Friday, January 28, 2011

soupin' it

soup, originally uploaded by *nichole*.

Made a big pot of white bean and kale minestrone soup this afternoon- a big pot because I want it to last most of the weekend. My oldest daughter has several church activities to participate in tomorrow, then I'm hoping to get some other things done on Sunday (laundry, reading, knitting, cooking). This upcoming Sunday I'm going to try to do a big food prep thing so that during the week we have things to eat on hand. I'm already planning to make another soup-potato fennel-for the week. I'll let you know how the Sunday food prep thing goes. My youngest stayed home from school today (she has a bit of a cough) so we took Chester to the vet for some of his immunizations and then we went to the co-op to stock up on apples, mandarin oranges, and bananas.
I like having fruit around.
Have a great weekend!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

seeing green

In our gardening class this week we tried out some plant/tree identification. Yikes! I'm telling you, trying to identify a plant or tree can sometimes feel like trying to locate a pin in a haystack-but what we try to do is to narrow down the possible options. Are the leaves opposite or alternate? Is this leaf from a deciduous tree or is it evergreen? What is the leaf pattern? It's a bit like being a "green" detective, which really is fun. There are so many great people in this gardening class-retirees, young adults in their twenties, moms, farmers, former librarians, really it's such a fun and varied group (also a nice touch to the classes is that at each class hot coffee and tea are offered along with baked goodies, there is also fruit for those who are avoiding the goodies-I eat both :)
Yesterday the woman who spoke about composting was truly an inspiration. She was trained in another field, but in her late forties she decided to go back to college to get her Masters degree in soil science- I love it! (I especially love it because I turned a year older this week).
So today as I got home from a little shopping (went out to get some plant/tree guides of course) I took some pictures of green outside~

~lichens on a tree

~moss in our driveway

~rosemary planted last September when we first moved here and a hellebore that was just repotted today (the hellebore I received from class, from a Master Gardener-she gave several of them away).

~the books I purchased today

One thing about living here is that while is does get a little cold, it doesn't get cold. It's a very green place, really almost year round (hence the rain as well-but there's sun today, yay!-we take it when we can get it). Perhaps this green place is a great place to learn about gardening-maybe it's "growing" on me-pun fully intended!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

crafting for Chester

Since I made little gifts for the family (knitted slippers for the girls, the ribbed hat for my husband) I thought Chester needed something too. This weekend I got sewing and made him his own cat pillow~

~ leftover fabric strips from cutting-the eight strips I cut out are not the same width, but are the same length.

~sewing the strips onto a cotton batting

~strips sewn onto cotton batting, now time to add back fabric for pillow

~stuff, stuff, stuff! with polyfill and leftover fabric strips from the cutting (really I didn't over stuff the pillow, I wanted it to be a little bit on the floppy side.
~pillow washed and dried-to get that crinkly quilted look

time for photos Chester-he's so good with the camera

until he starts playing with my camera strap!

Can you tell we are totally enamored with our kitty? Pets really add joy to the home (I haven't had one in such a long time that somehow I forgot this fact-but with all the moving, plus being renters, on and on- I digress). Now I'm so glad we have Chester, and that he has a cozy place to nap, while I'm taking my nap too!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

in the last couple of days....

we've celebrated my oldest daughter's eleventh birthday~

eaten Indian food for dinner and lunch, had visitors from the Midwest~

and enjoyed the small quiet moments in between~

Hope you are having a wonderful weekend!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

a few glimpses of the day....

~plants by the window

~leftover chai tea from this morning

~my oldest taking a little nap after school

just sharing a few moments from this Tuesday.

Sunday, January 9, 2011


ribbed hat, originally uploaded by *nichole*.

finally finished up a hat that's been in my knitting basket too long. The hat is a simple ribbed hat, pattern from More Last-Minute Knitted Gifts (pg. 42). I got this book this past November and it is so lovely-great photography and also a great variety of projects for all different skill levels. Last night I started work on a cowl-both the yarn for the hat and the cowl came from Quince & Co. (for the hat I used lark yarn, color "storm" and for the cowl I'm working on now I'm using chickadee yarn, color "honey").

Here's to more knitting in 2011!

