Coffee Talk : Scrambled Eggs

We had been running around all day, getting things done, taking care of business. After a very full day, we were done in – and Billy and I still had yet to eat dinner. We had fed the little guy earlier knowing our day was going to be nuts, but it was 8:30 pm and we still needed to eat. Neither of us felt like fast food, but we also didn’t feel like making an actual dinner. As usual, we went to our fallback – scrambled eggs. Billy cracked the eggs into the frying pan, while I assembled the tortillas, warming them up. This was a place we had been before – many times, in fact. The pitch black sky outside, the slight chill in the house, the quiet as we worked side by side, making our humble dinner together.

Our son spent 6 weeks in the NICU after he was born. I would get there early in the morning, Billy would join me after work, and we would stay until the nurses told us to please go home and get some rest. Our hospital didn’t allow parents to sleep near the isolettes and their children, which tore at my heart, so we needed to leave if we were going to sleep. We would get home around 9 or 9:30, and every single night for 6 weeks, Billy and I ate scrambled eggs for dinner. At the time, we were just feeding our bodies to keep going. 45 days of scrambled eggs on tortillas, with a sprinkling of cheese.

My whole self remembered this as clearly as if it were happening all over again, when we made that dinner the other night. A late dinner, working quietly together – but this time our son slept just a few feet away in his bedroom. A world of difference, this time.

It’s funny how clearly a meal can bring back a memory. Proust had his madeleines. We all have our madeleines, really. Tea is another instant time machine.  Hot black tea, with a splash of milk and a tsp of sugar. Aromatic, sweet, comforting as the mug warms your hands. The sound of the kettle whistling on the stovetop, the clink of the spoon as it hits the side of the mug when I use it to stir, that in itself is like a warm blanket. This is the drink of my family. As a Scottish-Irish family, we drink a lot of tea. I am pretty sure I had my first “sip” when I was little, around 3, which was mostly milk, less tea. We are a family of tea drinkers.  My husband believes we have no feeling in our mouths, as we can start drinking it immediately, no cooling time needed. When we are blue, troubled, worried, angry, sick, celebrating, we can sit down and have a cup of tea. I remember being little, and getting sick and my mom making me tea and toast. Coming in from playing in the snow and having tea. Spending the night at my grandma’s or my aunt’s, and in the morning, splitting a pot of tea. Spilling our woes or our successes over tea. “Would you like a cup of tea?” might be the most uttered question in our family. We end holiday celebrations, usually all quietly sitting around drinking our tea, and talking. I drink tea as I read, as I relax, when I do homework. I have it with breakfast, in the evening, with dessert, with toast, or on its own. It is a constant companion, and has been my whole life. I remember one time I got into an argument with my husband before I was married, and my mother came up to us, and very sweetly said, “Let’s all go have a cup of tea”, because in our family, this is how we solve problems. With tea.

Rice pudding reminds me of steamy kitchens in the middle of winter. Coconut tarts and empire biscuits transport me to all the Christmas days of my life. And now, scrambled eggs will forever remind me of those first 45 days of my child’s life, when my husband and I bedraggled, weary, worried, ate scrambled eggs together every night.
What about you? Is there something that resonates with you?

Feet in the Snow, Heart Dreaming of Gardens

I always wait for the snow in January to begin planning my garden. For years, this meant gathering my catalogs, shucking on my winter gear, and braving the snow-covered roads to meet my uncle for coffee, doughnuts, and conversation about what we were going to plant this year. He recently hung up his shovel and rake,  passed on his secrets and some gardening tools to me, and is enjoying retirement from the garden. After a lifetime of some eighty years, tilling the earth, planting the seeds, and tending the small new plants as they grow, he deserves to be able to sit back now and just let others do the dirty work. 

Last night it snowed. I woke up to a winter wonderland, the kind that dreams are born of. This time though, I have my coffee and my cats while my little son sleeps warm and snug in his bedroom. Instead of catalogs, I am armed with my Pinterest board

This year, I am whittling down my garden a tad, which seems contrary to my goal of seeing my own food chain and practicing some self-sufficiency. I am trying to however, be realistic, and grow what I need, with maybe a little extra. I don’t think that this year I can start many of my own seeds. I also want to make good choices, and utilize all that I grow. I already have talks of a family and friend veggie co-op in the works to trade extra harvests and possibly even homemade food items, like canned veggies, dehydrated fruit, jams, and bread. This year, I want to be more mindful of what I am planting, and why, instead of being the kid in the candy shop who wants it all.

