Sunday, April 29, 2012


It's that time again for a chicken update.  All of the little chicks are growing up, and the ones that we have been fostering for friends have moved on to their own places.  Well, except for one.  Because I am almost 100% certain that she is not a she.  Her name was Rosie, but we are now calling her Rosie Roosevelt Roy just to have all of our bases covered.  And now is the perfect time for us to prove exactly how hardcore of homesteaders we are and prepare the stew pot.  Yeah, that's not gonna happen.  She will probably be pawned off on a friend who has more moxie than I do in that area; and all the children involved will be told that she went to a happy place. 
Is there any doubt?  Doesn't she look rather Roosterish?
Aidan's sweet little lady, Jojo
Chloe's pretty girl, Cinnamon Bun

Once again, Aidan and Chloe's chickens are the best of friends. This time though, in direct contrast to our older hens, Aidan's chicken is the feisty, brave one, and Cinnamon Bun is the calm, laid back follower. (Although she looks like some kind of fierce hawk like creature)

Rosie has been guarding the young chicks fiercely until the other night when she abandoned the young ones to nestle up in the nesting box with the big girls. She/he had a smug look of satisfaction being surrounded by all the fluffy hens.

Friday, April 27, 2012

More Babies

I had the privilege recently of photographing a friend's brand new treasure.  He is the sweetest little peanut, and still in that perfect, snuggly, sack of beans stage.  And no, it didn't make me want one...  not really anyway. I'm super happy that my little ones can feed themselves, and clean up their own messes.  And tuck me in bed when I have a headache.


(Isn't he gorgeous?!)

(It's my personal opinion that wee little baby feet are possibly one of the cutest things ever. )

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

To My First Love...

I fell in love when I was 16.  It was literally instantaneous.  One moment he was my friend, and the next moment, I just knew I couldn't live without him.  I sort of had a fairytale romance idea of love.  (Go figure)  I completely expected adoration and devotion.  I expected him to put up with my sass and indulge my quirkiness.  But I was 16, and still had a lot to learn about love. 

I'm twice as old now.  And have spent half of my life with the boy I first fell in love with.  (Oh yes, I found what I wanted and I held on.  I beat off his other admirers with a stick-figuratively speaking...kind of.) And what I've learned is how priceless and beautiful is the love that I've been given.  I took it for granted at 16, but I don't at 32.

For 16 years, he's been my biggest cheerleader and supporter of any, and all, of my dreams.  He makes me brave.  He sees me as I want to be, and not as I am.  When my dad died in September, he grieved for the man that he loved as much as I did, privately, so that he could be strong for me.  He still puts up with my sass and smiles at my quirks.  He's my strongest defender, and on my best days, I don't deserve him.


I have this tidbit of memory of wrinkled, work worn hands holding a blue bound book and smoothing back the thick, creamy first pages as a gravelly voice read the dedication.  Ever since, I have been unusually fascinated with dedications.  They are my first stop in a book, and I often sit and wonder at the stories behind the words.  I will probably never write a book.  But if I did, I would dedicate it to my first love.  And now you have a glimpse at the story behind the words.  So here's to you, Chris Cummings, another 16 years won't be long enough.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Butternut Squash Pizza

It might sound a little weird, but it actually tastes totally inspired. 


I found this on a blog...original recipe here...and had to try it because we are a pizza loving family.  I made some alterations because I didn't have, well, actually, a bunch of the ingredients, but I did have butternut squash so it went a little something like this:

Homemade pizza dough
Roasted butternut squash with 1/2 C whipping cream, thyme, garlic, and onion flakes
Goat cheese (because we love goat cheese, and if I could figure out how to work in a goat tied to a tree in the backyard to give me milk, I just might do it)
Caramelized leek
Toasted pecans
Peaches (canned last season with rum and cloves) "grilled" on a cast iron skillet

I do think something salty like prosciutto would have been a lovely addition.  And maybe some spicy arugula (but it isn't quite big enough to harvest from my garden yet).

Kudos to Megan at The Art of Homemaking for this amazing creation.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Weekend Rewind

Aidan's make up game was cancelled on Sunday because of the rain.  The unexpected news gifted us with a few more hours of hibernation, cozy under mounds of blankets with the window open and filling the room with chilly morning air.  A Colorado thunderstorm is not to be wasted so when the midnight  thunder and lightning began, I stayed awake and soaked in the flashes of lightning lighting up the room and resounding booms that brought Chloe out of her bed and into ours.

I had two fun photo sessions this week.  One family was working on an adoption album, and the other was of a 11 day old newborn.  Just a couple of sneak peeks....



I came home Sunday evening after being away for a couple of hours and found that Chris had done the shopping for dinner, and made lasagna and bread that immediately embraced me with it's toasty, meaty fragrance when I walked in the door.  Not only that, he had also done the dishes.  It was amazing.  He tells me that that is what is like for him coming home every night from work.  (Well okay, maybe minus the dishes being done).

The kids passports came in the mail which makes our trip to Germany next month seem so much closer, and real.

I now have the Monday chores of sorting through the random piles of paper and objects that have appeared scattered on top of every available surface. And facing the piles of laundry that have also magically accumulated during the weekend.  And of course my favorite, planning meals and grocery shopping.  (That part might have been a little sarcastic.)  Nevertheless, let the cleaning frenzy begin.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Recent Projects

The first time I took pregnancy shots a few years ago, they were awful.  Not at all Sarah's fault but when you take a (very) pregnant gal, add a coat, a baby on one hip, then take the shot head's not very flattering.  (Sarah-if you get pregnant again, I promise to do much better!)  Fortunately for me, friends keep getting pregnant, so I've been able to practice a bit more and hopefully present them in a way that doesn't make you think of large sea animals.



