A new contributor to Kitchn.com

Tickled is an understatement when I tell you that today I have my first by-line on Apartment Therapy‘s Kitchn.com blog. Little ‘ole me? Well, yes ‘mam.

Turns out your best friends (and husbands who know all about technology and absolutely nothing about shelter blogs) are quite fine cheerleaders if you let them be. After my awesome friend Melissa (have you seen From Scratch magazine? This girl is a homestead superstar.) tipped me off to this post on TheKitchn.com mentioning the search for new contributors, I promptly filed the idea into the “that would be cool” file. I did give it some thought but didn’t take much action. Days before that deadline, and with a few hours notice, my now famous, skinny cook friend opened her kitchen and family up for me to take a big leap and send off a submission.

Thanks to all the awesome cheerleaders that made this happen. I’m thrilled to show off the south and the overflowing wealth of fine folks and even finer cookin’ we have in our region.

Check out my first post on Bo and Lindsey’s kitchen here (bonus: a cute baby!) : my first post on TheKitchn.com!

I’ll be continuing to do tours of kitchens in our region. Send me a note of you have or know of a great kitchen to share.

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Happiness

One big, deep breath is all I need of this view and all is right in my heart. This aging dock and all its memories are my life wrapped up into sun-stained, splintered boards and summers of too much sun, an abundance of love and the sweetest homemade peppermint ice cream you ever did taste.

Next season this place will be brand new, but it will forever be the spot I dropped my cousin’s magna doodle piece and the railing I crossed just before my grandaddy scooped my out of the winter-chilled water. How gracious life can be lived among such beautiful settings. Every time I arrive, I wish to never leave. The pace here is just right for making moments matter and memories that can be carried on forever.

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Spread a little love

Doing things out of love is one thing I KNOW lights my heart on fire. I’ve always gotten a great big knot in my throat (the good kind!) when I’m making something happen in pursuit of nothing more than a big smile in return.

Earlier last month I started a new portion on my to do list. The tasks in the “for others” section rarely lasted more than 48 hours before getting a sharpie line right through them. I LOVED marking them off! Not because it was one more “to do” I accomplished, but because it made me full of joy to know my time had been well-spent in bringing joy and happiness to someone else. Big or small, they reminded me how much actions of love can alter a life, or even just a day.

So last Saturday morning I hopped in the kitchen to break in the Weelicious cookbook from my sweet in-laws and whip up a batch of homemade graham crackers. I’m not supermom enough to insist that everything we share with Thomas is homemade, but I do like the idea of avoiding as much from a box as possible; especially when it comes to cookies and crackers.

It’s a super easy recipe, even if you aren’t right at home in the kitchen (like me). Photos of my adventure are above. The first one is about the point my first “Is it supposed to look like that?” thought kicked in. Of course I’d already checked the recipe half a dozen times to make sure I was following it just right. Things shaped up after a little work. Before I stuck these lovelies in the oven, you better bet I had my pica pole out (bonus points if anyone even knows what that is) and was measuring to see if I had gone way over the suggested 1/4 inch for the dough.

Everything turned out great! Why was I so worried? I’m such a nervous cook; and for no apparent reason since I don’t recall ever making anything that was completely inedible. I do plan on taking the thickness down a notch on our next batch so Thomas can munch on these alone. They came out just a little too thick for eight teeth to handle alone.

This one little to do sure filled my heart right up. I enjoyed setting aside time to do something special for someone I loved. And what better month to have a freezer full of heart-shaped cookies to share? Snack time never was so sweet.

If you want to give the recipe a try, check it and soo many great recipes for all ages on the Weelicious website.

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Blurry baby bottom

That blurry baby bottom is my whole heart. When I stepped up to a big dream of being my own boss over a year ago, being the best of everything for him was the goal in sight. Somedays that’s a challenge beyond measure. Being mom plus (insert SO many directions to be pulled here) is a lot of pressure. But the days I untie that guilt and know it’s all in my head are the good ones. Running across that blurry baby bottom on my phone tonight was a sweet little reminder of how inspiring love can truly be.

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Wherever you are, be all there.

Much of January and too much of today has me focused on me, looking inside and searching hard for a balance or way to juggle it all (wife, mother, work-at-home mama awesomeness, health and family). There have been some moments of clarity and an equal of total confusion. I rushed around this morning, baby on hip and work on my mind. To do’s clogged my clarity. I didn’t prepare. I didn’t make time to pray. I didn’t stop and love FULLY. And it got me all undone.

Determined to reset, I cleared mental to dos, made lunch and set things up to dive in to the deadline pounding in my brain. When I sat down it all was staring me in the face. One text message that reminded me I’d forgotten something and someone really important to me. A ton of guilt and total embarrassment made me TRULY stop.

I forget that each day isn’t all or nothing. It’s not my goal to do it all and do it best. My number one job is to LOVE. Being present in the simplest ways, thankful for the little things and making every action about love have been the best parts of this month. I smile more. I hug tighter. I sit still. I listen. And I’m happier.

It’s not always that clear, but it’s always that easy.

 

- These fine canine footies belong to the ever-loving Roscoe the hound dog (my beautiful friend Mandy’s heart and joy). He’s inspired a whole lot that I hope we get to share soon. -

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