Friday, January 7, 2011

I couldn't resist~

he's so sweet~, originally uploaded by *nichole*.

my youngest daughter wrapped Chester up in the blanket so he could get a good nap~
Other things going on, well I'm making chili for dinner tonight (a huge pot so it can last the weekend) and then there is church tommorow. This past week was so busy, so really we just want this weekend to be low key. I think I'll try to get some knitting done in between reading my gardening materials.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

let's give a big welcome....

to Chester, the newest member of our family!
My husband went out about a week ago to pick up some meat from a local farmer. While he was there he noticed that she had several cats which were "country cats". We've been wanting to get a pet for a while, but just never took the plunge until now-my husband had pets (a dog and a cat) when he was younger and so did I (we had two dogs-at different times). The girls absolutely love having Chester here. For the last 3 days after school all they want to do is play with him. I have a feeling that Chester is going to be one spoiled cat!

Happy Thursday!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

our 2010

2010 was a year of many changes for us, some good, some not so much. One of the most drastic changes last year and most heartbreaking was the passing of my grandmother. In the fall of 2009 my grandmother got quite ill. She went back and forth between the hospital and home-and then finally hospice. She passed away last January-just three months after her initial hospitalization. See my grandmother was/is very instrumental in my life. She had a huge hand in my up bringing. Some of my favorite memories (from my early childhood) include us going out to get fried fish (from Captain D's) and then coming back home to look at Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy. She loved game shows. Another thing she would always do for me was to get me a Snickers bar whenever we ventured to the grocery store together. She loved cooking and was absolutely one of the best cooks I've ever known. Her macaroni and cheese (she used Velveeta:) was so, so good. She always wanted family and guests to eat well. Her cakes, her pies were pure down home goodness. She was my perpetual cheerleader, she use to tell me how proud she was of me-even if I hadn't done anything particularly outstanding. I am so very grateful that my own children had chances to be with her during our visits down South. Often someone I know will tell me that I have "old people ways" and I know exactly why I do have those ways. I miss talking to her on the phone, asking for advice, talking about the weather, politics, and what we were both cooking up for dinner. I just miss her so much-I keep my memories of her close to my heart.

Another major change this year (late summer) was our move. This is the farthest we have ever moved from our family. In all the other places we've lived before we were at least in driving distance to someone in our families. This move took a lot out of me (honestly I was a hot mess), but with each day this new place becomes less new. I'm not big on change-at all. If I could live in the same place for years I think I would because I'm just a creature of habit. However because of schooling and work situations we have done our fair share of moving. Now in a new place, we are trying to establish community for our family. This community building has been made somewhat easier because of our church. Yet, I still find myself at times struggling with feelings of loneliness and sadness. As I inch closer my forties- the need for connection and belonging has become stronger. Roots. We are not totally sure if this will be the place for our "roots"- but we will remain prayerful about it.

Other changes include what's next for me work/career wise. This has been on my mind alot because now both of my girls are in school all day. Often I get the question, "what do you do with all that free time?" Honestly I want to respond to the person asking with "I recharge!", but mostly I just look at the person with a shy grin. The tutoring, piano practices, and other activities fill up a great deal of our after school days, but perhaps it would be interesting to pursue something outside of the home spectrum (hence the Master Gardening classes :) My dream would be to work outdoors-planting something, but is that practical? When my oldest daughter was born I put her in daycare when she was six months old to go back to school. After schooling I worked outside the home until I had my second child. After my second child I did not re-enter the workforce. Now my youngest is in school full day. Should I go back to my old field which is totally practical or should I pursue something vastly different? Definitely questions for me to answer in 2011.

Despite those major changes in 2010, 2010 also included some wonderful times. We participated in our first ceilli, we visited weekly with our dear friends and had lovely adventures with them, we visited Chicago and one of our favorite places there, we participated in the community garden with friends from church. Now we are getting to know new people, laying the foundation for new friendships and appreciating the beautiful scenery (greenery, mountains, trees) of this place we now call home.

My prayer for this New Year includes a prayer for strength~
I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.
Philippians 4:12-13 NIV

a prayer for wisdom~
If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.
James 1:5 NIV

and most of all a prayer of hope~
Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from Him.
Psalms 62:5 NIV

again Happy New Year~
much love,