Monthly Archives: March 2012

Cup of Gold

Two girlfriends and I hopped on a last-minute opportunity to stay in a friend of a friend’s condo a few hours north, in Whitefish. I am always amazed at how much stuff it takes to hit the road with kids (seven of them!) and I am always heartened by how enthusiastic kids are when faced with anything new. It really is a wonderful gift to witness life with children, when everything is an exquisite opportunity for excitement and adventure. It’s very true. It was fast — we peeled out Sunday morning and rose at 4:30 this morning to get back for work and school. The three mamas like a well trained assembly line, packing snacks, dressing and undressing, bathing, swimming, skiing, refereeing, drying suits and towels, reading books, making food, toasting to life. It was a good time and I am so psyched I went; I wasn’t sure I should go at first. I wrote about a bit about that in this week’s mama digs: owning psyched. And now we are home with an explosion of clothes and gear littered about our house. And two baby chicks who missed Margot and Ruby. Yep, we got two new Buff Orpington chicks. Me: So, we should probably come up with some names for our new chicks, eh?Margot: Yes!Me: It’s funny but two names immediately came to me. What do you guys think about Buttercup and Tofu?Ruby: Butt-cup! Butt-cup!Margot: No thanks. Mine’s name is Flower.Me: But, Ruby, you like Buttercup?Ruby: Baby chicky! Baby chicky! No no Butt-cup. My chicky Cup.Margot: Oh, Ruby! That’s a wonderful name! Cute little Cup.Ruby: Hi Honey. Hi little Cup.Margot: Actually, my chick’s name is Gold. And I think yours should be Silver Ruby. Don’t you love Silver?Ruby: NO. CUP. Meet Gold and Cup. Margot is particularly in love. She sings lullabies to and snuggles those little chicks every few hours. She likes to press her closed eyelid against their downy fluff as she tells them she loves them and to have a good day. And, watching Ruby with these chicks is to watch total joy. Lastly, I forgot my blog anniversary! As of a few weeks ago, it’s been five years I’ve been sharing bits of myself here and interacting with this whole beautifully inspiring world. And, I am excited to announce that, in this sixth year, dig is taking some leaps and looking forward to some changes. I’ll share details soon! I am very appreciative of this space and for you all. Sincerely, your generosity, smarts, kindness, humor and creativity have exceeded any expectation I had. Thank you. So I want to give you something! Leave a comment for a chance to win $50 gift certificate to my shop (free shipping). Thanks for reading. xo,dig and fam(Nici, Andy, Margot, Ruby, Alice, Sam, Olive, Maude, Violet, 16 Months, Cooper, Captain, Maria, Cup and Gold) Read more on Cup of Gold…
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Family Participation Board

My kids love jobs. This has been such a fun discovery and consequent tool for me for it always true: When Margot and Ruby have a sense of belonging and importance in whatever it is we have going on, things are smoother and more fun. Giving my kids real, meaningful responsibilities is my silver bullet as a mama, especially as a work from home mama. Read more on Family Participation Board…
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summer prelude

