Saturday, November 26

an unlikely murder.

I really enjoyed taking photos of my cranberry sauce the other day, so today I decided to play around with a pomegranate. I've called this little set, "The Unlikely Murder."






Food photography may be becoming another new passion! 

Thursday, November 24


Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! Iris and I had a nice dinner yesterday at the squadron. This morning, I went with Lena to the airport to pick up her husband just returning from Afghanistan, then I had a nice long talk online with Marius when we got home. I made a delicious vegetarian stew for myself with fire roasted tomatoes, quinoa, beans and green olives, along with numerous spices. All in all, it was a good day even though Marius couldn't be here to share it with us in person.

In the last few hours of this day, I sit here reflecting upon what it is I am truly thankful for. My life, the experience of living and all the wonder it brings. My Family, my health and my wealth, which has provided the roof over my head and all the amenities we are so fortunate to own. I am thankful that we don't have to worry where our next paycheck is coming from or that we don't have to choose between heating our home and affording food. I am appreciative of my military family and my friends, whom have given of themselves to help us. I am thankful for my daughter for bringing so much more light into my life, and who has bettered me in more ways than she will ever know.

Most of all, I am thankful for my husband and for our marriage. My words fail me in describing the perfect love we share. Thank you, Marius, for teaching me with such patience to love myself. You've loved me unconditionally, and shown me the greatest compassion and tenderness that I have ever known. Your incredible steadfastness and sensitivity astonish me every day. You are truly an exceptional man. I am so thankful to have you in my life and I look forward to spending every day of eternity together. I will always follow the road which leads me to you. 


Wednesday, November 23

lullaby moon kitty

I've mentioned on countless occasions that Iris' favorite toys are actually her books. I can't help but buy her new ones all the time because not only am I exhausted of reading the same ones over and over, but she simply glows from the inside out when presented with a new book. About three months ago, at Kohl's, I spotted this book called Lullaby Moon. It's about a mama (or papa) and baby mouse coming home after a day of playing, and getting ready for bed. The illustrations are soft and warm with a lyrical story. Iris took to the characters immediately. Especially - no surprise - the kitty.



See the little kitty stuffed animal tucked into bed with the baby mouse? Iris would squeal and point this kitty out every time we read this story. It got to the point that she would disrupt my reading and just flip all the way to the last two pages. I knew I wouldn't find a stuffed animal of this character anywhere online, so I decided to make one myself.


He took me around twelve hours to design, sew and embroider. 
Everything was done entirely by hand; I've never used a sewing machine in my life!


Iris absolutely adores him - he gets a lot of love. Making him inspired me to create some felt food for her as well. This is the first crafting I've done in years. I used to make jewelry, knit, work with clay and all sorts of things that I haven't touched in a long time. Now that I'm a stay at home mom, I'm really enjoying exploring my creativity again!

Tuesday, November 22

simple and delicious cranberry sauce

Welcome to my very first recipe post! Yes, also my second post of the evening; I'm trying to make up for lost time! Thanksgiving is the day after tomorrow... can you believe it?? This month has simply flown by, don't you think so? I thought I'd share my very simple and yummy recipe for cranberry sauce.

Gather your ingredients! Oops, the orange peels got mostly cut out of the picture.

Cranberries are just gorgeous little things. I used to eat them raw as a child and maybe I still do.

Combine water and sugar, and bring to a boil.

Add cranberries and orange peels.

Bring back to a boil and listen to those cranberries pop!

Reduce heat and simmer for about 12 minutes, stirring occasionally.

If you're using a wooden spoon, it will be tinted a lovely color!

After 12 minutes, the mixture will have started to thicken and turn a deep ruby red.

Squeeze some fresh orange juice, maybe an 1/8 of a cup or so.

Sprinkle some cinnamon, but not too much. That stuff is powerful!

Allow to cool, thicken and become edible. With a spoon. No turkey necessary.

Ta-da! Homemade, whole cranberry sauce, that was easy!

There are so many different variations you can do with this. Usually, I add chopped walnuts in with the cranberries and orange peel but since I'm making this for a variety of people who may have nut allergies, I decided to leave it out. We found out about the allergies the hard way last year, oops! I made double this recipe for tomorrow's thanksgiving party, so I hope it gets eaten! Otherwise, this bowl of cranberry and I are going to become very well acquainted. 

Simple Cranberry Sauce Recipe
(adapted from Smitten Kitchen)

1 cup water
1 cup sugar
12 oz fresh cranberries
4-5 orange julienne strips (reserve the orange)

Combine water and sugar in a medium sized saucepan and bring to a boil. 
Add cranberries and orange julienne and bring to a boil. 
Reduce heat and simmer approximately 12 minutes - enjoy the sounds of cranberries popping!
Turn off the heat and squeeze some fresh orange juice into the sauce, then sprinkle some cinnamon to taste - it should add a layer of flavor, but not be overpowering. 
Stir and allow to cool to room temperature before serving, and be sure to remove the orange peels. May be refrigerated for up to a week.

well, hello there!

It's certainly been a while! I have been so busy planning and shopping for Christmas that I've all but forgotten about my blog. I'm usually one of those last minute shoppers, or at least I used to be. In the last couple of years I've found great pleasure in plotting Christmas presents way in advance. This year, I'm making a concerted effort to support small businesses and craft a few little things myself, as well. I've done quite a bit of shopping on, which has actually become a bit of an obsession. One of my long term goals is to open my own shop there in the next few years! Anyway, here are a few instagram pictures from today!

Iris drinking from her Klean Kanteen sippy cup.

There was a lot of this going on today...

We made about a half a gallon of cranberry sauce!

