Monthly Archives: October 2011

stepping into the Big Hole

We are all still humming from our little getaway last weekend. Oh, Montana.  My family tumbled out of town with the grace and lightness of a t rex, into the sleepy little town we visit every year. Past the bar, post office and church to the cozy motel. We arrived at 3pm; this envelope held our room keys Stove complete with kissing trout salt and pepper shakers Our friends camped a short walk away. And that was our weekend: to and from the motel, to and from the river, to and from walkabouts (and one little to and from the Patagonia outlet in nearby Dillon where I scored some family winter and my new favorite shirt, a merino wool hoodie that hasn’t left my body). I think maybe Alice had the most fun. No leash, an entire valley of sage, water, carless roads and sticks. There is something so magical about taking off for a few days. When getting ready, there are times it appears not worth it like when we tornado around each other trying to locate Ruby’s baby and my jeans. Or when we stuff our family in the car and still have four stops to make before we can hit the highway. The magic part? It always is worth it. In this week’s mama digs, I wrote about our ritual around the Big Hole River. Click to read catch and release. I had a lot of fun writing this one. AND, Happy Halloween! My kids have been in their costumes since this morning. My sun-moon and butterfly are napping right now, almost certainly dreaming about trick-or-treating. Wishing you a sugary, ghoulish, fun day and night. xo :: :: :: all photos taken with a Canon Digital SLR from Vanns.com Read more on stepping into the Big Hole…
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Thanks, Golden Nature

End of October in Missoula, I swear. I’ve said it here many times, getting out is our family’s reset button. If we are ever funky, agitated, overwhelmed we walk out the door. Sometimes it leads to an actual walk and sometimes, literally, we just walk out the door. Sometimes I make us do it. It’s not always dreamy and cooperative. Like yesterday when my kids were just plain grumpy, me too. I think we all felt inconsolable and we pushed though, found matching shoes, sorted out who was wearing what hat, had a very long conversation about what dolls, rogue socks and necklaces should join us and stepped on out into… And poof. Consolable. Thanks, Golden Nature. My view from where Margot and Ruby buried me in the boulevard. We are off to really get out in it, down the Big Hole Valley, one of my favorite places to be in fall. We go every year with a group of friends and we always camp but this year, with temps projected to be in the low 20s tonight and one particular Ruby who thinks a sleeping pad makes a better trampoline than bed, we got a dumpy little room. I feel a little lame about it but I think I’ll feel really great about it at 5am when the men take off to stand in frigid water with trout and the girls and I roll out of bed, bundle up and walk a few minutes to the campfire. Speaking of bundling up, today I bring you a special giveaway from sponsor Melody Joy 1983! You know I love the cowls homegirl makes (seen below) and you, dearest, could win one, or anything that strikes your fancy from her shop. Just leave a comment and a winner will be randomly selected next Tuesday, November 1 (also, free shipping coupon code: DIGSFREESHIPPING). Two of the 29 photos Margot took of me. Another here.  What are you up to this weekend? :: :: :: all photos taken with a Canon Digital SLR from Vanns.com Read more on Thanks, Golden Nature…
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hump day nuggets: hike, walk, bike, schlep, dig and roll

