Yesterday was Julian's second birthday. 
It seems that every day he communicates a little clearer. I have been waiting for those moments since we knew we were expecting. Sometimes I can not believe that the little stories spilling from his mind are comprehendible, what treasures! Watching his personality unfold is one of the greatest rewards of parenthood for me. 

So, for his birthday, I wanted to make him something fitting for a budding little mind. Puzzles and blocks seem to be his favorite things these days so I wanted to combine the two. I saw this example on pinterest and asked my dad to make the blocks to be painted. I chose six colors of acrylic paint and painted each six sides in different patterns to form six different puzzles he could put together. I just free handed them, using sponge brushes with sharp angled points made that much easier. The possibilities are really endless, considering you can mix and match all the sides for even more interesting combinations. It was a wonderfully simple project, and a nice break from all my holiday  knitting projects. There is nothing better (in my opinion) than presenting him with something I have made for him on his birthday and watching him explore and enjoy it.  

Hoping you had a lovely Christmas, and wonderful new year!
Thanks for reading, 


gift making

busy. busy. busy.
fun. fun. fun.

I can't wait to get a moment
 to share it all with you!

Till then,
what are you making for whom this holiday season?



Kalanag Knits Shop is Open!

The last few weeks I have been preparing to open a little pop up shop for a few days selling the gorgeous yarns I recycle! They are limited and will go fast so come stop by and see what the offerings are! Here are just a few,

Thanks for reading,


Cables & Lace

This week I started swatching on my first real design (in my studio haha), sneaking away at night after the holiday festivities to knit. It is incredible and a little overwhelming to consider all of the possibilities that come with writing your own designs and patterns. This little thing will turn into the front panels of a pretty cable and lace cardigan for little miss Naomi. Im excited to start working with numbers, although I have always been terrible at math, so a challenge is in store. I know I want it to be a classic construction, set in sleeves, very tailored and structured but I still have to decide if I want to start from the top or bottom of all the pieces. I recently heard Cirilia say something, somewhere, about how she thinks decreases look prettier than increases and I would have to agree, after really thinking about it. Then there is the ribbing, a dainty lace rib, or a sturdy fisherman's rib to balance out the sweetness of the lace? Cast on? Finishing? So many questions and possibilities!  A sweet new friend of mine gave me some beautiful vintage shell buttons a few weeks ago, and I think it will go perfectly, so at least I don't have to think about that. The yarn is the ever gorgeous and heirloom quality brooklyn tweed loft in blanket fort, Naomi's mother picked it up while she was in Brooklyn. She fell in love with it just as much as I told her she would. Maybe I am crazy for starting such a project amidst the chaos of holiday knitting, but I can't stop thinking and doodling about it. What do you think? 

thanks for reading, 


A New Studio

The other night Xavier and I were having a long conversation about feeling validated. I found myself talking a lot about how I feel validated when I meet certain expectations for myself in the realm of mothering, and wifehood. I know there is more to me than being a wife and mother, but there are certainly times when I get lost in the role, or trying to fulfill that expectation that I set for myself. We talked a lot about knitting and creative process, what his creative process means to him, how he expresses himself. It was certainly a good conversation. 

The next day he set up this beautiful space for me to find those things I tend to loose, like confidence and peace. Having my own physical space to explore my imagination, knit and unravel, and even maybe do a bit of reading is such a luxury to me. A table high enough so that the baby can't reach those sharp tools like seam rippers, and delicate things like lace on the needles, what a gift! 

I have to find a few baskets for storage, and put up some hooks for drying yarn but it already feels so special. In a feature I recently did, I talked about having structure in my life, and this space will certainly help me balance my day a bit more. When I'm in my studio, I can focus because I know everything else is done, this is my time to create and be inspired. Besides that, the fact that it is a gift from my husband, an encouragement to find confidence in my creativity, makes it even better. 


