresses. bare little feet in soft grass.

5. summer weddings. patience (and IPA) when i carve the wrong date on the wedding stamp.

what are you appreciating right now?

Friday, June 20, 2014

and the winner is...

i went camping this week. it was a blast. it was a women and children trip, and we kept everything super simple... perfect. the grainy photos above are all i have. i only took the camera out for just a couple minutes one night. i'll give you a quick run down though and then we'll get to the giveaway :) our campsite was right next to a playground... as in... i could see the playground when i was sitting around the fire. there were so many kids... my own children had an absolute blast. they exchanged phone numbers and addresses with kids from all over... colorado and nevado are the two that i remember. we also had a fantastic beach day... and i forgot the sunscreen, so we all left with a sunburn... ouch! everyone is healing quite quickly though... i think i will be the only one to peel. all in all it was a fantastic trip. the perfect way to start the summer. my kids are at such wonderful ages for this sort of thing now... i am really looking forward to more adventures of this kind throughout the season.

now... let's get to the giveaway...

i like to do things with my hands... so i cut up a bunch of little paper squares (all the same size)... wrote all the names down and folded them up... put them in a bowl... and had my three year old select a name...

and the winner is...

AMANDA!!! from sweet potato claire! 

i will contact you and get those stamps in the mail asap :)

thank you so much to everyone that entered, and thank you for all of your lovely comments! i wish i had a stamp for each and every one of you!  i had so much fun doing this. i look forward to doing it again. 

Monday, June 16, 2014

summer ramblings

last week was the end of the school year for us. i still can't believe how busy that last week always is... so busy... and so fast. today is our first "real" day of summer... in schedule anyway. i did wake up to rain this morning... but i'll take it. i just keep reminding myself that each time it rains everything will stay green that much longer. i can appreciate that.

this amazing bounty was just dropped off randomly by one of my outstanding mother-in-laws. seriously, when it comes to fabulous in-laws... i hit the jackpot. 

i got a bunch of wood chairs at a local resale shop for $5 a piece. i have plans to sand/prime/paint them all the same color and create myself a cute matching set of outdoor furniture. i have a lot of plans for painting this summer actually. i just got a new desk for layla as well... solid wood... $35. my plan is to paint it white and then paint a chair teal (to match with her dresser and bedstand). my plan the whole time with my search for the right desk was to paint it white. then i got it home and matt said "you can't paint that... it's good wood".... deep exasperated sigh.... those are his famous last words (along with many other people). the book i just finished reading "the nesting place" actually brought up this exact subject. i will paint that desk. i am just going to paint a couple other things first. i'll post a pic of the desk at some point relatively soon so you can tell me what you think... just don't tell me i can't paint it... okay? :)

have i mentioned how much the little things make me happy? a pot of sunflowers to brighten an old shed (with big plans in it's future). a metal watering can found at a local thrift shop... i  have been looking for a metal watering can small enough for the little ones to carry (all of the little ones seem to be made of plastic these days). 

i found a great new way to dry out maiko's boots... which his little sisters love to fill with water... hence the need to drain/dry them often.

then there's this guy... who loves chopping wood... and also volunteers to unload hay trucks for the local feed n seed just for fun... love him.

i also carved this stamp recently for my cousins wedding in august... i need to finish the date stamp and get these mailed to them. that stump motif is actually from geninne's book "making an impression" and i just added the heart and initials... which i also can not take credit for... it was my aunt's idea. it certainly turned out cute though. also, since we are now on the stamp subject... my veggie stamp giveaway is still open. i will close it thursday night. 

Thursday, June 12, 2014

veggie stamp giveaway!

today is my five year blogging anniversary. i thought today would be a good day to do my first ever "giveaway." i carved these three vegetable stamps myself. if you were reading my blog during the blogger swap you just might recognize them. i wanted to give something that was my own design, and i felt that these were quite a hit during the swap. to enter the giveaway all you have to do is leave a comment on this blog. only one entry per person of course :) and i am going to leave it open for a week so that everyone will have a chance to enter (i will close the comments next thursday, the 19th, at 12am PDT). you can invite others that you think would want to enter, but you can also tell no one at all (the odds will be better in your own favor then, right?) i will announce the winner on friday! make sure to check back or leave contact info so i know where to find you. good luck! 

Friday, June 6, 2014

white bean and kale minestrone

this soup has become a family favorite... it has also become my go-to soup because it is so easy to keep the majority of the ingredients on hand, and it comes together quite quickly.

i was originally inspired by martha's recipe... i loved the idea of a tomato base with white beans and greens... but i did not like the idea of tomato paste... yuck. i think the changes that i made really improved the soup... so i am going to share my version with you. 

white bean and kale minestrone

-1 med. onion
-5-6 clovess garlic
-1 tsp thyme
-3-4 large kale leaves
-1 quart tomato sauce (or two cans tomato sauce)
-1 quart stewed tomatos (or two cans diced/stewed tomatoes)
-3 cans white beans
-olive oil
-red pepper flakes
-3 sausages
-romano cheese

chop the onion and garlic. rinse the kale and remove the stems. stack the leaves, roll them up, and slice them into the little ribbons (this is called chiffonade). 

cooking directions:
heat the olive oil in your soup pot on medium heat. add the onions and cook until translucent and soft. add the garlic and thyme. cook until fragrant. add the kale and cook until leaves soften and turn a dark green. add the tomato sauce, stewed tomatoes, and white beans. bring to a mild boil, then reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes. add salt and pepper to taste (i often add aprox. 3 tbsps, but i use my home canned sauce and stewed tomatoes which have no added salt. if you are using sauce with salt added you may not need any salt or very little). add a little dash of red pepper flakes. serve it up, and top with romano cheese. another variation that my family really likes is to slice up some sausages and fry them a bit in a separate pan and then add them to the soup.

this soup serves my family of six two dinners. we have it the night i make it and then two nights later we usually heat it up and eat it again. if there is only 2-4 of you... i would cut down the recipe... maybe 1 can sauce, 1 can stewed tomatoes, and 1 can beans, 1 or 2 leaves kale, 2 cloves garlic, etc, etc.

i hope you enjoy the soup! if anyone has any recommendations on tomato sauce brands... please share in the comments! you can find little bits of our tomato saucing and canning hereherehere, and here.

and just a couple more things...

geninne zlatkis's new desktop calendar... find it here.

... and how about we wrap it up with some sweet snuggling babes.

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