Saturday, November 30, 2013

30 day gratitude challenge

when my sweet friend, courtney, asked me to take part in the 30 Day Gratitude Photo Challenge, i couldn't resist.  i'm big on picture-taking, even if i'm not the greatest, and it seemed like something i could get behind.  i loved the idea of slowing down and focusing on one subject every day of what we are thankful for, for the month of november.
hope you enjoy!

//favorite food//, hands down, fav food of the season is turkey and wild rice stew.
//smile//, can't get enough of my big man's smiley eyes.
//happiness//, is there anything better than when your child has that look of complete joy on his face?
//leaves//, loving and so grateful for the autumns on the east coast.
*okay, i apologize for the next couple collages. we had a back-up malfunction and i lost a few pictures so these were collages that i did from my phone...*

//morning sky//, pink sunrise from our front porch.
//books//, currently on my nightstand: Family Fortunes, ChildWise, the Bible, and my kindle with Last of the Mohicans, among others.
//something funny//, my mom found this awesome indigenous mask in ecuador for mv.
//favorite color//, green almonds the size of my fist, growing everywhere in ecuador!
//inspiring person//, my daddy :)
//nature//, absolutely everywhere you step in ecuador.
//something old//, the basilica in quito.
//hands//, photo cred: mil. i left a list of crafts to do with the boys while i was gone and they did the thankful tree so well!
//written words//, graffiti in ecuador.
//movement//, the joy of a spinning baby.
//technology//, classical pandora on all day, to inspire little minds.
//animals//, herds of cow, giraffe, zebra, and dinosaur constantly around our house.
//memories//, love letters from his first military school, our first time apart while dating.
//something new//, brand new hunters that i can't open till christmas :(
//best friend//, i adore him.
//seasonal//, the beauty that is virginia in november.
//where you sleep//, a bed always tousled from wrestling with my boys in the mornings.
//clothing//, so grateful for warm clothes to play outside for hours, on cold days.
//in your closet//, i'm crazy about organizing by color.

//gratitude//, love watching this boy learn to pray and learn to love to pray.
//artwork//, my favorite piece in our house.  titled, secret beach, i bought it in key west and would love to have someone recreate it, larger, for a statement piece over a (future) fireplace someday...
//transportation//, along with herds of animals, caravans of trucks and cars are frequently seen around the house...
//daily routine//, we are big, big on routines here, but it always, always, starts with tea and quiet time.
//nighttime//, after-bath play in their bedroom.
//light//, morning sun shining through my foyer window and lemon tree, in my makeshift, winter atrium.
//self-portrait//, getting ready, in a baby-smudged mirror, with said baby.
i so enjoyed this challenge and hope to do it again next year!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

happy thanksgiving! ...and beautiful crackers!

happy thanksgiving!!
what are you thankful for today?
praise Him and thank Him for our blessings!

and enjoy these beautiful crackers that the big boy and I baked! I used a recipe similar to this, dyed the dough in different colors, and went to town! enjoy the day! (and the crackers :))

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

whole wheat apple cider waffles

There is nothing, I say nothing, better than a really cold and drizzly morning, that Daddy is still out hunting, and your two adorable boys looking at your with bright blue beggin' eyes for waffles.
So, we had an extra couple cups of orchard apple cider in the fridge and we whipped these up in no time.
Very satisfying and hearty but not too sweet.
Personally, I'll add a bit more molasses the next time but maybe you like your waffles not-so-sweet.
ps-make a double batch.  Waffles freeze perfectly and it's just as easy to make a double batch and give your kiddos, healthy, homemade versions of Eggos.
Come to think of it, my boys don't know what an Eggo is.
And I think that's a great thing.

Whole Wheat Apple Cider Waffles
Makes around 8.
2 cups whole wheat flour (or a combo of regular and wheat)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon table salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1-2 tablespoons molasses...up to you how sweet you want it!
2 eggs
2 cups apple cider

Combine (or sift, if you aren't lazy like me...) all the dry ingredients.
Add molasses, eggs, and cider. (And really, you should whisk these together first. Again, lazy here.)
Mix until just combined.  Lumps are a-okay.
Preheat your waffle iron and spray with cooking spray to prevent sticking.
Prepare according to your iron's instructions.
Slather with butter and warm maple syrup and enjoy!
Would be fantastic with a warm apple compote on top.  If one wasn't so lazy.

