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Homemade Granola


Over time, some recipes are tweaked and adjusted to suit our changing palettes or to simply improve and perfect an existing recipe. Doesn't this happen in your kitchen too? It's partly why I never even bother to write down recipes, I'm more of a "jot down an idea rather than a recipe" kind of girl - always tweaking the idea each time I make a dish. Baking, of course, is a little different. We need to pay more attention there and consider the science of it all. There is definitely a success/fail outcome to consider, and so we pay attention and write careful notes.


One of the first posts I shared on this blog was a recipe for our homemade granola, I realized recently that I've been making our granola nearly the same way for at least seven years now. I no longer use powdered milk and I'm using coconut oil these days. As far as my granola preferences go, it's a perfect recipe. And oh so simple, just as I think granola should be. 

There are countless ways to make good granola - the nut, seed, and dried fruit mix-in combinations are endless. But I always come back to one tried and true list of ingredients. It happens to be one without a lot of extras. 


As I begin the task of organizing categories on this blog, as well as building a recipe page to better index those that are shared here, I'm trying to make better sense of a few things. I realized our granola recipe gets searched out a lot by googlers and it sure could stand a better post with prettier (bigger) photos, with a printable recipe option to boot. 

(This is also another sample recipe from my Whole Food Kitchen workshop, in class I demonstrate through a cooking video just how simple this is to make.) 

My recipe calls for maple syrup as the sweetener, but I live in an area where it's an abundant harvest. I know it can be quite cost prohibitive in other areas so feel free to substitute honey in equal amounts. If you avoid gluten you can use your favorite flour substitute in place of the whole wheat. I haven't tried coconut flour but I imagine that would be good.  



Homemade Granola


  • 6 cups uncooked oats
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 2/3 cup maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla



preheat oven to 300°F

  1. In a large bowl combine oats, coconut, flour, spices, salt, mix well. 
  2. In a saucepan heat the coconut oil, maple syrup, and vanilla until warm. Pour this over the oat mixture and mix well.
  3. Spread evenly on 1 or 2 cookie sheets, press into pan with back of spoon (this will help create “clumps” - the more you press together, the clumpier it is). Bake at 300°F for 40 minutes, carefully stirring half way through. 
  4. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in pan(s). As it cools it becomes harder, more granola like. Store in airtight glass container. I use a gallon or half gallon jar, depending on the size batch I make. 


Print Recipe -  Homemade Granola



After you've made a batch of granola, the options are endless as to what can be done with it. Yogurt parfait, green salad topping (trust me, it's good), by the handful snacking, morning cereal with fresh homemade almond milk, sprinkled over vanilla ice cream... and my new favorite, mixed with warm applesauce. Oh my, I'm loving it this way right now.

And you? What's your favorite way to enjoy granola? 

Pulling it all Together


This blog has been with me for a long time. Aside from my marriage and parenting, blogging is the longest standing 'thing' I've ever done. Seriously! I'm an idea person and have always been willing to change my life to meet new interests, both personally and professionally. Life is short - I like to take chances, try new things, and grow, grow, grow... so long as all of that fits nicely into my low key, homebody sensibility. ;)

But something about coming here, sharing photos and thoughts, capturing handmades (there needs to be a lot more of that again), and generally telling the tale of our days - it fills me and holds my attention quite nicely. Lately I've been thinking of it as a hobby. I'm not really sure why it's never occurred to me (before) that writing a blog could be considered a hobby, but it is. A craft in and of itself, something to be developed and improved upon over time. Both the writing and photography of nearly any blog improves remarkably as the years pass. 

Lately I've felt a little scattered in my online world. I've wondered how to pull together all that I am today, without leaving behind who I've always been along the way (because I am still that girl too). Right now, this very moment reflects an evolved version of who I was at the beginning of this blog, as this moment always should reflect.