After a few days of warmth, sun and leaping bulbs, the weather reminded us that it isn’t even spring yet. The last few days have been cold and rainy-snowy. I am so a four-season girl but every year, around this time, I crave bare feet, dirt under my fingernails, fresh food, river dips, photos without puffy coats. In other words, every March I am a little over it. Puffy Coat Photo #679, St. Patrick’s Day Parade Every March we get those few days: the prelude to, not spring, but summer. A few days where all of Missoula bursts outside like dandelion seeds in a passionate gust. We rifle through boxes to find weather-appropriate clothing and stroll around the valley with starry smiles. We might shiver in the shade but in the big ol’ bright sun? Our bodies remember summer. It is a weird dance for me during those few bitchy weeks where winter shakes her fleshy hips into spring. I want to garden! But the thick mud, frozen ground and spontaneous blizzards make me wait. So instead of turning my interests elsewhere I tend to just meditate on the gardening I can’t yet do. It is annoying annual habit. Right now, in our mid-Montana March, I can be found wandering our new yard, pausing for long periods of time to squint at blank spots and plan for fruit trees, fences, gardens. I imagine what trees will look like when leafed out and then study the photos I took of the property last summer. September 2011: south-facing, our backyard property ends where the grass browns Oh man, I’ve been dreaming about our new homestead transformation. It is one of my favorite things to do, dream. When we looked at this house for the first time last summer and I saw the big south-facing sunroom and yard I was sold. Andy studied the electrical and asked questions about forced-air heat and while I drooled over southern exposure and mountain views. Dreamer + Pragmatist = Our Imaginative Happy Marriage. September 2011: sunroom September 2011: east-facing deck and grapevines off the living room We get to move into our home in June, the one we live in, under, in a small apartment. A bit more about that (thanks for your questions, sorry I’ve been so confusing!): See we put in an offer on this house, contingent upon the sale of our other house. The people we were to buy from had an opportunity to rent for six months. They kindly asked us what we thought and we said YES. It sounds awesome to have a few months to sell our house and to move in the spring. They signed a lease with the tenant. We sold our house the next week. So we had to find a place to live until the lease was up. We considered many options but landed here in this apartment, in the very house we bought, under a lovely family. I mentioned above that dreaming is one of my favorite things. Another favorite thing of mine is making stuff happen that seems impossible at first pass. Like buying this house, like starting seeds in an itty apartment that is literally bursting with animals and people. We only have room for a few starts. I chose tomatoes, peppers and onions–the ones that race heartily against our short growing season. The rest of my garden is growing abundantly in my brain. Ruby helped me plant the seeds and then my little curator rearranged all of my markers so the tomatoes will surprise us! It quickly became clear that we needed to get the starts up away from curious hands and wagging tails. We (Andy) drilled a few scraps from our Great Wall of Better Sleep into the trim and placed another piece of the rough-cut pine atop to form a sturdy, easy shelf. So the girls have space to watch deer and jump, the cats can salivate over the birds that gather in the field, the dog can smile at her bff Leroy and the adults have a place to put beverages. we woke to an inch or so of snow this morning This morning Margot studied the spaces between her toes while Ruby spun in circles with a balloon from yesterday’s birthday party. Margot said, “Mama, can you NOT WAIT until it’s warm all the time and it’s summer?” Well, darlin’ girl, more or less, yes. :: :: :: In this week’s mama digs, I wrote about an anticipated night out with friends that went quite differently than I imagined. I am still learning how to prune my expectations into a manageable shrub or, not prune and be ok with unruly. Click to read ok with unruly. Read more on summer prelude…
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Coconut Sweet Potato Stew

I haven’t posted recipes in a while. Partly because I haven’t been experimenting much with recipes and partly because food isn’t very photogenic in our kitchen. We housesat at our friends’ place last weekend and, holy smokes, I was on fire in that kitchen. Every meal was one I invented and one my family unanimously declared a new favorite. Cooking for my family is so fun. One meal in particular knocked our socks off. It started with oh man, we don’t have anything for dinner which is my favorite challenge in the world. And, not only did I need to make food for our four, but I needed to make food for our friends who just welcomed baby Nellie to the world. It had to be good. And fast because, of course, I had spent the day outside and then had like an hour to get something made and delivered. Soup is my go-to when the pickins are slim. I threw an onion into olive oil and started hunting for other ingredients and ended with Coconut Sweet Potato Stew. I know ‘stew’ means meat but this thick, hearty soup feels like a stew so we call it a stew. Coconut Sweet Potato Stewserves 6 or so olive oil3 celery stalks, chopped1 onion, finely chopped1 1/2 cups rice1 can coconut milk4-5 cups water 3 carrots, chopped 3 sweet potatoes, cut into one-inch chunksa few fistfuls of spinach 4 cloves garlic, minced saltdried basil Begin with a few tablespoons of olive oil in the bottom of your soup pot on high heat. Add onion, celery and rice. Cook for a few minutes until things soften and onion is translucent. Add coconut milk, carrots, sweet potatoes, basil, salt and water. I really have no idea how much water I added so you may need to add more as the rice cooks, getting to your desired consistency. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low and cover. It’s done when the rice is cooked and the sweet potato is soft. Don’t overcook, don’t over-stir or the rice and sweet potato will mush. Turn off heat. A few minutes before serving, stir in spinach and garlic. Read more on Coconut Sweet Potato Stew…
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spring nuggets: in like a lamb

