Free Fall

I’ll spare you the boring details and instead give you a brief synopsis of the past month: BURIED ALIVE. The boys are now in school full time and I am working at their school, and getting us all out the door each morning, dressed and fed, three lunches and snacks packed…well, it is nothing short…

the-farmers-daughter_2565 I’ll spare you the boring details and instead give you a brief synopsis of the past month: BURIED ALIVE. The boys are now in school full time and I am working at their school, and getting us all out the door each morning, dressed and fed, three lunches and snacks packed…well, it is nothing short of a miracle. Every single day we pull out of the driveway I am so damn proud of myself. I know that people all around the world do this every single day, but geez it’s hard. If anything, it makes me incredibly grateful for the rather carefree years we’ve had leading up to this. the-farmers-daughter_2550 the-farmers-daughter_2552the-farmers-daughter_2556the-farmers-daughter_2538 We are finally getting into a good groove, but it is all consuming and quite tiring, I’ll admit. As you know, my husband travels quite a bit, so after a full day of work, it is back home with the boys to make dinner, give baths and go through the bedtime routine. By the time they are asleep, I usually have enough energy to put away a load of laundry and finish up the dishes before I collapse into bed. Needless to say, there isn’t much creativity happening. At first, I was pretty upset about it, but after carefully sitting with this new routine, and watching the boys absolutely flourish at their new school, I’ve come to accept that this is simply a season of life. Seasons come and go, each bringing with it unique and joyful gifts. I am doing my best to stay present and thankful. We do have some fun travel coming up, both work and personal, so I look forward to sharing more as the fall rolls along. I may not be in this space as often as I’d like, but as always, I appreciate you sticking around. the-farmers-daughter_2567 the-farmers-daughter_2560 the-farmers-daughter_2587 Until next time, I’d love to share with you a few podcasts, shows and books that are adding joy to my days:

Podcasts I’m loving:

  • Wrongful Conviction with Jason Flom
  • In the Dark
  • Accused
  • Death, Sex & Money
  • Modern Love
  • This American Life
  • The Longest Shortest
TV show I am obsessed with: This is Us

Books I’m reading: The Ten Year Nap by Meg Wolitzer and Blood, Bones and Butter by Gabrielle Hamilton

Patterns I’m knitting: Fidra hat, Perianth Mittens and Bearly Bonnet

*all of these pictures were taken at The Farmer’s Daughter in South Kingstown, one of my favorite destinations in the state. the-farmers-daughter_2537

Floret Flower Farm

One of the highlights of my west coast trip was a visit to Floret. Ever since covering Erin and her flower farmer workshops for Country Living, I’ve been dying to meet her in person and see her farm for myself. It was such a spectacular visit- from the gorgeous flowers to Erin’s inspiring and kind…

Floret6One of the highlights of my west coast trip was a visit to Floret. Ever since covering Erin and her flower farmer workshops for Country Living, I’ve been dying to meet her in person and see her farm for myself. It was such a spectacular visit- from the gorgeous flowers to Erin’s inspiring and kind nature. Every now and then you have the chance to visit a place so beautiful it takes your breath away. I sincerely mean it when I say that I felt that, standing in the fields at Floret. It is an ordinary piece of land, not large by farming standards, just a few acres really, yet under Erin and her team’s care, it yields flowers so gorgeous they hardly seem real. Erin I couldn’t help myself from asking Erin if she would be willing to make one of the “flower installations” that she is known for, and she kindly obliged. She headed out to the field to collect roses, and upon her return laid out the blooms in a wash of corals and pinks. Take a moment and really look..every single bloom is more gorgeous than the next. She made all of my flower dreams come true and I think I took about 150 of the same exact picture because I was so afraid that I wouldn’t capture the exact magic. And still…pictures just don’t do it justice. I would have boarded my plane home with these blooms if I thought they’d have lasted. I wanted to keep them, and hold them, and have them forever.Floret5 Floret8 And the dahlias…well, if you’ve heard about Floret there is a good chance you’ve heard about their dahlias. The dahlia fields were just beginning to pop when I visited, and if I had to guess right about now they must be hauling in truckloads of these beauties. Erin tests hundreds of varieties of rare and unusual flowers every year- choosing for uniqueness in color, bloom, stem length, etc. A wander through the test fields was quite an experience as every variety was unique and different than anything I’d seen before. Erin kindly sent me home with a care package that included packets of Floret seeds, which I am very excited to put to use next year! Floret Christine and Erin Floret4 It was an extremely sunny day- beautiful, not a cloud in the sky. Which is normally a great thing…unless you are trying to take pictures out in the fields! So these are very blown out but I figured I’d share just a few. I’ll have to return someday in the evening light (yep, I just totally invited myself back). Thank you, Erin, for such an incredible visit. The memories from that afternoon continue to bring me immense joy. If for some reason you’re not yet following Floret on Instagram- do yourself a favor and follow along for the most gorgeous flower images ever! Floret2 Floret fields Floret fields1 Floret fields2