Since I first hit publish all those years ago, I've gone back to school, moved to a new home, began parenting a teenager, became a homeschooling family, started a wellness practice, and began to think of the craft of writing as something I like to do, or rather I need to do. Because these things have been captured here in some shape or form, it's easy to stand back and observe how this hobby has grown leaps and bounds. Blogging as a hobby, I do love it.

But then there is the reality that this playful activity of blogging has opened doors and helps provide the means for food to land on our table and hot water to stream through our shower. I find that astounding, really. How is that possible? It's not something I could have imagined in my wildest (hardworking) dreams way back when. I do love this circle of women and men who have dug in their heels and are finding a way to both work and live from the comfort of home, offer most of what they do free of charge, and somehow manage to pay a few bills at the same time.

My work (it is so hard to call it that) has grown beyond handcrafts, art, and yoga. It still involves those things, there's just new things too. I find myself wondering how to best capture and offer all of this in a way that feels clear, organized, inspiring, and natural. 


I'm sure some of you ponder whether or not your blog title still suits who you are and what your blog is about, over time. Years go by and we grow in our lives, wouldn't it makes sense that our web presence reflect that? But do we need to really change things, or can they just all flow from one original place? Do I have to get really formal and be something like heatherbruggeman.com? I don't want to do that, I like this space and what the title of it means for different people, and for me. I like the open-endedness of something called beauty that moves.

I like for things to flow organically and for visitors to be comforted by their time here. I do offer workshops, but it's the day to day living that I share most of the time.

A few months back I had the idea to provide different rooms here on the web for this and that, a way to sort of separate my work from play. I started writing in a new space, and then there was an accompanying facebook page (all the while still maintaining my regular facebook page), it felt complicated very quickly. Some of you who know me well probably saw that coming. I don't do well with too many irons in the fire. 

To be fair to myself, at the time I started Nourish the Whole Self, my writing here was done in a very simple daybook style. I wasn't sharing recipes or projects and craved a place to do so as a way to tie in with my work. But then one day I returned to writing more typical blog posts in this space, and it felt like I couldn't decide what should publish here and what should publish there. 


After much quiet thought, I've decided to keep everything in one easy to find space, right here where I've always been. How's that for a grand idea!?

Keep it simple. 

So, I'm collecting myself and all that I do and bringing it back here. This week I'll be merging the few posts from Nourish the Whole Self into this blog, and I've got some facebook housekeeping to do. I don't know about facebook, what an odd and potentially wonderful little place. I think it would be best to have a very small personal space for family and close friends, and one for the blog. Which is how I should have done it in the first place but didn't really know the ropes in the beginning. 

I've been tinkering with my blog design over the weekend. Nothing major, new colors and a pretty banner. My big project is to filter through the over 1,000 posts here and better categorize them. There really is no need for the number of categories that appear on the sidebar - and I don't think I've even categorized any new post in months. So disorganized, my apologies. Oh! And I need to create a recipe page, that is a must for the new year. 


I can't say for sure that I won't have the idea to venture off and create a new space again, but at this time I do feel like keeping all that I do in one cozy place on the web. Perhaps that doesn't make me look as polished as some of the amazing folks who work through their blogs, but down to earth is who I am so simple, humble, and a little rough around the edges it is. 

This is such a housekeeping sort of post, autumn is good for that. Let's just say I'm sweeping out the corners, warming cider on the stove, and feeling so very inspired by the change in the air.

This week on my desk is Whole Food Kitchen final details. I can't believe the autumn session begins in one week! Very excited to be with a new (and returning) group of people. Have you seen my little ad on Soulemama's sidebar? You will find a special code there to receive a $10 discount for the workshop. There's one more week to register!

I love having other contributors to my workshops, their voices and experiences enhance what I offer so beautifully. This session of Whole Food Kitchen we'll be joined by Renee Tougas of Fimby, Lisa Moussalli of Frog Bottom Farm, Amanda Soule of Soulemama, Emily Croft of Abide with Me, Christina Davis of From Scratch Club, and Marisa McClellan of Food in Jars

What a great group! Participants really enjoyed this element to the workshop last time and I think they will again. 