Funny how I thought a smaller living space would free up time to do stuff like write, sew, organize, plan. Seems the opposite is true for it is a NEW space and ideas and projects abound. While we aren’t in our home just yet, we can do work on the yard and other small spaces. We’ve built a chicken coop, a new painting studio for Andy and planned planned planned a garden, a fence, a slide off the second story deck (how rad would that be?!), paint colors, carpet rip-up, lighting, french doors… Oh and this reminds me to answer these recent FAQs: Where are you living in relation to your new house? For how long? Why? Where is all your stuff? Where are your chickens? Is that your backyard?Where do you work? We are living in a small studio apartment in the home we recently purchased. We have a tenant upstairs, who lived there before we bought the house. Her lease is up at the end of May. We brought all of our pets, including the chickens. Our stuff is stored in the garage of our new home. Our backyard spills right into public land so, no, we don’t own that mountain and yes, that is our ‘backyard.’ I am sharing work space with Piper & Paisley in downtown Missoula at 612 S. Higgins and have a small retail space there. When we move upstairs, this apartment will be my writing and sewing studio. Did I forget any? Ask in the comments and I’ll answer here. I have so much I want to share here! And then a week flies by and I have four pent up posts that suddenly seem outdated. I know you know what I mean, whether you blog or not. It’s hard to look back even if it is a good story. Because there are new stories rolling out before us. So, we had a couple of 60 degree days around here. Massive piles of snow dropping inches in an afternoon, so much mud with which to make ‘hot cocoa’, bare sun-starved skin and consequent pink cheeks. Play dates that involve sledding and biking. Raking, moving, hauling, cleaning, building. :: The last of the snow. (Yes, I know we’ll get another storm or two!) :: Margot and Sam are best pals. l :: Making tomato soup. :: Her mama’s daughter, when Margot needs space she hikes as fast as she can up the hill. In this week’s mama digs, I wrote about a hike we took together, after a tough afternoon. I love that kid to the moon and back. Click to read bite of the moon. :: Ruby deciding whether or not she’d like to haul the ponderosa pinecone all the way home. :: We’ve been housesitting at our friends. Outings with four dogs is funny. :: Also with the housesitting gig is a big, beautiful kitchen! We live just a few doors down so, every night we schlep dinner ingredients up the hill. On this night I made this recipe, using yam instead of butternut squash. I recommend. edited to add: this octopus shirt available in my shop, a limited edition of 10 :: Welcome to new sponsor Feeding Thomas! Jess had a lonely, difficult experience breastfeeding her son. She felt so inadequate during those first few weeks that she decided to write Feeding Thomas, a four-page memoir chronicling her honest and encouraging journey. She says she wanted to share her story “to send the message that breastfeeding is difficult, it’s ok to struggle, you can do it, and it will get better.” I think this is so awesome. That Jess is choosing to share her struggle with the hopes of helping others and that she is so smartly and affordably ($2.50!) selling this beautifully written, relatable story. What a wonderful gift for a new mama. Two of you have a chance to win a copy! Leave a comment for a chance to win. If you’d like, share your struggle with, or favorite part of breastfeeding. Thanks, Feeding Thomas! :: LOTS of mud. :: I so remember feeling this way as a little girl. :: They sometimes freeze, but clothes are on the line. :: And one of my favorite photos ever, Margot and her soul sister, Trixie: happy sprung-forward Monday out there Read more on spring nuggets: in like a lamb…
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