Wicked Tulips Flower Farm

Spring has sprung. For real this time! There were a few false starts and warm days that quickly turned cold, but the blossoms are out and the sun is showing itself more and more with each passing day. Every single year I forget how incredibly gorgeous Rhode Island is in the spring. This year, local…

Wicked Tulip Farm4Spring has sprung. For real this time! There were a few false starts and warm days that quickly turned cold, but the blossoms are out and the sun is showing itself more and more with each passing day. Every single year I forget how incredibly gorgeous Rhode Island is in the spring. This year, local flower nerds were abuzz with the gossip that a pick-your-own tulip farm was opening in Johnston, Rhode Island. Anyone who knows me well knows that I penciled in a flower date the very minute I heard the news! Wicked Tulip Farm2 Wicked Tulip Farm9 Wicked Tulip Farm1If you are local- or even within an hour drive- I would highly suggest a trip to Wicked Tulips Flower Farm. The tulips are so gorgeous, and there are so many varieties and colors. If you plan to go on the weekend, it might be smart to buy your tickets ahead of time. It was packed on a Thursday morning, so I can only imagine that the weekends will certainly be crowded. Wicked Tulip Farm7Wicked Tulip Farm Wicked Tulip Farm13 Wicked Tulip Farm6 Wicked Tulip Farm5 I let the boys pick our tulips and I was so surprised at the colors they chose. Our bouquet was stunning- in fact several people stopped to comment on it! Of course with Vijay wearing his SpiderMan costume and a random dinosaur mask, I suppose we were rather hard to miss! Wicked Tulip Farm11 Wicked Tulip Farm12 Wicked Tulip Farm14

Terrain in Westport, CT

Spring is here in full force…how did that happen so darn fast!? With the first blooms appearing my mind turns toward gardening and there is no better place to draw gardening inspiration than Terrain in Westport, CT. The first thing that greets you when you walk through the doors is this gorgeous potting display, which…

Terrain at Westport 3 Spring is here in full force…how did that happen so darn fast!? With the first blooms appearing my mind turns toward gardening and there is no better place to draw gardening inspiration than Terrain in Westport, CT. The first thing that greets you when you walk through the doors is this gorgeous potting display, which is pretty much what my dream potting table looks like! Terrain at Westport 15 Terrain at Westport 13 Terrain at Westport 16 Do you have a favorite color combination- one that just makes your heart sing? Mine is a certain blue-green, and dusty rose…and what do you know, it was on display throughout the shop. I had to stop myself from buying up this whole display just so that I could recreate it at home! That pitcher…that pink glass…those adorable enamel mugs- I loved them all. Terrain at Westport 14 Terrain at Westport 4 Terrain at Westport For all of the beauty and inspiration, I did leave empty-handed. I am trying to be incredibly conscious of what I bring into my home these days, and how I spend my money. And it is a funny thing- just looking at these pictures makes me as happy as if I would have bought every little thing that I loved. The pictures capture the styling and beauty, in a way that a single object can’t quite do. So enjoy this bit of eye candy, and have a lovely weekend. Next week is the launch of Icy, Creamy, Healthy, Sweet and I am so thrilled by all that is planned. It is going to be an exciting spring and summer- I can’t wait!Terrain at Westport 8 Terrain at Westport 6 Terrain at Westport 12 Terrain at Westport 11 Terrain at Westport 10

Time

Sometimes I wish I had less interests, which sounds like an odd thing to say I’m sure.  The problem is that there is SO much I want to do everyday and there’s limited time to do it.  I want to work on sewing and knitting project, as well as home projects.  I want to visit…

_MG_7986Sometimes I wish I had less interests, which sounds like an odd thing to say I’m sure.  The problem is that there is SO much I want to do everyday and there’s limited time to do it.  I want to work on sewing and knitting project, as well as home projects.  I want to visit my garden and spend time watering, harvesting and weeding.  I want to sneak in a work out (I am currently obsessed with boxing!). I long to catch up with friends over coffee.  I enjoy being in the kitchen trying new recipes along with old favorites.  I love reading.  I yearn to wander around town with my camera.  And that doesn’t even touch on larger interests that I’d love to pursue with abandon, such as travel. But most of my time at home goes into mothering and running a household- and I feel privileged to spend my days doing this, don’t get me wrong.  But you know how it goes….  Sometimes I even wonder if I should try to shift my mindset: less hobbies, less doing and more being.  Yet these things bring me great joy, and each one brings a different sort of joy.  Gardening invigorates me, knitting relaxes me, photography engages me…  This has all been on my mind lately as the busyness of fall begins and I find myself trying to carve out a minute here or there.  It has also been on my mind ever since I read Felicia’s post on “Craft in the Middle of Motherhood.”  There are weeks, and months, and even years where these “hobbies” have been my lifeline, drawing me back to my whole self when I was lost in the fog of new motherhood.

