wiggly tooths

Luke : You know what mama, I do not like wiggly tooths.

me : They feel weird huh?

Luke : It feels like a rotten bee in your mouth.

me : A bee? Like a bee that buzzes?

Luke : No, like a dead one.

I laugh.

Luke : Wiggly tooths just feel bad!

{he was more than happy to wiggle that tooth out in exchange for three gold dollars from the tooth fairy}

 

wiggly tooths

 

wiggly tooths

 

wiggly tooths

 

This little bitty post sat here all day long….. waiting for me to add the photos and hit publish.

Monday, Monday….. I suppose there is good reason for all the songs written about this day. It's always hard for me to shift back into the weekday rhythm. Especially when our weekend is a rather zoo-ish one. And it was. We ran about and got different kids to different spots for two birthday parties, an art lesson, a music lesson, a play-date, and to & from the bus to campus….. which seems like a lot until you divide the number of activities by the number of children.

It was an unusually busy weekend. But in the mix of it, people still got fed, the big brother home from school was doted upon, no one was left anywhere, and I enjoyed some wine with that cute guy I married. I'm calling it a job well done. Saturday night I even stayed up until 1:30 with that teenage boy of mine. Talking away about life. Surreal is being on the parent side of those conversations…. I still don't know how it happened so fast. And by the way, he came home this weekend after being gone just 3 weeks and surprised us all by officially being taller than his dad. Ahem.

Sometimes within the same breath I'm talking to one about wiggly tooths & fairies, and the other about teenage love. I just sort of pause and think wow. This life is amazing. It's crazy and messy and beautiful and just amazing.

And I'm totally dragging this tooth fairy thing out as long as I can….. 

 

lemon cranberry scones

Here it is, the scone recipe~~

I made these at Christmas time inspired by this recipe. I switched things up a bit adding whole grain flour and a whole lot of other tweaks. I didn't mess much with the butter though. These babies have got a heaping ton of it…. and are they ever delicious.

I've been meaning to make them again & re-photograph them because I'm not thrilled with the photos I'm sharing with you. But in the spirit of those last two posts, (here & here) I'm going to just let it be and share it like it is. And while I'd love to hang out & chat for a bit…. I've got a crazy road trip – running errands – picking up our oldest for the weekend sort of day ahead of me…. so I've gotta run. 

 

But seriously, you should make these scones this weekend.

 

lemon cranberry scones

 

Lemon Cranberry Scones

 1.5  cups fresh cranberries

 1/2  cup light brown sugar

 zest of 2 lemons  (meyer if you can find them)

 3  TBSP fresh lemon juice

 1  cup whole wheat pastry flour

 1.5  cups unbleached white flour

 1  TBSP baking powder

 1/2  teaspoon salt

 12  tablespoons chilled unsalted butter

 1  egg

 1/2  cup milk or half & half (I used milk)

 extra flour for rolling

 

lemon cranberry scones

  

Heat the oven to 400ºF and prepare two baking sheets by lining them with parchment paper or lightly coating with oil or butter.

Beat the egg & milk together, set aside. In the bowl of a food processor, chop the cranberries lightly & pour into a separate bowl. Add brown sugar, lemon zest & lemon juice to the cranberries.

Wipe out the food processor so it's nice & dry.Then add the flours, baking powder, and salt. Pulse once to mix. Cut the chilled butter into small pieces and add to the flour in the food processor. Process until fine and crumbly. Pour into the cranberry mixture bowl and gently combine. Stir in the beaten egg and milk. * the secret to really good scones is to not over-mix and leave little bits of butter in the batter*

Sprinkle the counter with flour, and dump the dough out on it. It will be very wet and sticky. Gently roll out, liberally flouring and cut into desired shapes. I did squares because it was easy. Use a spatula to gently lift the scones onto the pan. Bake until the edges are golden brown and the top is just barely beginning to brown. 15 minutes or so.
Makes 12 large scones.
  

lemon cranberry scones

 

EXTRA STUFF~~~~
*if your batter seems too moist to roll, you can add a little extra flour 1 TBSP at a time…. don't overdo it though, it will interfere with the tender bite of a good scone. You could also chill the dough for an hour or so…. if you're patient. Which I'm not.

*if you don't have or don't like cranberries, leave them out!

*if you happen to be a lemon addict…. add a 1/2 tsp of good quality lemon extract to the cranberry mixture and/or a bit of finely chopped candied lemon peel.

*I think ginger would pair nicely too. Some candied ginger on top and either fresh or ground dried ginger in the batter.

*I really have to go now before I think of something else….
  

and now…..

and now....

Wow.

I wasn't really sure what would happen on Friday when I shared that post. I wondered if perhaps a mass exodus would un-subscribe and run fleeing away thinking I was either crazy or certainly far from the image in their minds. But then you all just surprised me in your sweet little ways by sending tons of love in your comments and emails. Thank you.

Of course, I'm also trying to figure out how the heck I follow a post like that. "Here, have a lemon scone recipe." That doesn't really work does it? I mean, lemon scones are good and all…. but it's just sort of a trivial follow up to pouring a piece of your soul out onto a computer screen and receiving such love.