So this year, I am keeping it more simple. 
Herbs for sure. Potatoes, butternut squash that runs the length of our fence line and down the alley of our neighborhood, and the neighbors can keep what grows on their fences. Pumpkins. Peanuts. Kale for my little second cousins’ bunnies. Sugar snap peas, because I love them. Cucumber, and a salad garden. Green beans on a trellis. A few tomato plants because no matter how hard I try I can’t grow a decent tomato. Garlic and chives, because chives look so pretty and purple fluffy. Carrots grown alone, in fine dirt that allows them to grow big and strong. And flowers – lots of flowers. 

I want a bench added this year too. One where my uncle can sit, holding my son, and enjoying the warmth of the summer sun. 

If I close my eyes, I can picture it perfectly.

How about you? Any plans for gardens in your future?

It’s Freezing!

Oh Michigan, it is definitely winter now. Temps below zero or hovering right above are keeping this little family in the house!

We have been spared thus far though the more severe winter weather that other parts of the country are experiencing however. Not sure how that happened but comparatively, it could be worse! Usually on cold days I am so industrious, bustling about, making bread, or baking something in the oven, or cleaning and organizing places in the house that I usually bypass due to time constraints. Today though, I am being a bit lazy. A little bit dreamy. I want to woolgather in my wooly socks. I want to huddle under blankets with my family and books and multiple cups of tea and coffee and hot chocolate. It is a cold that has made me snuggly.

This year, a year I plan on being more mindful and paying more attention to my own inner needs, I am going to go with that feeling.

If I want to blog and not clean up the last of the detritus from Christmas, I will.

If I want to play around on Pinterest, without planning on making anything from it, I will.

If I want to sit around in my yoga pants and super warm cabin socks, drinking from my fat round belly mug, I will.

And yeah, there are the things I will need to do. Like entertain my almost two year old when he gets up from his nap. Feed him. Feed me. Feed my husband. The husband actually made us all a breakfast of delicious French toast this morning, so I will reciprocate with dinner. I am thinking soup, but then in the winter, I pretty much always think soup, it’s my favorite food group. Tonight I foresee a bubbling pot of tortellini white bean soup on the stove, with a loaf of crusty bread unmade by me, and perhaps a glass of wine, all in my future. Until then, I plan on just hanging out here, letting the day slowly unwind itself and me along with it.

Not everyone stays inside on snow days. In fact, before Punk we used to snow hike all the time. Now we mostly stay in, especially on super cold days like today. Maybe when he gets a little bigger I won’t be so worried, but he is still just so little. My friend Kelly is not afraid of the snow either. In fact, he rather relishes it, tromping about the early hours taking photos of the winter kissed landscaped, or whiles away afternoons in the snow taking some gorgeous photos. 

Here are two of my favorites, with two very different subjects, but still both absolutely stunning.

I love this photo so much. The composition, the focus, the bright colors, the vivid white, and even the echo of brown and texture from her hood to the nest. It’s stunning.
I love this one too. The stillness yet the awareness, the energy you feel lurking beneath the calm, and the calm itself. The colors again, are perfect echoes from the horse to the trees to the snowy landscape.

Kelly’s photos run the gamut from sweet little baby photo shoots to sweeping landscapes to urban gritty photos to photos of the human form. You can check his photos out here. Please note that some photos include nudes, tastefully done. If you like what you see, he also has a GoFundMe right now to replace his equipment. Kelly is the consummate artist, and chooses not to sell his photos for large amounts of money, but rather sells them for whatever people want to offer him, in an effort to put art in the hands of more people. You can check out an article about that endeavor here, if you are interested.

So what about you? What do you do on cold, wintry days?