These rolls are such a fun change from the traditional cinnamon rolls, I've made them twice in one week.


Grandma's Orange Rolls (with a twist)  adapted from Taste of Home

1 T yeast
1/4 C warm water (110-115F)
1 C warm almond milk (110-115F)
1/4 C butter
1/4 C sugar
1 tsp salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
3 1/2-3 3/4 C flour

1 C sugar
1/2 C coconut oil, melted
4 T grated orange peel
Poppy seeds, or whole cardamom seeds, crushed

1 C powdered sugar
4 tsp butter, softened
4-5 tsp orange juice
1/2 tsp lemon extract

In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in water.  In a large bowl, mix milk, butter, sugar,salt, and egg.  Add yeast mixture and blend. With wooden spoon, stir in enough flour to make a soft dough.  Knead until smooth and elastic. (6-8 min)  Place in greased bowl, turning once to grease top.  Cover and let rise in warm place until doubled-about an hour.  Punch dough down, divide in half and roll each half into 15X10 in rectangle.  Mix filling ingredients (except poppy seeds or cardamom) until smooth. Spread half the filling over each rectangle and sprinkle with either poppy seeds or cardamom.  Roll up, jellyroll style, starting with long end.  Cut each into 12 rolls.  (The melted coconut butter will sort of ooze out a little bit which will make a scrumptious glaze on the bottom of the rolls)  Place in two round cake pans.  Cover and let rise until doubled-about 45 min, or whenever you get back from soccer practice.  Bake at 375 for 20-25 minutes until lightly browned.  Mix glaze ingredients, spread over warm rolls. Yumm!  Have with some Stumptown coffee if you are lucky enough to have family in Oregon to send you some.  (Or I guess you could order it online, but I prefer the other method)


Isn't she darling? And a much cuter picture then me hauling compost which is also what I have been doing this week.  I sent in my next to last photo project this week. One more to go, and I am DONE. Happy almost done day to me!  I think I'll go eat  another roll.  Happy Friday.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Mother Teresa I am not

We have 3 kids in our neighborhood that we have been trying to love on for a couple of years.  Two of them live with their grandma and her boyfriend because their mom is strung out on drugs and an incompetent mother.  The third child lives in the same house but he's the son of the boyfriend.  They live in a house for low income people, and spend the days as soon as they get out of school circling the neighborhood on their bikes looking for anyone to give them attention.  Sometimes they show up on our doorstep because they are locked out of the house.  In my mind, this is a beautiful opportunity to love on someone who really needs it.  In reality, it's a lot more messy than that. 

I get it that a crappy home life doesn't tend to produce well mannered children.  I do.  And I'm really compassionate-most of the time.  But sometimes, like when they shove my little peanut in the mud, steal from us, and generally be rude, disrespectful, ungrateful, and try to lock me out of my house; I really struggle with the whole compassion thing.  It's a heck of a lot easier to show love with a checkbook and pay for soccer, and Christmas presents, then it is to have them at my house every day.  I can hand out after school snacks and those kinds of things just fine, but it gets really hard to love someone who takes what you give, and always asks for more.  In my mind, they would be grateful and ask why on earth we are being so kind, and want to change their behaviour.  In reality, they are rarely grateful, and for some reason have come to expect that we will just do things for them. 

I hear the way their caregivers treat them, and I understand why they don't want to be at their house.  You would think that would make it easier for me to really love them.  And I can pull off  "nice"pretty well.  But love?  Mother Teresa I am not, apparently. 


On Easter, Aidan and Chloe dug through their stuff to find treasures to put in plastic eggs and hide for our neighbors.  They pulled out their own coins and treasured Lego pieces and gum.  Chloe had at first protested that they didn't deserve it.  And she was exactly right, but none of us deserved Easter.  Two of the children reacted with the sort of glee that makes you so happy to have given.  One of the boys, however, sat on the stoop and complained the whole time that he didn't get what he wanted, and it wasn't fair. 

And in that moment, I saw clearly that sometimes that is exactly how I behave.  Ungrateful, and sitting on the step whining about what someone else has, instead of being thankful for what I didn't deserve, but received anyway.

And as for loving my neighbor, sometimes it's darn difficult. Sometimes, I have trouble liking my neighbor, much less loving them.  But we keep trying.  And maybe someday, we'll get it right.  Obviously I'm not in line for sainthood.  But I am in the line of messy, screwed up people, who are trying their best to follow Christ, sometimes falling on our faces, and sometimes getting it right--but mostly just keeping on trying.

Easter and Other Stuff

This is my very first attempt to sit in bed and type this blog from my very new iPad. The auto correct and I are having some issues working together so if something slips by that makes no sense, just blame Apple.We had a lovely weekend. Chloe had her first soccer game on Saturday and she was adorable AND fast. Girl has some wheels on her.


We spent Easter Sunday celebrating with friends and family, and friends and family of family. (just go with it- it made sense in my head.) Lent seemed really long this year and it wasn't just the meatless, sugarless, coffeeless cooking I was doing. (everyone gave up something special to them this year so it left me the task of being more creative than usual.) Lots of the time I felt like I was trudging through parts of me that I would rather leave unseen and unexplored, and it felt like Easter would never come. But finally it did, and there is something (and everything) about Hope rising at Easter that felt really powerful this year. I couldn't help but hope, and wonder, if maybe some of our dreams that have felt dead and buried, might come to life after all.