Signs of Spring

We had a wonderful warm spell last weekend which pushed spring a little further along. So despite the frigid temperatures today, we can take heart. The forsythia’s are blooming, and the magnoias are spreading their perfume.

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It’s been great getting outside and cleaning up the yard, pruning bushes and planning for the season ahead of us. It looks like my little vegetable patch (which we plan to expand this year) has been taken over by an interested ten year old. Hurray! That is just fine with me. After he added the finished compost and tilled the soil, he planted lettuce seeds. Spring must be around the corner!

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Eating outside for the first time this year is the ultimate sign spring is coming.  It may be a couple weeks before we can enjoy a meal on our porch again, but at least now we remember that simple pleasure.

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How is Spring showing her face in your parts?

~ Lora

 

Posted in family, garden, nature, seasons | 4 Comments

Spinach Mushroom Omelet

I was feeling gourmet-ish and had a lot of different ingredients in the house, so I found an omelet recipe on Allrecipes.com. My DH loves omelets! I tweaked it to make the best omelet I have ever made. It was worth chopping a little bit of this and that, and assembling all the ingredients. It wasn’t heavy like a lot of omelets are. I think the fresh veggies, minimal cheese and cooking it in a small amount of oil helped to keep it light. This recipe makes one big omelet which can serve two adults, especially if you have a salad or something on the side.

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Ingredients:
4 eggs
1 tbsp parmesan cheese
1 tbsp shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
1/8 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp olive oil
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
1/4 cup diced green onion
2 tbsp finely chopped red bell pepper
1 cup chopped fresh spinach
1/2 cup diced fresh tomato
2-3 tbsp chopped sundried tomato (optional)

Directions:
1)Beat eggs in a small bowl. Mix in Parmesan cheese, cheddar cheese, salt, red pepper flakes, garlic powder, nutmeg, and pepper.
2)Heat oil in large non stick skillet over medium heat; cook and stir mushrooms, green onion, and bell pepper till tender, about five minutes. Places spinach in skillet and cook until just wilted. Stir in diced tomato till warmed. Remove cooked vegetables. Clean the skillet out with a paper towel. Pour in egg mixture. Begin to cook, and then add vegetables evenly over top. As egg begins to set, lift the edges to allow the uncooked egg mixture to flow underneath. This allows all the egg to cook without over browning the bottom of the omelet. Once all the egg mixture is set (about ten minutes), flip one half onto the other half so that all the vegetables are in the middle layer of the omelet and it looks like a half circle. Cut in half and serve yourself and a friend.

Bon appetit!

~ Lora

Posted in recipes | 2 Comments

What makes me happy

I discovered a little surprise the other morning. It made me smile and feel all warm and fuzzy inside.  A brother making his little sister happy….

I heard them going up the stairs, thump, thump, thump.  That night I grumbled to myself as I hauled all her dolls, plus the extra pillows and blankets out of her crib to make room for a good night’s sleep.  In the morning I saw the whole picture.  When I asked Annika about it, she explained that Jeremy made decorations for her doll party.  That kid just independently and quietly does his own thing, and often it’s something interesting or nice for someone else.  Sibling love is so precious!

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I knew there was a lesson for me.  I just needed to take the time to find it. Doing kind things for others for the sake of giving them pleasure, not doing them for the sake of the audience or out of obligation, that is the way to experience joy.

~ Lora

 

Posted in child's play, family, happiness, kids, relationships | 4 Comments

Cheer for the day

It’s a grey day and I thought I’d share some cheer.  Take a listen to this and see if you don’t feel a little more lively.

~ Lora

Posted in happiness, music | Leave a comment

Too many pics

Eliza is now 5 1/2 months and becoming a real character.  She’s growing steadily, and has reached a whopping 13 pounds! We enjoy her so much and get all excited when she develops a new skill.  So here are too many pictures of her since I couldn’t decide which one properly represents her right now. :)

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And finally, I couldn’t resist these two pictures of our favorite adventurers:

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~ Lora

Posted in child's play, family, kids, relationships | 2 Comments

Beauty at home

I don’t know about you, but I need to make my surroundings a little prettier, a little more beautiful. When we moved into a new house you would find me whacking some nails into the walls to hang some “art” long before all the boxes are unpacked. I wanted to have a few accessories arranged here and there before I found out where I packed my blender. Creating a home means making it my home, my family’s home. Do you remember that Ma, in the Little House series, always unpacked her special treasures after they moved again and set them in a prominent spot as a way of saying “we’re home now” ?

Mixing kids into the beautification process requires a different perspective. Their toys and creations are probably not going to enhance that great color scheme you have going.  And I think you should say, “that’s OK, they live here too.”  Perfection in the beauty department doesn’t create a happy home.  It’s always a balance for me.  I need some order, some beauty, some creativity to function well.  But telling kids you can’t play here, no visible toys allowed, no messes and creativity, the decor and all has to match,  is a pretty dismal lesson to teach.  So we teeter from picture perfect (which is never attained) to complete disaster (which is attained), and try to find the balance in the middle.

Taylor made a shelf for Annika this Christmas.  He saw that she had a need for a pantry  ;) so he set about to provide some storage.  I had left over paint from the computer/play room so that helped provide the “matchy”  element.  I am pleased to say I am totally fine with his creation taking a prominent position in our hallway.  It’s functional, pretty (all those colorful cans in a row), and matches!  So every time I glance down the hallway, I see beauty:  inner beauty because I see the kind heart of a brother who wants to do something nice for his little sister, and outward beauty.

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How do you deal with the intersection of kids and beauty in your home?

~Lora

 

Posted in child's play, decorating, family, home decorating, kids, organization, reflection | 7 Comments

Snow days

It’s been a real winter this year. We’ve had so many snow days I’ve lost count of them. Yesterday it was very mild, in the 50′s, so the snow was melting fast. Today we woke up to a fresh, winter wonderland. (and it’s still snowing….) Given that it’s February, I don’t really mind. Spring is a couple months away, so we might as well enjoy the beauty of freshly fallen snow….   And the kids are enjoying the sledding and playing in the snow.

Nice view from the cozy window seat.

Nice view from the cozy window seat.

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IMG_8752 We have several bird feeders in our yard.  They are so rewarding to have… the kids have lists of birds they have identified, and I think it’s a cheerful sight…. to see all those birds having food to eat in such bad weather. IMG_8769

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And a woodstove…. that keeps the winter cozy as well.  I think tending a fire all day and seeing that warm glow in the background as you work in your house helps make winters much more bearable.  There’s something cheerful about dancing flames and a chair next to a warm fire.  A winter hearth chases the blues away.  Turning up the thermostat doesn’t create the same effect. ;) Of course it means real work for my dear husband… chopping trees, splitting wood and hauling it inside.  Then, it’s my job to keep it going all day.  But it’s one I gladly do to keep the gezelegheid going.

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How do you enjoy your winter days?

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~ Lora

Posted in birds, celebrations, nature | 3 Comments