For today, after I clear my desk of email responding, and new registration processing, I plan to turn off the computer, strain and can the last batch of applesauce that is currently simmering on the stove, and pull out my sewing machine to work on the lap quilt for my new cozy chair.

Pulling it all together, these facets of me, right here in one little place. 

There will be Tomato Sauce this Year! (plus a tutorial)


It feels like November outside. Oh, I know there are still too many leaves on the trees to be November, and most of them are green still - but the wind, grey skies, cool but not frigid temperatures - that all feels so very November. One of my favorite months. 

But not quite yet.

Even as we wash windows, do fall garden clean up, and unpack sweaters and mittens, the summer harvest still rolls in. Writing that reminds me that I haven't checked on the beans in the garden for a few days and I know there are plenty more to pick, blanch, and freeze. The beans got away from me this year. Beans are like that though. So bossy.

Having lost all of our plum tomatoes to late blight before they ripened, I knew I'd be on the look out for a good supply at a farmstand. I really wanted to make sauce for the winter, even if it meant buying tomatoes and not saving very many pennies compared to buying sauce from the store. But you know, it's nice to be certain of ingredients and such. You can feel best about that sort of thing when you make your own. 


Last week I picked up 25 pounds of plum tomatoes from a nearby farm and had a chance to process them over the weekend. Originally I had planned to pressure can the sauce but in the end wound up freezing it in jars. I prefer frozen to canned anyway, but I am trying to keep more canned goods on hand for emergencies and convenience. 


If you are looking to can tomato sauce, Marisa McClellan of Food in Jars wrote about the safety of doing so - interesting thoughts on that post and in the comments. I don't think I've mentioned it yet, but Marisa is one of my contributors for the upcoming session of Whole Food Kitchen! I have some details and thoughts about a variety of things to share on Friday (hopefully Friday), so I'll fill you in a bit more about that, and other contributors as well. 


The secret to good tomato sauce is time. That is it, you can add any seasoning you'd like, but if you don't add time, you won't have great sauce. Well, if you like thick, rich sauce that is. Though I'm told true Italian sauce is on the watery side.

I don't have a recipe to share, I think that might be impossible when it comes to sauce, but I can offer a guide of sorts. If you were here in the kitchen with me, this is how we'd make tomato sauce. I don't measure when I cook, but this is generally how it would look if I did.



Tomato Sauce Tutorial


You will need:

  • 25 pounds of plum tomatoes
  • 2-3 large onions and 2 green peppers if you'd like, 4-6 cups combined (I prefer more onion than pepper)
  • several glugs of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1-2 heads of garlic (yep, whole heads - garlic is good)
  • 3-4 teaspoons garlic powder (more garlic!)
  • 1-3 tablespoons Italian Seasoning blend
  • sea salt and black pepper to taste (for that amount of tomatoes, it may take a tablespoon or so of salt, don't be alarmed, it's a large batch)
  • honey or sugar to cut acidity if needed - a few tablespoons or more
  • 4 ounces tomato paste, optional - no need to think of it as cheating, it will really pull your sauce together nicely. 
  • 1 cup of freshly chopped basil to finish it off
  • any other seasoning you'd like, such as chili flakes
  • heavy-bottomed pot large enough to hold the tomatoes
  • blender (high powered, even better)
  • food mill
  • plenty of pint or quart sized jars - the number will depend on how reduced you like your sauce, my 25 pounds of tomatoes yielded 16 pints of sauce. 



1. Gather and wash 25 pounds of plum tomatoes. Cut off stem ends and slice them into chunks. 

2. Place all the tomatoes in a heavy-bottomed pot, large enough to hold the whole batch. (I just add in batches as I chop.) Bring to a gentle boil over medium heat (or slightly higher). 