Iris running free... or tightrope walking?

She played with this leaf for a while.

During dinner, we watched a show about black holes. Fascinating stuff.

A pre-bedtime routine snack of strawberries, which has become somewhat of a tradition for us.

And finally, the song I've been playing on repeat for most of the day! 

Friday, November 18

kitty plush carry!

Iris loves to help me do laundry.
Especially when that involves draping clothes over herself, running around and 
spreading them all over the house! So, last night...


What in the world is this low quality cellphone picture of? 
Why yes, it's a pair of my pajama pants tied around my child...


...creating her very first baby carrier!
The baby she's carrying around is a felt kitty plush that I designed and sewed for her
based on a character in one of her favorite books. 


She carried her kitty plush around like this for a half hour, petting and talking to him. 
She's a natural!

Monday, November 14

the story of Santa.

I haven't been around my sweet blog very much lately. I actually have a lot of posts on my mind, including thoughts on my marriage and how motherhood has changed me... I've just been busy doing other things around the house and with Iris! It's a little early to be talking about Christmas, but this was inspired by a long-time friend of mine asking how I feel about Santa. If you don't know, there is a revolution of people who are proclaiming that encouraging your children to believe in Santa is cruel because you're lying to them. While I think this is a bit silly, I can also sympathize. My opinion is slightly mixed.

(Note: I should take this opportunity to share that our family is atheist. We respect the values taught by Jesus, as well as many other teachings from religions around the world but we do not believe in any kind of external deity.)

I know that both Marius and I both want to raise Iris to be self-aware and questioning of the world around her. We want her to feel confident in forming her own opinions based on what she experiences. But I also want her to realize that things aren't always as they seem, and that magic may indeed be real. I would hate to deprive Iris of the magic I felt as a child - I believed that Santa was a real person until around 10 years old! On the other hand, I can appreciate just viewing him as "The Christmas Spirit." 

If Iris asked me whether Santa was real, I would tell her, "yes, Santa is real. He is a spirit of giving who reminds the world to be thankful for what they have in their lives, and to give unto others with kindness - to treat others as you would want to be treated." As for why he brings presents, I would explain that it's a "you receive but what you give." I think that being a model for kindness and elective charity (ie. donating food, working at a soup kitchen, bringing used clothes/toys to a women's shelter, etc) is a great way to show your child how helping others can be beneficial both physically and emotionally for everyone involved. Warmth and kindness in general is wonderful too. 

"He sees you when you're sleeping, he knows when you're awake, he knows if you've been bad or good so be good for goodness sake" may be viewed simply as a child learning to be accountable for their words or actions. I would tell her there are no good or bad children, but you do know what things are acceptable and make you feel happy, and what things aren't. 

I really feel as though the story of Santa is special and magical. I remember feeling that fire of joy in my belly on Christmas morning when I saw that Santa had come to eat the cookies I made for him, filled my stocking and brought me something special because he was a kind man who existed to bring joy to children around the world. I don't view Santa as "a lie," but then I did not experience any kind of emotional trauma involving my parents telling me to grow up or anything of the like. If Iris asked me about any of the other technical details, I would probably agree that Santa lives at the North Pole, comes down the chimney, eats cookies, etc, but continue to reinforce the idea that Santa is "the spirit of Christmas" so that when she does find out or decide that he is not real in the physical sense, she will have a deeper understanding of what Christmas is really all about - the spirit within all of us that has the capacity to be excellent to each other. 

Thursday, November 10

13 months.

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Iris, you are 13 months old today! You had your 12 month well-baby appointment not long ago and weighed around 18.8lbs. We saw a new doctor this time, the same woman who took care of your skin infection a few months ago. She was wonderful! There was no discussion of percentiles and no critiquing of your weight or questioning of your ability to eat solid foods, as the old pediatrician was prone to doing. There was genuine interaction with both of us, unlike the old doctor who was very spacey and insincere. I'm glad we've finally found a doctor who seems to share our family's views!

You are walking very steadily now, even full on running! When I ask, you point excitedly to your hair, head, ears, teeth, tongue, hands, fingers, tummy, bellybutton, feet, and toes! You know what I mean when I ask you to "say" something, and you use words for different types of food like "caaaado" for avocado, and sounds like "beep beep!" You are also learning to put two words together, for example "kitty memem" when you want me to nurse your kitty blanket!

You are very open with giving big hugs and kisses, but only when you want them! You also blow raspberries on me! You enjoy wandering around the house with a sweatshirt or t-shirt in your mouth or over your face. You know how to tickle my feet and also use my hair to tickle my face. During our daily walks outside, you wave to everyone that walks by and also get very enthusiastic about barking dogs. 

You love your Teddy, playing with your (clean) diapers, and reading. You eat a wide variety of foods now along with nursing voraciously as usual. Your favorites are avocado, strawberries, clementines and pasta with tomato sauce! Pictures of Papa cause you to grin and exclaim, "Papapapa!" I can see that you miss him so much when he is away. Your newest favorite outdoor activity is being handed my keys, and running over to where the mailboxes are. You lift your arms to be picked up and jingle the keys, say "muh!" for mail and pull out whatever is inside.

You are interested in everything and love life so well. You are determined, strong and so very spirited. 
You are so intense and focused in everything you do.
The moments when you turn from your adventures and see me looking at you, you raise your arms and open your mouth wide with a squeal of glee and run back into my arms... those are the best. I marvel at your perfect joy.
I love you. You can always run back to me.

Monday, November 7

meow meow!

It's very rare that I can capture a good image of our kitty. He's camera shy and too quick!
I think I was successful today, though!

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Sunlit bath time.

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This is his Love Muffin expression.