hump day nuggets: little bits of the season in photos and words about the last week I was whining to a friend the other day about how I miss running and how I am annoyed with myself for not making time to run. I need it, I miss it so what gives? She, as friends do, put a great perspective on it. She explained that our lifestyle, the one we choose by living here, is active. She told me that even when she isn’t running she feels fit. She inhales fresh air most of the day, gets physical in the kitchen filling jars with food, digs carrots, hangs laundry, bikes to and from work. True, I thought as I rubbed my achy tricep. My arms were a little sore from kneading pretzel dough for our German supper club gatthering. And then I jogged to our hosts’ home whilst balancing the pretzels atop my head in a basket I wove that morning. Andy biked in his lederhosen, sporting wine in a shoulder yoke. I get what Molly is saying. It might not be my legs turning over early morning, Alice keeping rhythm, our breath vapors visible in the quiet, hopeful dark. I’ll have that time again one day. For now, I get a lot of movement and activity just living the life I chose. I eek out little, infrequent spaces to run alone but, mostly, my girls and I hike, walk, bike, schlep, dig and roll all over this valley and her peaks. And I feel thankful. nuggets. :: Margot’s pumpkin is Fred. We are still trying to find the perfect arms and legs. Ruby regularly, spontaneously declares My Punkin! and, like a Chinese fire drill she races to the steps to say hello. :: And I wasn’t kidding about the pretzel dough tiring my arm muscles. Holy hell that is some stiff dough. We used this recipe. Once it rose it was super pliable and easy to work with. Andy taught the girls how to twirl the dough into the classic shape. Also, we made mustard which I will do from now on. So easy, so delicious. Spicy Beer Mustard recipe :: Popcorn, tofu and plums for lunch. :: In my estimation, nature’s most brilliant color combination: :: Can’t believe she is nearly two, my little opinionated cherub. While nursing, she stops, looks into my eyes and asks, kiss mama? You bet. ::  Welcome to new sponsor Melody Joy 1983! This mama knits up the dreamiest numbers my neck has ever laid skin on. She came on board as a sponsor, surprised me with a box of delicious goodies and I was so smitten with the cowl that I bought another. I get compliments on my cowls every day (I wear them every day). I love the cowls y’all! She is also the brilliant artist behind the Mama Bird’s Nest necklace many have asked me about.  That non-cowl photo is of my warm legs. A few things: free shipping for you! Use code DIGSFREESHIPPING. And, to stay in Melody’s creative loop, like her on facebook. She posts sales and such there. Thanks so much, Melody Joy! :: I need to get on making a few costumes today. One three year-old wants to be half sun, half moon with a yellow jacket stinger on the bum. One one year-old wants to be a boofly, as decided by her big sis who knows her love of butterflies. Margot and I drew this up together and I took Ruby to the fabric store where she got to pick any fabric she wanted. :: We made dishwasher detergent and laundry power last week and I updated this page to address a few questions that have come up. :: Margot and Ruby recently inherited this little shopping cart from friends and little sis is a neighborhood dynamo with it. baby carrier made by my mama :: I am looking forward to winter in the kitchen with these two, especially with the stack of recipes we have to explore and all the good ideas my kids have. :: And…hump day nuggets will be making occasional appearances for a while. This mama just wants to shake it up a bit. You’ll see. happy hump day out there :: :: :: all photos taken with a Canon Digital SLR from Vanns.com Read more on hump day nuggets: hike, walk, bike, schlep, dig and roll…
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hey good lookin’

Our move is on hold until next spring and it feels good to know that. Thinking of leaving our home has been a wild journey for me and I am thankful to have a bit more time to get used to the change. And to simplify, clean out, pass on. When we say we are moving almost everyone says something like you guys need more space, eh? Actually, the house we are moving to is smaller than the one we are in. Yep. More space outside, less space inside. It feels really right for us. Yesterday, I got a wild hair to clean out a few cabinets and closets. I do love a good purge, getting honest about what we need. I discovered our recipe box, the one we used to reference many times a week but that had been stashed after Ruby unorganized the contents in one fun flip last winter. As much as I love to google recipes, I am a big fan of a recipe card filed away with floury thumb prints. This box contains the recipes my husband wrote from memory on scrap pieces of paper after working in an old school Italian restaurant, stained old cards from when I first go into cooking, when I was vegetarian. It holds Bratton family staples like Hot Chicken Salad, Aunt Sally’s Bread and Boiled Raisin Cake. When my grandma died, I, and her other five granddaughters, each received a stash of her recipe cards. My mom facilitated this and included a beautiful note: Read more on hey good lookin’…
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hump day nuggets: Hello, Jack