*see that chubby hand in the reflection? hehe*

Saturday, November 23, 2013

autumn chandelier

i know, i know.
it's mid late autumn.
and i'm just now getting my main autumn craft up.
but it's up!
and it looks great!

1. collect leaves. ask your adorable, chubby-handed sons to collect them and bring them to mama. then, show them how to press between sheets of paper and let dry completely.

2. lay out dried, flat leaves. run a length (however long you want your chandelier...i did mine about 3-5') of neutral-colored thread on the top.

3. carefully run a line of glue (i used elmer's) down the thread, stopping at the edges of your leaves. repeat. make about 5-8 leaf rows/lines/dangley (spelling on that?) things, or as many as you'd like.

4. let dry completely (overnight) and then just try to keep them out of reach of said chubby hands. trickier than it seems. i taped mine up, behind a curtain, and got really close to just leaving them, because i thought they were so pretty there!

5. wrap a cheap wreath (any type will do) with some burlap ribbon, or whatever you'd like. this will be the top of your chandelier.

6. carefully tie the thread into the burlap, spacing your leaf dangles as you wish.  i did 6, evenly spaced.

7. aaaaaand hang!  hang somewhere that the light comes through :) and be careful, it might be heavier than you think, depending on what materials you used!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013


if you follow along on my instagram or facebook, you'll know what an amazing time i had in ecuador.
my husband got to go last year while i was 8 months pregnant, with a 20 month old toddler, so this year, it was my turn!
i tried to take more than just foodie pictures, and if you disagree, i understand :)

our first breakfast. fresh bread, fresh jam, fresh juice, fresh fruit, fresh coffee. what could be better?

our first place.

rock slide!

the mist coming in the valley

the entrance to a little coffee plantation we toured.

stunning view! 
and baby coffee seedlings!

a coffee cherry!  delicious!

a little mountain stream and ancient bridge across it.

hiking to see the tilapia farm

beautiful doors of cotacachi!

lunch break in the middle of the ecuadorian jungle

a self-imposed travel delay this time...a farmer drying his fresh cacao beans...right on the road!

ecuadorian lunches are the biggest meal of the day.  
and always include the most delicious soups you've ever tasted!

fresh strawberry juice

all the wood is local and gorgeous.

we stopped in the open air market in bahia for a snack before heading out for the day.
1. fresh peanut butter
2. beautiful colors
3. fresh fish
4. a sweet vendor
5. spices
6. and, always, saint mary. even in the market.

driving up the beach in bahia, on a misty, foggy day

still absolutely breathtaking.

another fresh breakfast!
this one included fresh yucca bread...which i will be trying to replicate immediately.

lunch that day.
fried plantain chips with cool cucumber salsa and a warm, queso of some sort.

boiling-in-the-little-cauldron-peanut soup.  
hands down, the best dish i had in ecuador.

spicy shrimp with tostones and fried eggs

we toured a cattle ranch, owned by one of our friends down there

...and an amazing, 100 year old, colonial style house on the bay.
makes you dream of running a b&b out of it.

view from our b&b.

ramon, here, taught me how to make his fresh ceviche, from the back of his beach truck.
our friend, xavier, took us to his chef friend's house, one night.
gourmet appetizers and massive peruvian entrees, plus wine, for ten bucks a head. 
can't beat it.

the ecuadorians know. their. bread. 
rivals the french.



the beautiful cathedral in cotacachi

the equator!

*sorry that looks odd, one of those pictures is iphone, one is real camera.*

since everyone juices everything down there, they like to invent new ones.
xavier's mother kindly invited us for the afternoon at her casa and served this amazing mix.
lemongrass, ginger, carrot, lime.  

the best road snack ever.

another score!
sumac is run by a solo chef that specializes in $8, 4 course, gourmet dinners.

the indigenous market in otavalo.

volcanoes everywhere!

sampling some of that fresh bread.

just beautiful.

san francisco church in quito

the convent

the president's palace!

the basilica

where else can you climb up in the rafters of an ancient church?!

see that vaulted ceiling? yep, that's what i was just walking on top of.

the virgin, who watches over quito from her mountain

ecuador, you have my heart...

but next time, this cutie that surprised me at the airport, is coming with me :)

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