3. Stir and mash tomatoes with the back of your spoon. 

4. Once the tomatoes are tender and the skins begin to slip away from the fruit, puree the potful in the blender, a few cups at a time. Be mindful to not fill a blender too much with hot food, and always hold the lid on with one hand. I fill mine about 1/3 of the way each time.

5. After you blend each batch, press it through a food mill to remove skins and seeds (have a bowl underneath to catch the goods). Take your time doing this, you don't want to leave precious tomato flesh behind, only skins and seeds. (You can sort of see my set up in the photo above.)

6. From here transfer the skin and seed free tomato sauce to a huge bowl.

7. Now it's time to saute the vegetables if you're using them. I prefer to dice them very fine, some people like their veggies chunky. Cook slowly over medium low heat. Just give the big pot a quick rinse first to remove any remaining skin and seeds clinging to the sides. Add olive oil, peppers and onions to the pot and saute gently for 5-7 minutes, until tender. Add the minced garlic, garlic powder, Italian Seasoning, some of the sea salt, and black pepper. Saute for another minute or two.

8. Add the strained tomato pulp back to the pot and bring to a low simmer, uncovered. Continue simmering for several hours, I've been known to simmer sauce for twelve hours. Once you are close to being satisfied with the sauce thickness, you can add the tomato paste, if using. Stir to dissolve.

9. Now begin to check the sauce for flavor. This may take time. Sweeten with honey or a bit of sugar if it's too acidic. Does it need salt? More garlic powder? Perhaps a glug or two of olive oil? Once you are close to the end, add the fresh basil. Ahh... turn off the heat and let it sit for about 30 minutes. 

10. Fill clean canning jars, leaving an inch of space for expansion as it freezes. Leave the jars uncovered so they can cool for a little while. If you can, leave the jars in the refrigerator overnight to cool completely before freezing. 


Freezing in jars

Freezing in glass is wonderful and feels much healthier than plastic. But a failed (broken) jar is such a bummer.


A few tips to minimize breakage:

  • Allow food to cool completely before freezing.
  • Food containing liquid will expand about 10% once frozen. Leave an inch at the top of your jars to allow for this.
  • Use good quality canning jars. This glass is thick and tempered, able to withstand more pressure and temperature changes.
  • If possible, use straight sided jars such as these. As the liquid expands when freezing, it is often the pressure against the "shoulder" (the part that curves in toward the neck) of the jar that is the point of breakage. A straight sided jar eliminates this stress point.
  • Do not screw lids firmly on the jars until after the food inside is completely frozen. This helps to reduce pressure and create subtle space needed for the food to expand. 

Using this method I have very little breakage when freezing in jars, at least 95% of the time there is zero breakage. All of the jars from this lovely batch remained nicely intact, leaving us lots of sauce to look forward to over the winter. 

Download and Print - Tomato Sauce Tutorial


I know this is a lot to take in, but if you were here in the kitchen with me it wouldn't seem that way. I'd slowly talk you through it as we sipped wine and stirred sauce throughout the day. It wouldn't seen so overwhelming then, I promise.

I tried to write this out as if I was just explaining it over the phone to a friend. Feel free to pass it along to another friend as well.

I think many of us still have those last bushels of tomatoes to process, and with the cooler temperatures a day in the kitchen feels rather nice. Next up on my list - a full bushel of apples waits for me on the screen porch, and another round of picking still to come.

Oh September, you mark the beginning of my favorite time of year. 

our homeschool curriculum ~ 2012/2013


Why do I get so nervous publishing posts ike this? 

Maybe because it's a culmination of very careful and personal decision making laid bare for the world to see. At first glance you wouldn't think a discussion about learning material could leave one feeling vulnerable... but, well, it does (at times - on the internet). 

Still, I'm jumping in because every year I look to so many families in my community, both virtual and here at home, and glean wonderful ideas on how they "do school." Like many homeschool parents, I'm particularly interested in reading about families one or two years ahead of us. 

