Archive for the 'daily life' Category

Lemon Vinaigrette

I’ve been making salads like crazy the last couple of weeks. Maybe because its January or because its gray and foggy almost constantly where I live and a big plate of crunchy veggies somehow makes me think of spring. Ok, let’s be real, it’s January and I could use a few more salads and a whole lot less of just about everything else.

I discovered caramelizing sweet onions ahead of time, saving them in the fridge to use throughout the week, after reading Shauna Niequist’s, Bread and Wine and now I can’t get enough.  They are so good in a salad, and now I feel like I HAVE to have them all the time.

Anyway, this blog isn’t really about onions, it’s actually about the salad dressing. My friend gave me the recipe to a lovely lemon vinaigrette that is bright and acidic, a tiny bit sweet and perfect over greens, veggies and a little goat cheese or feta  (and don’t forget the onions)!

I think the original recipe is from Betty Crocker and as I almost always do, I improvised a little based on what I had. It’s hands down my favorite dressing right now.


Lemon Vinaigrette

  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • the juice of one lemon (between 1/4-1/3 cup)
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
  • a splash of Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped

Combine all the ingredients in a jar with a lid. Shake it up until well combined and store in the fridge for a couple of days.

My favorite salad:

  • baby spinach
  • carrots
  • English cucumber
  • red pepper
  • goat cheese
  • sunflower seeds
  • garlic croutons
  • caramelized onions
  • grilled chicken or turkey deli meat

To make the onions, slice up two large walla walla sweet onions. Heat a cast iron pan over medium heat with 1/2 tablespoon butter and a tiny splash of olive oil. The key with onions is low and slow. As they begin to soften and change color, lower the heat a little and stir often. Salt them halfway through. When they are a nice caramel color, take them off the heat and let them cool. Store in the refrigerator to use all week-long.


Kinder Transition


The day finally arrived.



One of those cheesy lines about your heart walking around outside your body would be appropriate right here.

It was just so…hard. Good hard, a little yucky hard, but as the week goes on, a little better.

There were tears. A few from him, mostly from me (after I dropped him off…I at least made it to the parking lot). It breaks my heart into a million pieces when he curls up in a chair and begs to not have to go. But today he was ready, no tears, and he played on the playground before school like a boss, lining up for the teacher when the whistle blew.

Luke, Scarlet and I walk home a little forlorn, feeling tangibly that we are missing a crew member.

We watch the clock, Luke asking several times throughout the morning if it’s time to pick up Jack. Finally, the morning winds down and we head out again. This week we’ve had it easy, just half days. Next week the full days begin.


We are greeted by a happy boy. He is thriving already.

And my grief over missing him and worrying about how he’ll spend his days loosens just a bit. So many tiny moments of tender grace already sprinkled throughout our week. Encouraging text messages and phone calls from friends. The discovery of a new friend just down the street. Warm afternoons to play and swim and just be. A kind teacher who is understanding of high-maintenance worried parents.

I saw a bumper sticker a week or so ago that said ‘Fear Not’ with a verse attached (I can’t remember the actual verse. whoops). And at first, I didn’t give it a second thought. People’s religious or political opinions displayed on their vehicles don’t usually get a rise out of me, but for some reason I found myself thinking about that bumper sticker all week.

And now I’m laughing, because I hope the lady that plastered it to the back of her SUV knows that somehow that sticker actually did some good. Because, for me, it’s been this wonderful freeing reminder that I don’t need to worry. I just don’t.

So I’m trying to pray when I start to worry. And then I laugh a little to myself because I think of the bumper sticker and then I pray a little more and all of a sudden I remember that everything is going to be ok.

Jack will be ok. Our family will be ok. Whatever comes: the good and the bad, because there’s no escaping any of it, we will just take one day at a time. And in the midst of the grind and the hard, whether its the good hard or the yucky hard, we’ll just do our best to ‘FEAR NOT.’