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_MG_7964As mother’s we are hardwired to feel guilt, I suppose.  Are we doing enough?  Are we giving enough?  Are we providing enough?  There are times when my guilt wells up- when I lose my patience and snap at the boys for something silly, or when I’m knitting on the couch and they ask me to play.  Often it is evening time, and I’ve been caring for them all day, cooking for them, swimming with them, reading to them, and I just need a minute to unwind.  But I feel guilty because I know they would love for me to play, and I know this time is fleeting and there will be a day when they want nothing to do with me.  But where is that line between preserving one’s sanity, and cherishing every moment with your children?  I don’t know the answer to this question, though it is one that I frequently ask myself.  For now all I know is this- the vines were heavy with tomatoes, and the kale was overgrown, and the garden called for my attention, and I spent the evening hours there and it felt so good.  That will have to be enough for now.

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Tower Hill and Fall Colors

I had the most beautiful of book signings yesterday at Tower Hill Botanic Garden in Boylston, MA.  There was a nice turnout for the cooking demonstration, and the hour flew by as I made Zucchini Muffins with Peach Preserves and Summer Corn Fritters from Little Bites.  All of the produce was sourced from my garden,…

_MG_7658I had the most beautiful of book signings yesterday at Tower Hill Botanic Garden in Boylston, MA.  There was a nice turnout for the cooking demonstration, and the hour flew by as I made Zucchini Muffins with Peach Preserves and Summer Corn Fritters from Little Bites.  All of the produce was sourced from my garden, the farmer’s market or the gardens at Tower Hill.  It was all delicious, and prompted a great number of book sales.  In all, it was one of those afternoons where I was reminded of the reason I love writing books; connecting with people over a common message.  Of course I failed to get a single image of the actual event because I was too busy…but that’s a good problem to have!

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_MG_7641I arrived an hour early to Tower Hill, simply to have enough time to settle in and go for a quick wander.  The grounds were so lovely, and I was surprised to find that fall colors were starting to make their appearance.  In fact, with the overcast skies, it felt much like a fall afternoon.  I love the gardens and grounds at Tower Hill because they change so beautifully with the seasons.  Having spent the last week hardly leaving the water thanks to my two little fish I was still feeling smack dab in the middle of summer.  This weekend reminded me that fall is indeed around the corner, with all of the crisp air and vibrant foliage that it brings.  I say bring it on (but give us a few more weeks of pool weather, if you will!).

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Peonies

It finally rained this weekend; a good heavy rain.  This has been such a dry spring, and the rain was so needed.  Everything feels especially green and vibrant now.  The peonies are simply breathtaking this year (of course I say that every year).  I know the exact yards where, year after year, I stalk my…

_MG_4518It finally rained this weekend; a good heavy rain.  This has been such a dry spring, and the rain was so needed.  Everything feels especially green and vibrant now.  The peonies are simply breathtaking this year (of course I say that every year).  I know the exact yards where, year after year, I stalk my favorite peony bushes.  I was excited to add a few new finds to my list this year.  I’ve been teaching the boys the names of all of my favorite flowers, and I am surprised by the fact that they have started to recognize them all on their own.  Their little minds are like steel traps, I swear.  I’m wondering if you have any recommendations for flower/ garden books that the boys might enjoy.  We read our fair share about growing veggies and fruits, and about where our food comes from, but I think they would really enjoy some books about flowers and general gardening.

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Quick Pickled Radishes

It was our first day at the beach, and the nip in the air made it clear that we’re still in spring, not to be confused with the blistering heat of summer.  What an odd spring we’ve had around here.  Very dry and chilly, with hot days thrown in here and there.  We are in…

_MG_3970It was our first day at the beach, and the nip in the air made it clear that we’re still in spring, not to be confused with the blistering heat of summer.  What an odd spring we’ve had around here.  Very dry and chilly, with hot days thrown in here and there.  We are in dire need of some good rain, and I feel horribly guilty about watering my yard every other day, but I am desperate to keep the few plants we have alive.  My garden plot is coming along slowly.  I planted much later this year than ever before, and so it feels like such a slow start.  I am hoping by next week to start harvesting salad greens.  I just hate buying greens at the grocery store and market this time of year.  I should be swimming in them!  I managed to harvest one measly bunch of radishes, and decided to try a quick pickle.  I used the recipe from Cookie and Kate, with a few tweaks.  They are fabulous on everything from my morning eggs to dinner salads and sandwiches.