hump day nuggets: little bits of the season in photos and words about the last week Our first frost came this week. It was later than normal and I found I felt a bit like I did at the end of my pregnancy with Margot. My due date came and went and every day I left work to all of my coworkers saying things like, I have a feeling tonight is the night! only to see my giant self waddle in again the next day. There is an element of relief in just moving ON to the next thing. The next thing being winter. Earlier bedtimes, skiing, holidays, soup, darkness, cold, tea, puffy coats, thick beer, last minute travel that depends on road reports. OK, so we are still firmly in fall but, just like spring, it feels like a warm up for what’s to come. A preparatory class. nuggets. :: Our family (my in-laws) was here this last week and it was wonderful. They are amazing and constantly exceed expectations. I don’t take this for granted. :: I have a particularly amazing relationship with my sister-in-law and mother-in-law. For example. We traveled a few hours away (for Andy’s aunt Jean’s art opening!). The three of us and Margot exited the hotel room to allow Ruby and Andy to fall asleep. We got bored so we played hide-and-seek and then found an even better way to spend our time. ::  Our friend, Pam, sang and played guitar at Margot’s preschool last week and Rubes and I brought thank you! love you! flowers to her at work. The excitement and hugs surrounding the delivery made me want to pop in on friends with gifts more often. I think I’ll make that happen. :: We had a puny pumpkin harvest this year. As in, one tiny dude and that’s it. Thankfully, our neighborhood farm grows some killer pumpkins. I’ve mentioned this place before as we buy a lot of food there. It is a no frills, awesome, family-run farm. When I checkout I am tempted to tip because I feel so invested in their survival. I love Benson’s Farm (corner of 7th and Reserve). Margot was with me when I downloaded these photos and she sang a little operatic accompaniment: I was picking out a pumpkin And my shoe was falling off a bunch of times Then at last My shoe fell off And then I still had a hard time picking out a pumpkin And then I was holding one that I wanted I found one It was white And my shoe fell off It was a fun adventure, the three of us picking out our future masterpieces (and one for dad). :: Welcome to new sponsor Witty Lili! This Swedish-based company is growing and producing cool products based on the definition of witty: Amusingly clever in perception and expression. In their words,”To be witty is, among other things, to be smart, spiritual and humorous.” This sweet character is featured on many fun products for kids (my favorite is the Cross Subjects Notebook). Witty Lili is hosting a competition: you (or your kid!) submit a poem about snow.  It will be made into a postcard and published and for every postcard sold 50% of the profit will be donated to the organization ActionAid. Plus, the winner receives a selection of prizes valued at $70. Good luck and thanks Witty Lili! :: On Monday afternoon, I had a feeling Frost was tapping our shoulder so we headed out for a sunny garden romp. It always feels so slow-mo sweet at the end of the growing season. All these leafy, proud plants that began as a SEED a few months ago, putting out their last efforts to produce. Dang, I really love witnessing this cycle with my kids. If we had another 30 days of heat, I swear I’d have record-breaking tomatillos.Hey! Prints of my photos are now available for purchase. Thanks for asking!Margot invented this awesome game where she jumped over the pulled carrots. The risk grew as the pile grew. And when it got too easy, she unbuckled her shoes and tried to keep them on as she soared. :: Ruby and I harvested plums and pears from our secret source of free fruit. She was astonished at the scene ( I really was way up in that tree shaking with all my might. Oh, we laughed.). Her contagious reaction prompted a whole essay about how in the freaking moment my kids are all the time. I wrote about it in this week’s mama digs: winning. I shook the tree, Ruby hunted for viable fruit and, when inspected would either declare, “Wook! Good one!” or “Oh, bummer. Buh-mer.”  :: And all this brings me to my kitchen floor right this minute. You should see my counters.  I am digging the Winter Prep. In fact, as much as I love seasons, I think October just might be my favorite month. It is full of things I love: food harvest and preservation, enough chill to demand cuddle, holiday planning, tights, baking, costume making, chilly hiking. happy hump day out there *Nugget it up and share. If you’d like, link to your nuggets in the comments.* :: :: :: all photos taken with a Canon Digital SLR from Vanns.com Read more on hump day nuggets: Hello, Jack…
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