This year we have entered high school! So, if that is on the radar for you, this post may provide some new ideas that you can file away in your planning. The downside to writing a curriculum post in September is we haven't spent a great deal of time with our chosen resources yet so this really can't serve as a review, but I'm happy to explain what we're using. 

Before I jump in, a quick revisit to our homeschooling philosophy, and a brief mention of the style and rhythm Emily looks for in her homeschool days.

Emily is very clear about how she likes homeschool to play out.

She likes structure, accountability (to other adults/peers, in addition to Adam and I), measured progress, assignments and projects that can be completed and moved on from, etc. She also likes a bountiful social calendar balanced with equally important unscheduled down time.

So, I share the details of how Emily likes our days to flow because our homeschool looks very much like, well... school. (Except without all the other school 'stuff' that we're not so much interested in.) 

There are textbooks and online classrooms and grades and lessons plans and even homework on occasion. We've designed our days around exactly the sort of learning experience Emily has requested, so that means our rather formal way of doing things is totally "child-led." Maybe we are Classical Unschoolers - ha!

As parents, we all want what's best for our kids. Each of us hopefully does our parenting job consciously, and lives out our days as best we can. Nobody does it perfectly. We strive to align our values, hopes, and dreams with the actions of day to day living. Some of us homeschool, some of us don't. Still, we're all moms and dads doing the best we can - hoping to offer up some pretty awesome people to the world when our work is done. (Is it ever really done?)

Okay, so let's get to it.



A rather extensive list of all that we have going on this school year:


English/Language Arts

For the first time we are enrolled in an online school for two subjects, English being one of them. Through k12, Emily is taking Honors Literary Analysis and Composition. I'm pretty excited about this. Her teacher in highly interactive and the work I've seen so far is rich in content and appropriately challenging. There is a learning curve involved in the new territory of an online classroom (it's quite sophisticated!), but we are now in week two and she's finding her way around just fine. 

Wordly Wise - This is a spelling and vocabulary workbook series that Emily has done since her early Montessori days. We don't do the new online version, preferring the old-fashioned workbooks. It isn't necessary to do this really, as there is a vocabulary/grammar strand in the k12 class she's taking, but Wordly Wise is such a part of how we've always done things. And it's fun.



Teaching Textbooks - We started using this last year and really like it. The reviews are generally excellent if you do a quick online search, the only common "negative" being that the classes are slightly below level in their content. If you have a child that is not so strong in math, this might be the perfect solution for you. It is for us. We are condensing Pre-Algebra into the first half of this year (she is moving quickly through it) and adding Algebra I beginning in the second half. Technically, this track places Emily slightly behind "schedule" according to her grade level, but I believe whole-heartedly in mastery of each concept before moving on. 



This year (and probably into next) we are studying US History and I'm happy to say I've finally liberated us from a formal history curriculum! As much as I've tried, I just can't seem to get behind any textbook type history program. Too much is glossed over or left out entirely, leaving us hungry for more. This year, thanks to the recommendation of my new homeschool mama friend, Melinda (who has a beautiful blog by the way), we'll be using Joy Hakim's, A History of Us. In addition, we'll be touring many of the Historic New England Homes, working our way through a great literature list, using A Young People's History of the United States, and creating weekly timeline cards based on the period in US History that was studied that week. (Have you ever done that? I'll show you more about that in a few weeks when we have a few more in our binder - it's a great project for any age.) In keeping with how Emily likes things, I did go ahead and order the assessment book for weekly tests based on the reading we've done. 


Foreign Language

Rosetta Stone Spanish - This homeschool version of Rosetta Stone allows for record keeping and grading. We actually started using this last year and it has proven effective, Emily is indeed learning Spanish. Technical and customer support have not been fantastic for us (various issues) so that is a little disappointing. Also, lacking a real classroom feel to the language has me thinking of moving her foreign language to a k12 type of option for next year. Of course, so many of us took 2-3 years of language in high school and can barely exchange the simplest greetings. I'm not looking to stress about the perfect program, but Emily does have a natural propensity to language so I am mindful of fostering this appropriately. 