All those courageous words you shared had me thinking these past few days. Over and over you told me that you wanted to spill your own confessions. Say it like it is. Be brave. Many of you told me you struggled with feeling good enough… and I think this is what blew my mind the most. Why, as women, do we have these unreal expectations of what we should do? Of how people should perceive us? Why do we spend so much energy being "good"? We cook, clean, volunteer, work a job, raise kids, help our friends & family, and so much more. But we don't make enough time for us. And worse, we put on a facade all too often. You know, we play nice.

I think some of getting things done & taking care of business is unavoidable….. but self care should also make that to-do list. Taking a tiny speck of time to ourselves every day. Sharing coffee or wine with people that make us laugh until we cry. Writing, painting, gardening, meditating, cooking, playing music, or whatever makes your heart sing. We overextend and we give so much that we have little left when giving to ourselves. We're spread so thinly that we lose the joy of living in this moment…. this beautiful life. What the crap, right? I mean why is this such a common thread in our culture?

I want you all to know. You totally and completely freaking rock. For reals. If you can get up and walk through your day with love in your heart…. you are doing it right. I don't care if you pour your pasta sauce from a jar or make it from the garden…. in the end no one is going to give a shit about the pasta sauce. Nobody is going to care if you dusted. The love is what's gonna count. Don't be so hard on yourself. Be brave. Be courageous. Be real. We can be and do and love so much more as a tribe, as sisters. And I am grateful and humble to have you be a part of mine.

With Love,

Stephinie

sometimes

sometimes

{photo by Jade}

Sometimes I sit here with nothing to say.

I think about posting a few random photos and just simply saying "hi" to you all. Which would probably be fine with friends and family who stop in looking more for kid photos than scoby smuggling and rambling random bits (goodness there's a lot of those, huh?)

I try to think of something fun to share. Something amazing. Witty. Creative. But sometimes all that's here is just life. The stuff we all do daily. I know some folks are bordering on poetry when they write about doing laundry or mending clothing. But to put it bluntly, I ain't that kind of girl. I don't often find inner peace while scrubbing toilets and folding a gazillion loads of laundry. I don't hate it either, it just sort of is.

There really isn't anything crazy magical going on here. It's more or less the same sort of thing any family raising up kids is doing. Especially if you're the simple living type and spend a lofty chunk of your day making things that the rest of the world buys in a store. Like breadgranolalaundry soap and beer. Does anyone else find the irony in what we do being coined as the simple life?

I've been looking in a lot…. getting to know the monkeys in my head. Making time to write on a regular basis. Recording stories…. musings… You know, typical journal-y stuff. I'm sort of hanging out in this quiet spot and soaking up a lot of stuff.

Which reminds me of a story. 

Last month while the kids were attending their homeschool reading & writing group I confided in a writer friend that I felt stuck. "I feel that writing is something I need to do…. but I can't seem to get the right thing out."

She smiled and said, "you're tired of being nice."

She offered up some other advice too. Make writing a daily practice and write down stuff that you don't want anyone else to read, open your heart up. Make yourself vulnerable. She said I should read Anne Lamott.

I chewed on this for the last few weeks. Especially the nice part. I think know she hit the nail on the head with that one. I realized I don't want to be nice…. I want to be real. I want my voice to shine through on these pages, at least most of the time. I think people blog for different reasons. Some folks want to share all the pretty fluff in life. Some use it as an online journal for their inner most thoughts. Some use it to complain about their in laws. I think all of this is fine & good. Accept maybe that last one…. boy could that start a fire.

Real for me is compassionate, kind, honest, raw. I don't want this space here to look perfect. Perhaps a little better than me standing in the hallway screeching at my kids to pick up the legos that are strewn from their bedroom to the living room…

I want you guys to know that after six years of not having one, we just bought a tv. I let my kids eat sugar. I say bad words. Especially that *f* word under my breath when something goes really wrong. {can I blame that one on being married to a sailor for 14 years?} All of my kids have uttered the word s**t before the age of four and it is most definitely my fault. My dad gets the credit for "damn it". I'm terrible at grammar, especially on the placement of commas. I'm hot headed by nature. I've read oodles of self help buddhist books to help me calm my temper and not shriek like a mad woman when things go awry. Yes, they've helped. I'm 5'1" and think I'm as big as a bear. My teenage son calls it Napoleon Complex. This makes me laugh. Sometimes I stand at the meat counter in the grocery store and stare at it, wishing I knew nothing of factory farms and could just buy the damn hamburger and make meatloaf for dinner. But I don't. There are plastic toys in my house and I just pinned a tutorial on how to make a Chewbacca stuffed doll. I'm easily distracted. An introvert. A military wife. A terrible dancer and a good singer. I don't think the simple life is simple. But I know it's worth it. I love my kids so much it makes my heart ache. Like the way your cheeks feel when you smile & laugh for a whole evening with your best of friends. When that first little babe was placed in my single mama nearly 17 year old arms, I was hooked. In love. It's taken me three days to be brave enough to hit the publish button for this (long winded) post. I'm completely & totally imperfect. Real.

