Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Day 39- boon- n. a thing that is helpful or beneficial. synonyms: blessing, godsend

Indeed.  Our collective family nose led us to the mountains last weekend to deliver the oldest to Valle Crucis retreat center.  He spent the weekend at a choir school retreat there.  Esther stayed in Davidson to party with her friends.  CC, Rob and I reached Willow Wood  , home of Parlee and Don Chambers late Friday night.  By 11pm with red wine in hand, we were gazing at the stars and breathing in the (much cooler) mountain air from their lofty porch.  Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh.  The Charlotte heat this summer is the stuff of legends.  I DESPISE the heat.  My northern European constitution simply melts in the face of 90'+ days.  The air in Boone began to revive me and  I slept like a baby all night.

In the morning I had time to drink in the the beauty of the porch.  Parlee, master of detail, had set up her studio outside.

After a little coffee and bacon, we visited the Watauga Farmer's Market.  The place was hopping with flowers, music, tomatoes and more flowers.

Sadly, the coffee shop we love in Blowing Rock is down from a fire.
Adjacent to the market grounds is a living museum comprised of several historic cabins that have been
moved to the site.  This cabin housed 12 children.  And their parents.

Museum garden.

More market flowers.  I think I might plant a cutting garden in the spring.
Next we drove into Boone for candy at The Mast General Store.  No self-respecting Burlington can miss a chance for candy.

Sugar is pretty.

Back at the cabin I felt the urge to get out and walk.  The mountain air worked wonders.

Their cabin is in a small enclave of Alpine style homes.
While I was away, CC got to flex her creative muscles with Parlee.

Lunch on the deck bed.

all done.

And then we had to go home.  Thank you Don and Parlee!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
P.S.  Charlotte folks- Willow Wood is available to rent.  See details here.  Their place is beautiful!

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Day 38- Feed the children and the parents.

It's the first day of school in our little family and I have a confession:  I stink at planning meals.  I think about food obsessively when I am hungry, I eat, and then I don't think about food until I get hungry again.  Weird thing about kids:  they are always hungry.  They keep eating.  They never stop having to eat.  But sometimes it creeps up on me- the kids are hungry.  The kids need dinner.  The kids require breakfast.  We need to eat three times a day (and more), every day, no matter what and yet meals often catch me off guard.

But oh dear readers- the beginning of a school year is replete with opportunity for new beginnings. New routines, new teachers and new knowledge come with a new school year.  Maybe just maybe there is room for mom to learn to do something new!  I can try.

Look everyone at Trader Joe's!  This is my shopping list.  On the reverse side is my meal plan for the week.

In all fairness to myself, I have planned meals in the past.  However, the beginning of school seems the perfect time to double down and start with a plan.  I compiled a week of recipes, I drove to Trader Joe's.  I hunted and gathered.  I drove home.  

burrito ingredients.

Cleverly included in my shopping list were the ingredients for breakfast burritos.  I discovered that I love the flavor and idea of the breakfast burrito circa 2001.  15 years later I have followed the whim to make and freeze my own.  THANK YOU PINTEREST FOR MAKING MY DREAMS A REALITY.

the first few.  I wasn't great at rolling but I got better.

Like little children all lined up in a bed.  Burrito babies.  10 of them.  ready to freeze.

Told ya.  All they do is eat.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Day 37-Behold, the craft table.

Alas, we had let the crap in our house gather in the upstairs hallway. Don't know what to do with that empty basket?  Put it on the table in the hallway.  Pile of school papers?  Table in the hallway. Dollclothes? Hallway.    I did not take a photo of it due to shame and embarrassment, but the hallway had begun to look like what you see below.
It was somewhat reminiscent of the Clampett's truck from Beverly Hillbillies.  Except that their truck was way cooler.  And I suspect that's moonshine strapped on the front.  We don't keep moonshine upstairs.  It's all downstairs.  Just to be clear.

I walked upstairs all summer with my eyes closed.  Deep denial was my best friend.  I knew that one day my inner denial would shift.  Some time in late summer I would wake up feeling empowered, organized, and perhaps, beautiful.  The birds would sing, the kids would make their beds, and we would all happily head off to Ikea.