Balsamic Vinaigrette & Pear Salad

A few weeks ago I had a pear, gorgonzola and walnut salad from a fancy cheese and salad shop downtown. The dressing was a creamy and sweet balsamic vinaigrette, so delicious. I feel a little silly making such a huge deal about this combination but it was new to me, (I'm so behind the culinary trends,  forgive me haha) so I went crazy over it. The next trip to the grocery store I checked out a few bottles of balsamic vinaigrettes to read the ingredients and see if I could make it at home. Pretty much all of the bottles included sugar as the third or fourth ingredient, which, because the FDA regulations require the ingredients to be listed in quantitative order, means that most of those bottled dressings were sugar and oil with some salt and preservatives. So I went home and mixed together what I assumed a balsamic vinigrette is really supposed to be made of, balsamic vinegar, oil and a little salt and pepper. I mean, it should have been common sense, people have been making salads way before we had food processors and refrigeration. I kind of assumed it would difficult to do, words like "emulsify" sound kind of scary. I felt even sillier when I realized all I had to do was shake a few things together in a mason jar. 

Balsamic Vinaigrette:

1/4 c good quality balsamic vinegar 
3/4 c good quality olive oil 
two cloves of garlic, smashed
1 teaspoon of honey


Combine ingredients & shake the mason jar until it is "emulsified".
That simple. It does separate in the fridge, but all you have to do is shake it all up again and its fine. 
Now, Im actually not a huge fan of eating gorgonzola. I can appreciate it for what it is, stinky, astringent and moldy, it has its place in things and worked well in the fancy cheese shop salad but I wouldn't buy it to keep at home. I do absolutely love a good sharp parmesan reggiano, but preccorino is a good and more affordable substitute. (have I told you that I have to budget cheese into my grocery list? cheese and olive oil are my splurges, I will eat lentil soup three times a week if I can finish is off with some good olive oil and cheese!) So, when I made the salad at home I used:

two big handfuls of spring mix
1/2 a bosc pear, cut into chunks 
(thin slices are prettier but awkward to eat)
a couple of shaves of peccorino 
(I shave off bits with a knife, nothing fancy) 
balsamic vinaigrette 

I've added in a few different things through out the week to use in this salad, including some candied nuts, roasted sweet potato chunks. apples, and some cous cous with sage and cheese. It would also be a good dressing to keep on hand to go along with all the thanksgiving left overs. It is a pretty sweet salad, so adding some savory aspects would be good too, like roasted turkey, or even throwing the stuffing (or dressing if you are from the south) in and it would be great! That's really what a salad should be I think, lots of greens, with a good dressing and whatever else you have in the fridge. I love the idea of a panzanella, a type of bread salad, but have never had one! I might try to make one this week with left overs as well. 

As always, 
thank you for reading, 


Soulful Soup v.3 Emily from Thoughts And Biro Sketches

One of my absolute favorite things about blogging is the connections I get to make. I found Emily's blog a few months ago and instantly felt connected to her through her words, recipes and photographs. It was one of those "oh you too?" moments. Since, we have been emailing and sharing when we find the time. When I thought about the soup series I knew I wanted to ask her for a recipe. This recipe particularly, really peaks my interest because it has two of my favorite things, greek yogurt and curry powder, she had me at that! I am so excited to share her recipe with you! 

Some days call for simple food that is nourishing and easy to prepare. Soup fits into that category for me - when its raining outside, when we're busy with projects, when our lids are heavy with fatigue or the mind is overwhelmed with decisions. This lightly spiced zucchini soup is a favourite of mine - so easy to prepare, delicious tasting and very filling. Its a great way to use up an abundance or garden-grown zucchinis or marrows that are looking a bit on the sorry side too. 

You will need (for 4 or so servings):

1 large onion, roughly sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil
good pinch of sea salt
1-2 tablespoons curry powder
1 kilogram zucchinis or marrows, sliced
1.5 litres vegetable or chicken broth
freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup **uncooked** white rice (I like to use brown rice for the nutty flavour)

In a heavy-based pot gently sauté onions with olive oil and salt for 5 minutes, or until onion is translucent. Stir in curry powder and cook for a further 2 minutes. Add the zucchini, stock, pepper and rice and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer another 20-30 minutes. Blend for a smoother consistency or mash vigerously with a potato masher for a more rustic edge. Serve with a dollop of thick greek yoghurt and a sprinkle of fresh mint.