Apologia Biology with Lab - This is the second science book we've used from Apologia. It's not for everyone, if you're looking exclusively for a secular science program this is probably not for you. Dr. Jay Wile writes Apologia's textbooks (the two we've used anyway, not sure if he's written all of their texts), his personality is quite something and Emily has grown to look forward to what he has to say each day. He can be outrageous, funny, brilliant, frustrating, and incredibly thought provoking (oh, the discussions that can stem from a curriculum you don't completely align with, philosophically speaking - I guess we embrace our differences rather than resist them). But the science is excellent, and it is not dumbed down which I appreciate. (I really dislike textbooks that aren't much more than a collection of sound bites.) 

Samantha of To Be Busy at Home wrote an excellent review about this course and it helped us to make our decision to go for it. We are pretty much doing this course as she describes, including ordering the supplies from Sonlight (we now have a microscope!) and the Lapbook Journal Kit from Knowledge Box. Emily is going to love that. I really loved Samantha's thorough review, if you have a minute and are looking ahead to high school science you might like to pop over and have a read. 


Computer Science

Web Design - This is the second course Emily is taking through k12. It doesn't begin until tomorrow so I don't have much to share about it. She did have her orientation with her teacher and that went well, other than that we are just waiting and looking forward to it. 



In many ways, we live this subject everyday. To formalize the experience we are using Vintage Remedies, Family Herbalist Course - We started this class last year and plan on taking it at least until the end of this year, perhaps into next year. This is something we do once a week and usually there is a project involved - one that is provided by, or inpspired by the unit we are currently studying. 



You know, I think I'm going to save this for another post. What we have in the works is brewing itself up right now so I'll wait until a few more pieces fall into place. 

Emily is an athlete and filling this part of her experience as she gets older proves to be the only (slightly) tricky part we need to deal with as homeschoolers. This is because many towns lose there youth sports come high school age. In my state (not sure if it's the same elsewhere), any homeschooled child can play team sports, participate in band, and even take certain classes in their district without being fully enrolled in public school. It makes sense because you do still pay taxes, after all. Some kids however, don't get too excited about the idea of only attending school for select activities - feeling it can be awkward socially. Some kids have no concern and jump right in, those kids often find the notion of social awkwardness to be a myth. They are accepted just fine by their teammates. Each kid is different with how they feel about this. 



Artistic Pursuits - I don't want to say too much about this yet as it just arrived here two days ago. I'll share more in the another post down the road. Of course creativity happens each day in so many other ways too, but this pulls together a few key techniques and teachings that I'm looking forward to. 


Dance Card

So to speak. Important to Emily at this point in her development is having plenty of great things on the calendar to look forward to. She is a teenager now (or young adult, as I prefer), and is looking to explore her growing independence and interests with peers and through various out of the house activities.

Basically, in order to know what she would like to do in this world, she is more eager than in her younger years to get out there and explore it. October is already pretty full and she's quite pleased about it - looking forward to a Haunted Hayride (for teens), two dances (one Harvest themed dinner dance, one Halloween themed), two concerts (Brandi Carlile and Regina Spector), and Yale Splash


 Teen Book Club 

A wonderful group of about eight young ladies (just happens to be all girls) have begun meeting once a month for a traditional book club. Their meeting place is a funky cafe in Northeastern Connecticut and the gathering is a nice balance of discussing the book and moving on to discussing life. Emily is having a wonderful time. 



Emily is finishing up her first year of piano lessons at The Community School of the Arts at Uconn. She loves her teacher and loves the piano too. All is well there... although there is mention of adding the cello next semester. (!!!)


Homeschool Co-op

We have joined a new to us (weekly) co-op that is quite popular in our area. In our new home we are about twenty minutes closer to the co-op which brings the drive in under one hour. Emily is taking three classes this semester - Constitution, Freakonomics, and Gluten Free Cooking. We've only had one week so far but I'm sure I'll have much to say in the future about this community, it feels like a really wonderful group of people. 