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Spicy Quick Pickled Radishes

  • 1 bunch of radishes
  • 3/4 cup white vinegar
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorn

Directions:

1. Thinly slice radishes into rounds and place them in a canning jar along with the black peppercorn.

2. In a saucepan combine the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil, giving it a good stir.  Pour the brine over the radishes, and allow the mixture to cool.

3. You can serve the radishes immediately, or store in the refrigerator for up to a week.

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_MG_3985It simply wouldn’t feel right to let Memorial Day pass without acknowledging the men and women who have so bravely served our country.  My brother is one of those men, and he is our hero.  He’s the shirtless one (of course!) and we love him dearly.

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Terrain

On our way back from NYC we stopped at Terrain for lunch and a browse.  It turned out to be the most inspiring place we visiting during our trip.  Terrain is the most gorgeous gardening and lifestyle store that I’ve ever come across.  At this time, there are only two location- one in Westport, CT…

_MG_3853On our way back from NYC we stopped at Terrain for lunch and a browse.  It turned out to be the most inspiring place we visiting during our trip.  Terrain is the most gorgeous gardening and lifestyle store that I’ve ever come across.  At this time, there are only two location- one in Westport, CT and another outside of Philly.  Just imagine Anthropologie does gardening- gorgeous displays, inspiring vignettes every which way you turn, a cafe that features seasonal, fresh food.  I left with an acute case of garden envy and dreams of turning our dust-bowl of a yard into something quite lush and magical.  We’ll see about that.  We had a major plumbing issue this past winter that left our yard pretty torn up.  The boys are enjoying having a very large sand bit in which to play, but it is rather depressing, aesthetically speaking.  Maybe I can just move into Terrain.  I’d gladly water all those plants in exchange for room and board 😉

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_MG_3870I saw several books by my fellow Roost authors scattered about the store.  I have big dreams that Little Bites might find a home here.  I would seriously make the drive just to see how they had it displayed!  Well, I’d use just about any reason to make the drive again.  If you live within a 2 hour radius of a Terrain store, I would highly suggest making the trip.   I ended up buying some garden lights, and a little craft project for the boys and I to do together this summer.  I’m thinking if the lights are pretty enough, it might blind us into believing our yard looks nicer than it does!

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Giving Thanks

Today I am feeling thankful for the year we’ve had so far.  It has been one of the most emotionally difficult years in so many ways, but it has forced us to stretch and grow (uncomfortable as it may be) while we figure out what’s next for this little family of ours.  I have battled…

15628488030_e2cf3ae38d_oToday I am feeling thankful for the year we’ve had so far.  It has been one of the most emotionally difficult years in so many ways, but it has forced us to stretch and grow (uncomfortable as it may be) while we figure out what’s next for this little family of ours.  I have battled with my love for Providence, and feeling overwhelmed by work.  I’ve learn to let go as Vijay ventured off to school for the first time.  We’ve had major house repairs that took us by surprise, and cost us a pretty penny.  And there have been personal battles that threw us all for a loop.  But as the year begins to draw to a close, I can’t help but feel that so much of the stress is behind us for now.  I remember complaining to my mom that, “I just want it all to end.”  It being the stress, unwelcome surprises, and upheaval.  She just looked at me and said, “It will end when life ends.”  True enough (though not quite the sympathy I was looking for in the moment!).  Life is messy and unpredictable.  But beauty comes from broken places, and how are we to appreciate that beauty if we haven’t been through the darkness?

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15789693546_d1ce059ba2_oIn just a few hours, Vik and I will join Vijay at his preschool, and along with all of his classmates and their families, we’ll be treated to a Harvest Feast that the kids cooked themselves.  Pumpkin muffins, apple sauce, vegetable soup, homemade bread; they’ve been hard at work.  Vijay is so excited that he’s been counting down for weeks.  “How many more days until the Harvest Feast?” he asks every morning.

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15627540839_d719ffaa81_oAfter his Harvest Feast, we’ll board a plane to Chicago, my favorite city, where we’ll spend Thanksgiving surrounded by family.  I’m feeling very thankful indeed.  Life is messy, as I’m continually learning, and the house will always need cleaning, and the laundry will always need folding, and the to-do list will never end.  But these are the signs of a life well lived, a life that is full of love, and chaos and laughter, and most importantly little people.  Oh, those little people- that’s where it’s at.  I hope you and yours have a blessed Thanksgiving, and I’ll see you back here next week with pictures and stories to share from the Windy City.

(pictures from my recent Gardenista article on Tower Hill Botanic Garden, the most magical place)

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