Doesn't that sound delicious?
Thanks for reading, 



Things have been quiet in this space, I know. This last month or so has been one filled with much healing, blessings and inward reflection mixed with bouts of deep sadness. I almost decided to stop writing all together, and perhaps take everything down, but I'm sure that was just a bit of panic setting in, causing me to consider removing any and all distractions from my faith, my family and my creating. But most things are just fine in moderation, just like this blog. When I have the time and something helpful, or inspiring, or delicious to share, I will. I can not believe that the holiday season is upon us, I wonder where has time gone, and I remind myself that it has been a very difficult season. In good and bad seasons of life, you can loose track of time.
What is there to say? So many of my inner thoughts and emotions have been devoted to coming to terms with loosing Sarah, dealing with the regrets of what I never said, or not making spending time with her more of a priority. Honestly, the reality of our mortality has shaken me. It has been hard for me to sleep, imaginary worst case scenarios tend to make themselves at home in my time between awake and dreaming. It has been a battle to not let fear of loosing over take me, but through much prayer and blessings of new friendships I have been encouraged and comforted. In fact, I paused for a second while writing this post to answer a rapping at the door (don't wake the baby who ever you are!) and was met with a package all the way from Paris. My sweet friend Emily from thewindhover sent me the most beautiful little crocheted collar, tea, yarn, rose scented cookies and recipe cards. My heart rejoices because I know that Emily acts out of love and inspiration from God, who sees my sadness and hears my requests.


Birthday Socks

This last week was my husbands birthday. He's quite the funny man, and doesn't like a big fuss to be made about him, especially on birthdays and holidays and what not. For the last few years of knowing and loving this dear man, I have had a hard time figuring out how to actually bless him on those days,with out him worrying about how much something cost, or missing the mark with a gift. For his first father's day I wasn't working yet and couldn't figure out how to get him a gift with out him seeing the amount missing out of the account and come asking questions. I was a clever girl and asked a friend of ours to pick out a pedal board for him, and that I would pay him back later. Well, come father's day I presented him with a small gift of a new pocket knife, and then brought out the new and very expensive pedal board. He was excited about it but then asked me how I paid for it, to which I replied, "Well, we still have to pay for it, I told Chris you would write him a check tomorrow". 

You can have your chuckle about it, go on, don't worry, I know that was a pretty funny thing to try and do. Well, this year, I decided to try and actually do something special for him that was really economical ( which actually blesses him more than me spending money we don't have on a big gift like the pedal board ). The first birthday we spent together I knit him a huge and luxurious scarf, made out of a heathered mossy colored alpaca wool. He is pretty hot blooded, always complaining about being too hot, so as you can guess, he never wears it because alpaca is extremely warm! So, a scarf or cowl was out of the question. My sweet friend Elise just made her husband a pair of socks for his birthday, and they went over very well, so I figured that would be a great place to start. I knew I couldn't spend any money on the kind of yarn I wanted to make him some socks out of, so I looked through the sweaters I had collected for unraveling and settled on this really handsome and tweedy silk/ wool blend. The color is really beautiful, it has flecks of gold, which I am assuming is the silk because it has the slightest of sheen to it. I got to unraveling it, washing it and hanging it to dry while I looked for the right pattern for his socks. 

Now, let me tell you, these socks are pretty ridiculous looking when they are not being worn. They are heavily ribbed so they are really skinny and long, and look like hilarious and expensive clown shoe socks. Xaiver had a good laugh when took a tape measure to his foot and then after I finished the first one demanded he try them on for fit. Then he asked that I put it on and do a little dance, which I am ashamed to say that I did, but in my defense, putting on a funny looking sock that is way to big for your foot is pretty chuckle inducing, and even got the baby to laugh. Thankfully, the ribbing did what it was supposed to do and they stretched and fit his foot perfectly snug, the gusset was perfect and comfortable, so he said. I finished the second one and felt pretty proud of myself, and excited to present him with his first pair of hand knit socks from his wife for his birthday. He said he liked them and thanked me, but his reaction wasn't what I would have liked (any one who is a fellow knitting gift giver will relate to that statement). I felt a little sad and thought that maybe he was just humoring me for my effort.