Oh my goodness this looks like so much.

And it is! This is by design and not all things meet daily, or even weekly. They are all worked into our regular schedule and I have a feeling this is going to be our best homeschool year yet!

Is there any new curriculum happening in your homeschool this year? No matter the age range, if you have a minute, do share a link to what you are using. We all love to peek in on what each other is up to. Thanks! 

(And thank you for sticking around to the end of this very long post!)

I Love to Cook for Others, but I Love to be Fed too


I like to cook, I really do. I sort of do it professionally. Though I've never had a gourmet kitchen or anything made by Le Creuset, I get by pretty nicely and my people tell me my cooking is their favorite in the world. (Though my mother-in-law is a very good cook too, a great deal of what I learned in my early cooking days came through her.)


For several months now my cooking mojo has not been what it once was. Maybe I've spent too much time developing recipes for my classes - sampling all day long rather than sitting down for a proper meal. Maybe it's the ever-changing wants, needs, and interests of my family's palette. Maybe I just need a cooking sabbatical. (Can we mamas take those?)

Over the summer I had a chance to visit Kripalu for a week and attend one of their Healthy Living Programs. What a dream. Aside from the endless yoga and the workshop I attended, Kriaplu serves bountiful plant-based meals three times a day. All perfectly and lovingly cooked (or not cooked), all ready and waiting to nourish visitors as their belly calls. 

The Kripalu cafeteria (which truly does not feel like the right word to call it) is not entirely vegetarian, but mostly so. Actually, it is almost entirely vegan. In addition to the Mainline Bar there is a Basics Bar (formerly called the Buddha Bar) that offers macrobiotic type selections. And there is another section that is a Sandwich Bar, but I never made it over to that area. I hear they always have avocados there. 

Some people say they go to Kripalu and gain weight, falling victim to the "buffet effect." I can see how this might happen - after all, too much is too much no matter what is on our plate. And though it is mostly healthy food, there are bread and dairy type offerings (at times) that can easily be too rich for some people.


For me, I found it amazing that when everything was prepared for me, and access was easy, I was drawn only to the healthiest foods. Over and over my plate was filled with plants, my bowl steaming with miso, my cup with herbal iced tea or honey sweetened ginger lemonade. There was an egg one morning and a piece of fish one night, but otherwise plants only. Not by choice, but by following true hunger.  

How simple it was to delight in food that was made and offered by others.

The first night of our workshop we broke into small groups and did an exercise - sort of a getting to know you/break the ice activity. We were in groups of about five people, each of us were given paper and crayons, and we were told to "draw a favorite food memory."

My food memory happened to be very recent. 


The week prior to my heading to Kripalu, I took Emily and her best friend away for a couple of nights to the town of Mystic, CT, about 45 minutes from here. The intention of this trip was to just be together, poking around a quaint town, visit the aquarium, and swim swim swim. Oh, and eat!

Emily's friend was about to leave for a month long stay at camp a few states away - this getaway was purely about making memories and holding precious time still, if only for a moment. 




We kept the two days pretty casual (and thanks to Mystic Market we kept it fairly healthy too), but I did want to take the girls out for one special meal, being in the quaint shoreline town and all. We wanted wonderful food with a view. It was just one of those nights where everything was perfect, the temperature, the flavors, the company, and oh yes... the view. 






I loved sitting back and watching their friendship before me. These two girls who have been like sisters since they were six years old, now both in high school with talk of driving and college as part of normal conversation. We have to stop and notice these moments, take in the spirit of it all. It's there, always. 

And we were so well fed. There were no groceries to buy or veggies to chop or dishes to wash. I don't mind those things, but I also don't mind not doing those things from time to time. 

Anyway, that night was the image I drew for the activity at Kripalu. After our time spent drawing, we each took turns in our small groups sharing about our food memory. Just a minute or to each, going around the circle and holding the space for each other to share. 