Instead, I awoke one late summer morning with the desperate need to kill time indoors with the kids because of the bloomin' heat.  And Ikea suited my purposes perfectly.  Feed kids.  Kill time.  Walk around in air conditioning because no one has exercised since the 1/2 mile walk we took in Maine to see the lighthouse in July.
It turns out that the music they play in the hallowed halls of Ikea is laced with subliminal messages like:  "you can do this,"  "you are smart enough to handle this," "you is kind," "you is smart," and "you is important."  My summer-ized, relaxed mind received the messages and I found myself full of belief.  Belief in triumph over chaos, belief in my family and belief in utilizing power tools effectively.  So, I planned, I bought necessary Ikea organizational items and I returned home, full of hope and energy.

Have you ever completed a project using items from Ikea?  If so, you know the golden rule of Ikea: "Measure twice, pray three times, go to Ikea every day for a week and then you will have what you need for your project."  The rule held true.  So we went back, we ate again, I measured again, I burned incense to the god of flatpack furniture and made sure to spend some quality time in the returns line.  In between visits to Ikea, we cleared out some of the clutter.  We recycled, we tossed out and we donated.  I got out my drill and went to it.

Behold, the craft table.

Detail.  All markers function.  No crayons were broken constructing this craft space.


Now, I can go downstairs for some moonshine.  Cheers.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Day 36- a teacher, a pool and chickens, oh my!

Summer is winding down.  I have enjoyed summer this year more than ever.  The kids are getting older, we are more settled in here in NC, and summer brings great produce.  We have had a couple of last minute adventures, including more quality time with chickens. :)

It turns out that CC's extraordinary JK and 2nd grade teacher, Jeanette Milam, has a dad who loves to garden and keep chickens.  Her family invited us for a visit last week and I got to see the beautiful hens up close and personal.

No pre-fab ordinary coop for these ladies.  Ms. Milam's dad, Steve Coradini, designed and built this hen palace.

In or out of the coop, these hens have a lovely life!
It turns out that the Coradinis also have a pool!  CC and Esther took a nice dip.  Hello handstand!

Nobody wanted to go home!  Esther and CC had a great time with team Milam.  Thanks Jeanette and Blake!

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Day 35- Beat the heat with beads. And gelato.

It's hot y'all.  Soooo hot.  Esther made a great suggestion last week to beat the heat.  With beads.  At Ain't Miss Bead Haven in Mooresville.  We were first charmed by this store in 2015.  The inventory is prolific and the staff is friendly, helpful and knowledgeable.  I mentioned to the girls that this time we were going to stay as long as possible, to stay out of the menacing heat.

In typical Esther fashion, she had a project already planned in her mind:  for neon chain dangle earrings.

CC and I struggled a bit to find a project.  I sometimes feel like a deer in headlights when faced with so many project possibilities.  Look what CC came up with.  First, she made one for our next door neighbor/honorary family member, Ellison.  Then she made a matching one for herself.

pretty sparkly things at every turn
After almost an hour browsing, this string of natural pearls caught my eye.  I transformed it into a necklace and earrings.  LOVE THE RESULT.

The girls are loving their necklaces.  Twinsies.

Then, a true nose-following moment transpired.  As we made our way back home I noticed this beautiful pizzeria in a warehouse on Main Street in Mooresville.  I felt guilty about buying lunch when we had food at home, but summer is short.  Alas, summer is almost over.  I turned the van around and pulled right up to Alino's Pizzeria.

CC wonders, "How have we never been to this place?"

The real deal.  Pizza Margharita con mozzarella di buffala.  Certo.

This place is huge with communal tables, and three (count em) wood fire pizza stoves.  If you have never eaten pizza in Italy, this is as close as you will come in the LKN area.  Bravo.  I found myself reminiscing about our Sicilian honeymoon.  We were so young, and so skinny:)

The perfect finish:  gelato.  Perfetto!