A Few Quick Posh Product Reviews

I am sure all of us know someone who sells something, from 31 bags to Rodan and Fields to Jamberry to Perfectly Posh to the multitudes of healthy living products, like Thrive, doTerra, etc. I try my best to support them any way that I can, and while I can’t always buy their products, I do feel one thing I can do is promote them! I think we need to build our friends up, and this is an easy way to do it. So when my friend Jennifer signed up as a Perfectly Posh consultant, offering samples in return for fair and honest reviews, I volunteered. I figured I would get to try some fun new things and help a friend all at the same time!
A few quick and awesome facts about the company:
Perfectly Posh is made in the USA, not tested on animals, and is made from natural ingredients with many vegan options. There are just so many wins there!!
The first thing I tried was the Enchant Tress Hair Serum. I have crazy hair – it likes to do its own thing, poofing out when it wants to (or when it is humid), and basically living its own best life, most of the time. I don’t have a ton of time, caring for my 1.5 year old special needs son. It seems we are always out the door to therapy or some doctor’s appointment, and I am not organized enough to get us BOTH ready in the morning. So I focus on him and figure he’s so cute no one will pay much attention to me. But back to the product:
I loved it! I loved it so much, that I bought it. It is perfect for my thick, wavy hair. I can shower, throw some of this in my hair, dry it, and bam, I’m done and my hair looks great! Super easy. Just be careful – this is definitely one of those things where a little goes a long way. Too much and you will look like an oil slick spilled all over your hair. 
This name makes me giggle! 
I use masks occasionally from time to time, but not a ton – I’m pretty sure this product changed my mind on that! I looked like a crazy person with it on, and did manage not to scare my kid while wearing it, so yay for that! It felt good, tingly and like it was doing stuff to my face, but not in a bad way. My face didn’t feel super tight or itchy, and when I removed it, it felt so smooth and looked so.. fresh! It was a great pick me up for my skin and my ego. It is kind of a gross mess when you remove it, but that could just be my own user error. 
Another delicious product. I love love loved the scent of this lotion – mmm who knew pomegranate and bergamot could smell so good together! My hands are perennially dry, so bad that lately they have been cracking and bleeding!! Yuck. This lotion does a fabulicious job of not feeling greasy but taking care of the problem, while smelling amazing. Again, another product I ended up buying.
Sadly, this was not a favorite of mine. It just didn’t wow me, and felt sort of slick and thin feeling. It wasn’t too bad, but not really anything to write home (or a blog post) about. It also could just be that it was the wrong formula for me and my skin.
I was so excited for this one! Peppermint is my favorite in winter, and hello, this has caffeine in it too! Bonus! Unfortunately, this was another bummer. Probably my least favorite product, and this was actually one I bought without trying first. I don’t find it very moisturizing at all, just kind of clumpy and dry, and it is so very skinny in size, it’s just weird. 
The same in quality of product as the Happy Dance Hand Creme, but just in a different scent. It was very pleasant as well, but I just personally preferred the scent of Happy Dance more.
Overall, I was pleased with what I tried, to the point that I bought a few items for myself before Christmas, which I rarely do, and plan on scheduling a party for February. If you are interested, you can check out their line here!

*Please note – I received free product samples in exchange for honest and fair reviews. Post also includes referral links.

The #ToddlerLife

Well, we made it to midnight but it was touch and go there for a bit! 
The day of New Year’s Eve my brother and his family moved, and we spent the day helping them. I loved being involved in the process, but it made for a long day. Our little guy was with grandma all day, and we headed home around 5 to round him up and take him back to my brother’s house. We planned on a low key New Year’s Eve, with our babies and pizza. 
The kids had other plans.
The two took turns it seems, being crazy fussy – a combination of a weird day, off routine, overtired, and being somewhere unfamiliar, all were affecting them pretty profoundly. One would cry then the other. And back and forth and so on. The adults finished our dinner of pizza as fast as we could, taking turns herding the tots in between bites and chatter. Finally around 9 p.m., when I think we were hoping the kiddos would be asleep, we actually all got to just sit down briefly instead, and toast to the new year, and the new house. Despite the exhaustion of all of us, it was a great moment, and a great way to start the new year. My brother and his wife are my best friends, and I am so happy for them. I think of all the memories that they will have, and that we will make with them as well, in the new place. We toasted, we enjoyed the moment, then we had to move on – us back to our house, and them putting the Bean to bed. 
Punk fell asleep immediately when we got home, and Billy and I succeeded in keeping our eyes open until the ball dropped, but just barely! We shared a new year’s smooch, and took ourselves off to bed for a much needed sleep as well. It was by far one of our less exciting New Year’s Eves, but one that we will always remember, nevertheless.
How about you? How was your NYE? Quiet with family like ours, or were you out and about painting the town red? There is something to be said for either option!