Spicy Pulled Pork

Before summer is a distant memory and I have to go digging through my disorganized piles of notes, I need to do a catch-all for a few favorite recipes.


Pulled pork so good you eat it cold standing at the refrigerator when you think no one is looking. This recipe always reminds me of my friend Glory and the delicious dinner she brought us years ago when our kitchen was down to the studs. Her sweet and spicy pork inspired this dish and remains to this day one of my favorite meals.

Full recipe HERE.

Which that reminds me, July marked one full year writing my Kitchen Captivated column for Yakima Magazine. It’s one of my favorite projects, I get such a kick out of people telling me they made a recipe and actually liked it.

Here are a few other recipes from the last couple months:

Spring Green Salad inspired by Shauna Niequist’s Green Well Salad

Pasta with Bacon and Brussel Sprouts

The Consummate Chocolate Chip Cookie: a recipe I’ve posted on the blog before

On Being Quiet and When It’s Time To Push Through

I’ve let a whole year go by, full to the brim with memories and meals and friends and kids who just keep growing and growing. We are two weeks away from a whole new season around here: kindergarten. New school shoes have been purchased and just today a ‘big-kid’ lunchbox and water bottle.

I have resisted documenting the day to day because I’m hyper-sensitive to the criticism that blogs aren’t an authentic representation of a person’s life. Also, there’s a lot of navel-gazing and it’s as obnoxious to write about as it is to read sometimes.

But I just read about how when you tell a story, you have to narrow the big picture down to one tiny corner. Just describe that little spot in the upper-left hand corner and then go from there.

So here is a tiny corner, a little tidbit, that hopefully someday will jog my children’s memory and cause them to smile:

We are deeply entrenched in summer living. The house is almost always in some form of disarray. It’s cold cereal for breakfast and peanut butter for lunch. It’s too hot to play outside in the afternoon and Legos can literally be found on every surface in this house. I found some in my bed yesterday and stepped on one in the shower. How this happens is beyond me.


The boys are deeply tanned from a summer at the lake, riding bikes and swimming in friend’s pools. Scarlet’s baby-fine hair is bleached out and her cheeks are perpetually sun-kissed.

The wrestling is constant. So is the eating. But when I can step back from the chaos (which I’m not always very good at) I really relish at what good friend’s the kids are. They are happy and robust and so so loud. I beg them to sit down, to chew with their mouths closed, to pick up their shoes. But then they spend hours building legos or making forts or having some sort of complicated war/adventure in the backyard and I just love them so stinking much.


Isn’t that the crux of family life? It can be so constant, so totally taxing yet its the very best thing and when even one of your people is missing, it’s almost like you’ve lost a limb.


We took a day trip to Mount Rainier last weekend. We needed trees and fresh air and a break from the heat. So we loaded the car with water bottles and sandwiches and headed west. In the 9 years we’ve lived in our little Valley, we’ve never ventured there and now we regret every day we DIDN’T go because it was so stunning.

We chose a 1 mile each direction hike and set out. Luke and Scarlet climbed in and out of the stroller. We got in people’s way. There was a fair amount of whining. Aaron and I looked at each other silently wondering if this was worth the 2 hour drive. And then, all of a sudden, the kids spotted a snow field off in the distance and they pumped to see snow in August. And suddenly our little hike turned into a way bigger one but everyone was happy and energized. We made it to that snow, tossing soggy snowballs at each other, cooling down from our hike. We dipped fingers in glacier run-off and scooted back to the lodge for much-deserved ice cream cones.

It was a good good day. One of so many. I just need to write them down more often.



I figure I have 10 minutes max before my dilapidated laptop crashes on me, but one of my resolutions this year was to write again and four months into the year I haven’t done a thing.

I decided my desk in the kitchen is no longer good inspiration. The debris from daily life is too distracting. So I unplugged and went outside. I even took a picture for proof…or maybe as a reminder to try this again another day.