Well, the next day I find them all stretched out and looking worn. I don't think I have ever been so happy to find his socks strewn about on the floor. He actually did like them, liked them enough to wear them to work even! That is a pretty big deal considering he works on his feet all day, lifting and roasting literally hundreds of pounds of coffee. I usually don't share too much about our marriage in this space, but I thought this was a nice and fitting story to tell you. Now I get to figure out what to use the rest of this really gorgeous yarn for, probably a pair of the same socks for my dad, and brothers for Christmas, I will probably have enough for them all which is pretty exciting.

Have any funny birthday or sock knitting stories? I'd love to hear them!
Thanks for reading, 


All willy nilly

Has a week slipped by with out me posting?! I guess it has. Let me attribute that to a dose of flu like symptoms and the turmoil of the last month catching up with me physically. I am thankful though, to have a few days to rest and take it easy. I didn't mind plopping my sniffling self down on the couch while Julian naps to read East of Eden for a few days, or hearing my husband tell me to rest, that will never get old! A few other things happened this week, like my dear one's 35th birthday! I only got to knitting him one sock...the other is on the needles, he was not surprised. We had some lentil soup and lamb samosas with friends, followed by a very manly and seriously minimalist but equally delicious chocolate cake. Julian said "Choco lot" for the first time, he is more like me that I realized, and has learned to put his cup IN the sink when he is finished with it. This is a major accomplishment, considering he kept misunderstanding me and putting in the trash bin at first. We also conquered his fear of the toilet monster, he will actually sit on it! There is no potty business going on, just sitting, and reading his new favorite (although we have had it since he was born) book, Sushi for Babies. I think its pretty funny that he wants to read about sushi while sitting on the potty. Oh! And, this is perhaps selfish of me to be excited about, but he is following directions so well these days, I can actually send him in to fetch a rouge knitting needle or ball of yarn from under the couch! What a blessing indeed. 

How has your week been? 
Thanks for reading, 


Friday Senses

Making: These simple color block mitts, minus the color blocking, for my mother. 

Seeing: Everything with a different perspective these days. 

Smelling: Coffee & a heavily spiced apple galette in the oven.

Tasting: Salted Caramel Lip balm, this lovely balm lasts for hours. 

Hearing: The NPR membership drive, are you a member?! 

Feeling: A little drained, but thankful and excited for the weekend to spend with my family. 

Loving: The new relationships in my life, I've been having a few "Oh, you to?! I thought I was the only one" moments in this past week. 

Reading: Not too much this week actually.

Praying: For continued healing for those who knew and loved our dear Sarah. 

What is your Friday feeling like?

Thanks to Elise for the "Friday Senses" Idea. 


Sage Shortbread Cookies

Settling in back home, the only logical thing for me to do is to cook and bake and retreat into my knitting. I think I have said something along the lines of this before, and Im certainly not the first to say it, but food is so much more than food, it truly is a gift. This past week has given me a new set of eyes, tuned into the gradients of thankfulness. Everything is new, and fleeting, and must be enjoyed; this moment, this taste, this feeling, will be gone sooner than we know.

My sweet friend Aiyana came over for coffee to catch up on Tuesday morning. She recently started homeschooling all three of her brilliant children, so they came along too. Julian was beyond tickled to play with them all, and had what I believe may be his first crush. He got all googlie eyed at Aiyana's beautiful blonde hair, blue eyed daughter Lucy. He has great taste, but then again the Taylor family all seem to have walked out of a glossy coffee table book of iconic models or something. 

It was a little chilly in the house so I decided that because the children were coming over some sort of treat should be made. Maybe I just wanted some cookies with my coffee, and the children coming over was just a convenient excuse. Soon enough, short bread cookies were in the oven and the smell of sage was wafting through the air, ready to greet them at the door. When we took them out of the oven Aiyana and I agreed that yes, these were more than just alright, these were dangerously good. 

So of course, I'll share the simple recipe with you. 

