Spring is officially here.  And, in typical Nashville style the weather dropped to the thirties and we’ve been layering up again. The past couple of weeks, however, have been beautiful and bright and we’ve been pulling out our warm weather clothing once again.  Trees are budding and blooming, the streets are lined with the most vivid pink and yellow blooms, and the lawns are turning from pale brown to a spring green.  I love this time of year.  Like all the seasons, I find the change refreshing. It provides a time to enjoy a new start, to freshen up, clean out, move things around. I have always loved moving and rearranging things. Ever since I was a little girl it’s been something I dream about. Walking into any given home, I will do a quick glance and then redesign it in my own mind, as to what I would do if I lived in that space. Designing homes is one of my passions, and one I’m looking forward to doing more of soon.

As we step into spring, I am specifically honing in on some of my own passions and interests. In order to do so, I have spent the past couple of months learning how to find good rest, as well as discovering what my body needs to feel replenished. While I can’t say I have found the answer, I have developed some habits and rhythms that work well for me. One thing I know is that rest is something specific to each individual. How I am fulfilled and refreshed is very different than Andy. As a couple, we have acknowledged and learned how to make the time and effort to meet both of our needs.  In doing so, we have found much more peace and grace throughout our weeks with kids, work, and our daily tasks. I know that what is ahead for us is going to require a good balance of rest and action so this has been a good time of growth for us as a family.

Another area I am excited about is cooking! Looking at new recipes, seeing seasonal fruits pop up at the market (hello strawberries!), and doing more outdoor bbq is a nice change from the heartier winter menu we’ve enjoyed.  I really do love the cold, winter months. I love finding coziness in all of it.  And, I believe that the seasons are given to us and our bodies for specific reasons.  I think that we need a time of year to build strength for the upcoming warm months. Winter is a beautiful time for reflection, in our bodies and how we eat… foods that warm and deeply nourish. As well as reflecting with our minds, dreaming and planning for the days where productivity is at it’s peak and the daylight has been extended. In our home, finding meals that don’t weigh us down, but invigorate us and get others involved in the kitchen (inside or out), brings us fulfillment and togetherness. We have been watching a show on Netflix titled COOKED. Have any of you watched it? It has me thinking so much more about where our food comes from, how things originated, culturally and how we can change some of our eating habits. I love finding challenges like this and making some healthy changes for our home.

Happy Spring to all of you! I hope you are finding inspiration in the change of the season wherever you are. xo

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These past couple of weeks have been a bit of a frenzy when it came to the organizational part of my life. We made each day work, getting bits done of whatever was needed, but not really stretching ourself, like I like to do when it comes to our home education. Last year I scheduled monthly planning days for myself into our school calendar.  For whatever reason (I have no idea why?!?!), I didn’t do that this year and I finally realized that I was in major need of a planning day! On Monday of this week, I gave the kids the day off of school and got out all my essentials for getting the remainder of March planned out well.

Let me tell you how I wish at times I had those organizational skills like I saw my mom use growing up.  I am quite good at the art of procrastination, and I don’t always do the best with staying on task. This time was different though. I was determined to be successful and to not carry the work into Tuesday. I sat down in the morning and just began. Sometimes beginning is the first step, like writing a school paper and getting stuck on that first sentence that everyone (at some point in life) struggles with. I went through the calendar and I read through different books we use or will be using this month.  Distractions were very present the entire day, drawing me to anything but what I was supposed to be doing. I mean the kitchen (like it often does) called to me and I paused to bake an afternoon snack. (What is wrong with me?!) However, I carried on, worked through lunch, and into the afternoon when a friend popped by. I sat and visited for an hour because truthfully people in my life are more important than some tasks at the moment. Once she had left I sat and completed all that was needed, doing the final printouts of our schedules and feeling a great sense of accomplishment.

Why these little, seemingly mundane tasks are difficult for me I do not know.  However, what I got from this little planning day of mine was this… I not only felt fulfilled, but an immense amount of peace come over my being.  I was at ease. Things that I knew were weekly planning tasks were all done for the month! Disciplining myself to plan ahead allowed more freedom in my life for other creative outlets I have struggled with finding the time to do. Andy told me years ago that becoming disciplined, and setting boundaries actually results in more freedom in life. As I cooked dinner that night, I was lighter. I knew that I had found a new sense of freedom in my life, one I am ready to carry on.