A mom at preschool drop-off this morning asked the ever-loaded ‘what are you up to these days?’ question. Why does such a simple question feel like a punch to the gut some days?

‘Just momming,’ I answered casually.

But it stopped me in my tracks. What am I doing these days? Mothering. Cleaning. Pushing swings, wiping butts, countertops and toilet seats. Driving my car, reading stories, cooking food, saying no, saying maybe, doling out timeouts, jobs, discipline, hugs and kisses.

Also, I’m working out. And as I was running today, the thought occurred to me that for literally six years to the month my body has been working hard at sustaining other people’s lives. I have literally been pregnant or nursing with only a tiny 3 month window from January 2008 through January 2014.

And when my body was working so hard during that time I was proud of it. All those flaws that bothered me faded to the background just a little bit. That stuff that eats at me when I look in the mirror and echoes in my brain; it was just background noise. I had this intuitive respect and kindness for my body. It gave me three precious babies and I fed them with my own body, watching them grow and thrive. You can’t hate yourself when you have such tangible proof of its usefulness.

And then that season came to an end. As it was supposed to. My baby and nursing years are over. And I’m all wrapped up in relief and grief. What is my purpose now? Of course it’s to continue mothering…

But I am connecting how much I appreciate the feeling of my body at work. And so instead of growing babies, I’m hitting the pavement. Slogging along, huffing and puffing, feeling equal parts deflated and elated as I compel my body towards strength, resilience. The soreness in my legs and the burning in my lungs, pushes all those thoughts into the background. Those flaws melt away just a little and I’m simply me. Breath in. Breath out.

All to say, I’m not really sure what I’m up to these days. It’s a loaded question. Surely the sweet spot of balance is out there somewhere, maybe I’ll find it this year?

A New Day Rises

A post sitting in my drafts for two weeks and finally the words came. Little glimpses of the kids, what they are doing, talking about, the things I want to remember.

And when I go to grab a few photos to add to the post, the computer shakes and smokes, freezing up and forgetting those precious words.


Stupid technology. Stupid me for taking two weeks to write a dang post.

And now the baby cries from her crib, because that’s how it works. So much has happened this winter, packaged up in the regular everyday. The kids growing and changing and I want to remember. So for today, just pictures, and hopefully hopefully when I look back a few years now they will remind me and I will laugh. Luke’s first trip to the doctor for glue on his forehead three days before Christmas, Jack’s never ending love for all things Cabelas, an unbelievable family vacation, Scarlet’s infatuation with shoes and jewelry and babies. The sweetness and the chaos.

008 083 100 010 064 175

Instagram is My New Blog

Instagram kind of took over my blog this year. I love sharing little snapshots of our days. I love seeing friends and family and all the little mini stories and photos they post.


But Instagram is just a tiny piece. A singular moment. And blogging is a fraction more than that, but still,  it’s a little bigger. It forces words and thoughts. It’s storytelling. And I want more of that.



I’m fully embracing my love of indie pop. Regina Spektor, Mumford and Sons and Of Monsters and Men are my Pandora stations of choice. I’ve been making a concentrated effort to eat less carbs and more vegetables the last couple weeks but then I make a batch of cookies ‘for the kids’ and eat the dough straight from the freezer when no one is looking. Ridiculous. In trying to fight the winter blues that chase me all through January and February, I cashed in a gift certificate a dear friend so generously gifted me for some hot yoga. The stretching and warm room are divine. I wish I could do it every day.



The holidays feel like months ago when in reality they were just a few weeks ago. I took down all our Christmas decorations including the tree the day after Christmas in anticipation of our trip to Hawaii. It was so NICE to come home to a clean fresh house, but all the hustle and bustle this year combined with our travel really changed the feeling of the season. Maybe I’ll get around to posting some pictures one of these days. My computer just told me I uploaded 227 pictures from my phone, so I’m sure there’s something worth posting eventually.



Top Posts & Pages

July 2018
« Mar    



Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 484 other followers