1 c Org. all purpose flour 
1/2 c Org. whole wheat pastry flour 
1/2 cup Org. unsalted butter 
3 tablespoons of dark brown sugar 
a handful of sage leaves 
a few sprigs of thyme, stems removed 
a tinesy bit of turbanado sugar 
(or any large grain sugar)

Preheat oven to 325. Chop (or grate with a box grater) the 1/2 cup butter. Combine all the other ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and pulse a few times to get the herbs chopped up and sugar incorporated. Toss the butter into the food processor and pulse maybe 15 times, or until the butter is a little smaller than the size of peas. Lightly dust work surface with flour and dump the contents of the food processor bowl unceremoniously onto the table. Knead until it starts to come together into a ball, it takes a minute or too and at first the dough is really crumbly but it will get there. Roll the dough out to about 1/4 in thickness. I actually used the lid of spice jar to cut the cookies into rounds because who has several different sizes of circular cookie dough cutters on hand? Not me. Throw some parchment paper onto the cookie sheet and transfer the dough rounds on to the sheet. They don't really grow much so you can put them relatively close together. Sprinkle with a little turbanado sugar and leave them to bake for about 20 minutes, let them go a little longer if they need it. Let them cool a bit and then try not to eat them all in one sitting.

I actually had some roasted butternut squash (from a pie I made earlier in the week) and since it was so sweet with nothing in it, I just slathered the puree on to the cookies and called it a cookie sandwich. It tasted like mini thanksgiving day pies on steroids. Sage and butternut squash are a classic and delicious combination, if you haven't already tried it, you are really missing out! The above recipe is really malleable, you could add almost anything into it. Id like to try it with lavender and poppy seed, or maybe some toasted pecans and cinnamon. These would be great to bring to a cookie exchange, or send to a friend because they are so simple but have such great flavor.

What are some of your favorite shortbread cookie recipes? Or memories? 

Thanks for reading.


With open hands

For Sarah
Many thanks for the sympathetic comments and emails sent through the last week, they were heard and taken to heart. What a whirl wind it has been indeed; I don't really know where to start. 
Calling Brittany with the news of our friend's tragic and unexpected passing was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do, and looking back, Im a little embarrassed that I told her over the phone. I had no other choice, I was in shock, and felt that she needed to know as quickly as possible.

With in an hour we both gathered up our things, not sure how long we would be gone, but needing to leave none the less. We drove in bouts of sobs and silence, scattered with attempts at small talk as if we were strangers.  We were both so deeply diving into ourselves for a sense of preservation, to keep it together for the drive.  Poor Julian was almost silent the whole drive, not understanding why Momma was crying and why we left in such a hurry. It felt like we drove 500 miles in an hour, even though it was more like 6 or 7. What do you say in times like this, nothing. Nothing can really be said.

The visitation was indescribable. I had prepared myself for a viewing, hoping to see her for the last time, but instead I was surrounded by thousands of photos of her life, from her birth to the few days before the accident. Most of the photos I had never seen before, treasured family photos that are usually reserved for first dates, graduation parties and scrapbooks. Some were familiar, and a few made me laugh out loud between the tears. All of her favorite albums were being played on shuffle, bringing back a flood of memories, one particularly, was when she drove almost two hours to pick me up from somewhere I should have never been in first place, in the middle of the night. I called her in distress and she left as soon as we hung up. No one had done something like that for me before, but she was just that kind of person, and Im sure I'm not the only one she has done that for. We listened to anathallo and mewithoutyou with the windows down that night, and here I was, hearing those same songs again. 

I had met her brother once before, but not the other family members. Meeting her mother for the first time was gut wrenching, all I could do was tell her how much her daughter impacted me, inspired me and encouraged me in the faith, and thank her for raising Sarah to be that way. I also met the man she had recently started seeing, and told him how happy he made her, that I could tell in the photos I saw of them together.  Her best friend flew in from Ireland, and we hadn't met yet either. We recognized each other right away and didn't need to say much, there was an instant bond knowing that we both loved her, and were loved by her. 