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Last weekend I made one of my family’s favorite baked goods for Sunday breakfast. Lemon-Lemon Loaf comes from one of my go-to baking cookbooks. However, I changed things up a bit, using Meyer lemons instead and substituting some orange in as well… causing the whole thing to be more of a citrus loaf than the usual very tart lemon we are used to.  It proved to be a delicious loaf, one that wasn’t quite as puckering to your taste buds as the original; but for me making some variations from what we are used to is nice from time to time.  (Isn’t that the case in so many areas of our life?!)

The recipe is accessible in a printable format here, and I will note the changes that I’ve made below.  I have made this countless times, and what I love is that it makes two loaves with one batter, and it can easily be frozen, after soaking in the syrup but prior to putting on the glaze. If you are one who likes tart, stick with the original recipe, or if you just need to use up some oranges as well, add that in.  I am sure it will be worth the time to make and those you are feeding will love you for it! xo

CITRUS LOAF VARIATION
• Substitute equal amounts of lemon juice and zest with Meyer lemons.
• Substitute equal amounts freshly squeezed orange juice in the syrup portion.
• Use only 4 tablespoons of lemon for the glaze to allow for a thicker consistency which we like.
• I used all of the icing to cover the top completely and drizzle down the sides.  Of course, the icing is completely optional.

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Recently, Ottie has been sounding out her letters and asking what certain “words” spell… Mom what does C-L-O spell!? My response, if possible, is to turn her “word” into an actual word and to teach her how to write it and sound it out.  If you add the letters “S-E “to the end of “C-L-O” it turns into the word close.  Our other kids weren’t this interested in making up their own words by writing random letters and making a word out of it, so this is a bit new with her, and very fun! And I think she’s quite bright for a four-year old sounding out her letters, and now beginning to understand that every word must have a vowel too! She is a fun one to teach.

With all this spelling she’s been doing lately, she has discovered the word Y-O-U.  This one is my favorite. Multiple times a day, no less than a dozen, she comes to me and says in her sweet soft-spoken voice…

Mom! Guess who I love?!!?…
Who?!
Y-O-U!!!! 

Gahhhhh! My heart has melted nearly one-hundred times as this has been a regular occurrence over the past week. And every time she says it I squeeze her tight and she hugs me back and smiles as big as she can while repeating it over again. There is something so bittersweet about kids getting older, accomplishing little feats, and leaving the baby behind. We’ve done it four times and with her, we are trying to hang onto every single moment because we do know how quickly it goes by before she will be a teenager borrowing my clothes.

Today, while giving me a “gift” she made for me, her kind-hearted voice asked me if I knew who she loved. Who?! I asked her, as I opened it up and saw the page adorned with the letters Y-O-U, repeatedly. Y-O-U she said, smiling. This gift is more than a piece of paper. These words I will save and cherish for all of my days, because Guess who I love, little one? … Y-O-U. 

 

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Happy Monday and happy Leap Day! Funny how these extra days in February creep up on us every four years.  For me, though, I’m ready to put February behind and move onto March.. and SPRING! Not that it was a bad month, in any way.  It was rather nice, and short. Andy was traveling a bit more this month, so we like to try to make things extra fun when he’s away.  We did get a bit more snow and then the past couple of weekends have been so sunny and quite warm for this time of year. The kids have gone from pants and jackets to shorts and t-shirts within days of each other. With March upon us, I’m quite looking forward to sunshiny days ahead. During this transition into Spring, when this area is mostly bug-free, I’ll be opening the windows (screen or not!) and welcoming the warm cool breeze for all of us to enjoy.

Here’s a bit of what our days have included over the past couple of weeks…

+ Breakfast on the first sunshine-filled Saturday we had seen in a while.
+ We really love Iron Man around here.
+ Citrus loaf bread (just another form of cake, right!?) on Sunday morning… recipe to come in a couple of days!
+ Almost time to put her marshmallow jacket away till next winter!
+ Ever since Andy’s been back from his quick visit to our hometown, we’ve been attempting to make our coffee cubano which our (sweetest, and most darling barista!) niece made for him.
+ Watching one of Melissa McCarthy’s funny SNL skits.
+ Just another morning with her and her “sunnies.”
+ New blooms, and a moment to sit while waiting for breakfast.
+ What is it with kids wanting to play on the street grates?!
+ Hey guys can you look up at me? and lovin Axel’s expression.
+ Just back from a trip and making us his regularly requested restaurant-worthy pizza.
+ Back in those glasses again!
+ Coconut + chocolate muffins… a recipe for coconut bread that Ottie and I changed up one morning and turned into yummy muffins.
+ Our stoop and walkway are thoroughly designed by kids and neighborhood friends these days.

Have a great week!

 

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