I guess I just thought you should know.

 

32 times around the sun

32 times around the sun

 

There I am on the first trip 'round. Story has it I sat on a balloon and when it popped everyone thought for sure I'd cry.

Instead I got a big grin on my face and sat on several more.

Thirty-two times around the sun. I swear the trips are getting shorter!

(thanks mama for the picture this morning, I love it!)

 

round these parts

round these parts

 

round these parts

 

round these parts

   

Goodness the last few days flew by.

We're getting back into our regular rhythm after the holidays. The big boy went back to Hogwarts after a month long break. Theater, music & writing practices have resumed for the others and each day is buzzing along. Joe is learning the banjo and brewing up a storm. He just finished up a delicious vanilla porter and bottled two batches of red wine. I love the uneven recycled bottles all lined up on our table.

He & Sophia recently built & painted a ukulele which turned out really, really adorable. I love that the two of them collaborated on this project.

 

round these parts

 

round these parts

 

round these parts

 

round these parts

 

The garden is humming along and providing us with salads, greens and herbs. I've been cutting back the cilantro as fast as it grows and tossing it {and parsley} into everything I cook. Oh sweet little winter garden, how I do love thee.

I'm looking forward to starting this next week and have been drooling over the classes available here. {especially the fall & sea sessions} I won't be headed there this year, but I do have a wishful list of online classes. You can check out the bios on the SAW teachers to find some really amazing online courses.

So I guess that's a little bit of what's going on round these parts.

How about yours?

 

The SCOBY Smuggler (but first the snow)

My parent's little Alaskan town is buried under 18+ feet of snow.

At first it was fun. Then it was crazy, and after that a little scary.

Buildings were buckling under the weight of all of it… and it just kept snowing! My mom barely made it home last week after meeting up with me in Seattle. "Steph, if you'd forgotten where you parked your car at the airport, you'd never find it!" Luckily mom hadn't parked there and dad was waiting for her plane to arrive. The idea of losing your car in a tiny gravel parking lot where it is still free to park at the airport made me giggle….. that is until (the ever creative yarn dyeing) Shelly posted this. See that first picture? Those are cars! And then this video started popping up an all my facebook pal's pages. And then it started raining. Making the avalanche threat a huge concern.

Cordova made CNN and NPR.

And when a state of emergency was called, the National Guard showed up. (You all know I love them!)

The whole town is taking time off work to volunteer, get things cleared and shoveled, feed crews of hungry people, pulling 12+ hour days and they get to the end of it and post on their facebook "we're getting this done, I love Cordova!"

This sweet little town where Joe & I met never ceases to amaze me. As the bookstore owner Kelly said in the video "Keep calm & shovel on." You people rock!

…………………………………………………………………………………….

While my mom was traveling home to all of that excitement. I was kind of, sort of, maybe eluding airport people on the contents of my carry on.

I was trying to get this onto the plane:

 

SCOBY smuggler

 

A SCOBY.

It sort of looks like a weird thick dense piece of lunch meat. A SCOBY {symbiotic culture of bacteria & yeasts} is used to make Kombucha. At my friend's ceremony, a towel covered jar was on the counter hiding a huge SCOBY in it. When I sort of freaked and said "woah, that is one huge SCOBY!!" I was gifted with a big slice of it to take home. Isn't that the coolest wedding favor ever? {Thank you Kathy!}

After the ceremony I got to know Kathy (the groom's mom) a little more and she's one of those people that you just love right away. An amazing caring, giving, beautiful sort of person. By the time I said goodbye to everyone, I was determined to carry that SCOBY around the city with my mom the next few days and most certainly get it home.

I drained the tea off of it and triple bagged it for it's journey. Tucking it in between pajama pants in my suitcase. As I went through security I thought for sure I would have some explaining to do. As the luggage pieces went through, I pulled the SCOBY suitcase down beside me. A few pieces were being rescanned so I gently pushed my suitcase next to a bench nearby. Fingers crossed. Hoping they wouldn't randomly search through it. And they didn't.

Yeah!!

Last night I started my first batch of well traveled Kombucha. It will be a fun memory every time I drink a glass of it.

{as a disclaimer, I completely support & understand the purpose of TSA. I was not bringing a liquid or gel onto the plane or breaking any rules… though I am totally grateful for not having to explain the strange item in the plastic bag!}

 

home

I’m home!

It’s good to be getting settled in. We had a crazy busy weekend and we’re off to our homeschool group today but I thought I’d pop in and say hi.

Hi!!!!

And share a picture of the newlyweds…. dancing on the ferry we took to the ceremony (before the the wedding). It totally captures the moment. Remember in that last post when I mentioned getting all sappy? I pretty much had tears in my eyes all day when these two got hitched… and come to think of it there wasn’t a dry eye in the house. For real! 

 

J+T = love!

 

Congrats Jake & Therese!

I’ve got one foot out the door on my way to homeschool Reading & Writing and a visit to our farm. See you tomorrow with a story about traveling with a kombucha scoby and possibly eluding the officials. Yes, really.