The memorial was a beautiful service, we heard stories and were reminded, celebrated the life that she lived, and all that she had done to inspire us in so many different ways. There was a sermon, truth was spoken and some saught Jesus for the first time in their lives, asked to know Him. This was the truest testament of God's grace and light that shone through Sarah while she was here with us, radiating through even her passing. My heart sang quietly within myself, "O death, where is your victory?".

"You do not have a soul. You are a soul, and you have a body" 
-c.s. lewis 

I usually don't get to deep into my faith in this space, such intimacy is reserved for the ones closest to me, but I truly believe that this is a time such talk is appropriate and needed. While my heart is broken in mourning, I have hope and peace knowing that Sarah is where she was made to be, in unveiled communion with God. The sting of her physical death is soothed by the truth, the truth that I although I do not see her now, in a little while, I will see her again. I know that death has no power over her, or me, through the redemption of Jesus. Her soul lives on indeed, and in the deepest recesses of our hearts and minds she lives on as well, still influencing us in the truth through her actions and love. She won't ever really be gone from us.

It still hurts. I still get that punch to the gut and knot in the throat while doing the dishes, and thinking of her. I miss her dearly, and will continue to miss her, and that is ok. It is alright to miss a friend while they are away, but in reality, she is the one who is home.

The drive home was almost as surreal as the drive there. Sarah cherished fall, it was her favorite season, just like it is mine. It seemed that just over the few days we were in Michigan the trees had decided it was time to change, and the flowers put forth the last good effort before the cold sets in. I had mentioned to Brittany that I had never noticed the dusty purple shades among the rich reds and yellows  of fall before, as we passed fields of wild flowers, and she agreed that she had never noticed either. Being forced to slow down and be thankful for the love and beauty around you lets you see those things. That is something that Sarah was constantly communicating in her photos. From now on, this color will remind me of her, and thank God for the chance to know her, and see her again. 

Thank you again, for all of your prayers, and I ask that you continue to pray for her family and those who love her. 

Thanks for reading,


Today feels like the day after surgery. 

When I was 14, I had my jaw broken in two places. I had to have major corrective surgery, mouth wired shut, the whole deal. When I came out of the sedation there was a raw, fierce pain that was overwhelming and unexpected. The following weeks were painful in healing, and each day brought a different kind of hurt, a deeper hurt, as my body tried to repair the damage. 

Yesterday I woke up to a few text messages on my phone, and I ignored them for a few minutes while I put some steel cut oats on the stove for breakfast. The water kettle was filled and started to boil, waiting to be used for coffee. I can not really explain the next few moments because they seem a bit of a blur. The text messages I had ignored were informing me of the sudden and unexpected death of my sweet sweet friend Sarah, the sender didn't want to call so early and didn't want me to find out through social media. It was heart shattering and jarring and I can not remember a time when my body hurt as much as my heart. 4 hours later Brittany and I were crossing into Michigan, fighting back the tears and trying to be strong for each other. Driving seemed to be the only thing that helped, forward motion, a way to run. 

I want to tell you about her. I want you to know what a beautiful person she is, but those words just do not do her justice. You would just have to have met her, and you would know. People keep using words like, "She has done more in 23 years to further the kingdom of God and serve humanity than most people do in 100". This is not an exaggeration. We feel robbed. She was crossing the street after her art exhibition, and was struck by a motorcyclist, who is still in critical condition. The details don't need to be communicated. The loss is devastating. It was literally a split second, a single decision, to go here, or do that, or in the case of the motorcyclist, to push the limits and go faster than he needed. He has robbed her of her life, of the chance to get married, to have babies, to create the art that she was so passionate about. He has robbed us of a million things, a million things she was to us. 

The only solace I have is knowing that she was received with celebration and jubilee, like a bride on her wedding day, into the arms of Jesus. He said to her, "Well done, dear, welcome home." 

I will be taking a break for a while, to process, to pray and grieve. Please, pray for the comforter to come, and peace to be brought on the hearts of us who love her, and were blessed by her. It still doesn't feel real.