After we five ladies had taken our turn, it occured to us that each of our food memories had to do with other people doing the cooking. Also, each of us shared that food with people we cared deeply for.  

We were truly surprised by this. Really? All of us? But we love to cook for our families! Why is it that our most prominent food memories are of others doing the cooking? As good as it is to give, it is also wonderful to receive. 


This year, Adam is home more than usual, playing a much more prominent role in our homeschool. Being home more (and with me working more), he's taking over kitchen duties a couple times a week. Don't get me wrong, he'll help out any ol' day of the week normally, but these two days - they're on the calendar! With menus planned and ingredients added to the grocery list!

This is such a big help to me as I squeeze an extra hour out of the day for work or homeschool admin/record-keeping (my strength), or work related tasks. The rest of the weeknights are mine to cook on, and the weekends we just sort of share the duties depending on the day and any activities one or both of us may be engaged in.  

Emily has her own ever-evolving role in mealtime prep/clean-up, but that is a tale for another day. For now, I'm relishing in the idea of the many beautiful food memories to come... where my job is to pour the wine, sit down hungry, and offer my compliments to the chef.

I do love to cook for others, it's who I am. But, I love to be fed, too. 

Welcome to the Homeschool!


I'm not sure how it goes at regular high school these days, but here at home the first day started with Guns & Roses (re-working the lyrics a bit), and a little dance party. We are so happy to be back in the swing of things, happy to have a new "teacher" in the house, and oh so happy for oodles of new school supplies (okay, that would be me). I do love school supplies. 

I'm putting together a post all about the materials and curriculum we are using this year, hopefully I can share that sometime this week or early next week. Also, this photo reminds me - I haven't taken proper photos of a pretty major room swap that happened here recently. I'd love to share more of that, soon. 

Today, just a quick hello and a nod to the start of our school year. It is beautifully crisp and sunny outside today, we all have sweaters on, and two of us are wearing a scarf. Fall is in the air. Ah, yes... now is the time to start a new school year. 

A Day Spent Looking (and contemplating)


Yesterday we drove up to Vermont and looked at a piece of land. It was lovely, though we are not sure it is "the one." That would be okay. But then again, maybe it is... (oh, the decision making process).

We aren't exactly looking for that perfect forever piece, but one that we could build a sweet little off grid cabin on and retreat to as desired. A cabin we could also offer to others as a zen little place to write, make art, enjoy nature, and contemplate life. 

(In other words, not your typical north woods hunting camp.)


This dream has been brewing for some time now, a stepping stone on this path of ours. I'm not sure how long the process will take, but it is wonderful to be actively looking. 


The land we looked at yesterday was an eight acre parcel down a winding dirt road. It contained three acres of pasture and five acres of woodland (mixed hard and softwood), and plenty of stonewalls. There is a beautiful barn too, built not too long ago so it is in very good shape. The well structured barn adds incredible appeal to this property. Though I don't envision true farming at a getaway place - storage for canoes, kayaks, bikes, and Adam's woodworking shop would be much appreciated. However, if we were to farm here someday, the three acre pasture is entirely fenced in (the previous owner had sheep). 

Adam had already seen the place, having driven up to look at several properties last week and this being one of them. But this is the first property I've seen. I'd like to see some more before deciding which is the right fit for us. I know the search will slow down over the winter (if we don't find something by then), but it would be lovely to have something in place by next spring or summer. 










The town village is just right - one we've been to many times over the years. There is a bakery, a couple of cafes and restaurants, a bookstore, a fabric store, a yoga studio, a local foods market, and a beautiful Waldorf space for play, classes and birthday parties. There are other farm and artisan places sprinkled throughout the town too, but these are right in (or close to) the center. 

I do love the search, though I can sense already the process involves just as much work and compromise as it does dreaming and hoping. Patience and grace are needed... I'm trying. 

Patience, grace, hopes, dreams, work and compromise. All in all, not a bad theme for my fortieth birthday. xo