"To give them beauty for ashes,The oil of joy for mourning,The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness"



Fall Sweater

Its pretty hard to get decent shots of a toddler modeling his new sweater. The second photo was snapped after asking him if he wanted his photo taken, I'm guessing that was either a no or a "tough guy" pose. Who knows, either way I think its pretty cute. Maybe he was counting to ten? This was a great little knit. Jane Richmond does such a wonderful job with her simple patterns. A few changes were made but not enough to warrant any sort of recognition. The yarn was reclaimed cashmere and merino, a handsome mix of one strand black, one grey and one white. I can not explain to you the joy I found when handing his finished sweater to him, he nodded with approval and felt how soft it was. My heart sings in these moments.

Oh my, he is growing so quickly.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone.


Friday Senses

Making: A pair of cabled over the knee socks for my new boots! I'd link to it but it is in this book and I can not find the pattern on ravelry!! 

Seeing: A very clean house. I love having the time to keep this place organized and peaceful.

Smelling: Vegetable stock simmering on the stove. 

Tasting: coffee and brownies with pink sea salt. It's ok that I had a brownie for breakfast...

Hearing: Cars wizzing down our street. Having the windows open at our place and the radio off (I usually have NPR on all the time ) I can hear everything going on outside. Yesterday I recognized the sound of our car as Xavier parked it, coming home for lunch. 

Feeling: Balanced. I will have to tell you in a separate post how great staying home has been for me, and for our family. 

Reading: East of Eden. I read it in high school but totally didn't appreciate it. Now that Im getting into reading it again it is becoming a favorite. 

Praying: For creativity in this season. 

Thanks again, Elise, for the Friday Sences Idea.


Soulful Soup v.2 Elise from Dear Family

I am so excited to share my sweet friend Elise with you, readers. She is a constant source of fellowship, inspiration and comfort in times of need. Elise is one of those friends that I pass potential recipes through before I start them, asking weather the gruyere is worth the splurge in this or that, and she always gives great advice (its usually yes, in regards to the gruyere hah) So of course, I asked her to do a guest post with one of her favorite soup recipes. Please enjoy, and get to know my dear, dear friend. 

IMG_3655 IMG_3658 IMG_3665 IMG_3667 
How could I ever follow up Kirstin's lovely post regarding our (and I'm sure yours as well) extreme love for a pot of vegetables, beans and warmth? Soup ends up on our table at least twice a week, but in the winter, we have soup or stew almost every day.

I like routine, and Monday's are my very favorite day. I generally shop for groceries for the week and bring everything home and prep for the upcoming busy days. A whole chicken heads right for a crock pot filled with onions, garlic, lemon and thyme. The chicken will be used for many meals to come, but most importantly, those bones are made into stock, so we can enjoy soup all week long.
If you haven't made chicken stock before, I just take the drippings from the pan I cooked the chicken in, the lemon, thyme, onions and garlic go right into a large stock pot along with the bones. Fill with water and simmer for 8-10 hours. It's so easy and so perfect for the cold nights ahead.

Since we have been a little sick the last few weeks,  I knew we needed a big bowl of vegetables and ginger. So I made carrot ginger soup. It was so simple but we couldn't stop slurping it. It is sweet and earthy from the carrots but spicy and warm from lots of ginger. We served ours with crusty bread, spread with a 1-1 parts dijon and maple syrup, topped with crisp apples and greens.

Carrot Soup
2lbs Carrots, peeled and chopped
2 apples, chopped
1 onion, diced
5tbs ginger, minced
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
6-8 cups stock
3tbs apple cider vinegar
Orange, zest and juice

In a large pot, sweat onions over medium heat. Add garlic and ginger and cook for 10 minutes or until soft. Add carrots, apples, stock, apple cider vinegar, zest and juice of an orange, cinnamon, thyme, salt and pepper. Bring to boil, reduce to simmer and simmer about 30 minutes or until carrots are tender. Start pureeing in batches, using a blender or food processor until smooth. 


Malissa's Garden

Malissa is really doing something special. The plot she is working on is in an area that a lot of people would not be comfortable venturing into, a rough part of Chicago. Despite some of the difficulties she has had in getting the community garden started, the fact that she is there tending, weeding, being available to people that walk by, that really makes a point. There is still living earth underneath the paved over and ugly surfaces, just waiting to be tilled, to be fruitful. 

People are like this too.