6 Things I Learned In May

Instead of sharing what I’ve been into this month, I’m linking up with Emily to share a few things that I’ve learned during this lovely month of May. (I may have a bias since May is my birthday month…)

1. I’m addicted to blogging porn. Like any multi-step program, naming the addiction/problem is the first part of the recovery process. Social media use is all tied up in my addiction, too, so I’ve been slowly weeding my garden space on the internet and replanting with intention and care. Right now, this looks like reading blogs only via Feedly and deleting Facebook from my phone.

2. I re-learned (more of a confirmation of what I already knew) how to make the perfect hard-boiled egg that peels correctly and has bright yellow yolks.

 

the perfect hard-boiled eggGet the perfect hard-boiled egg every time:

  • Put eggs in pot (don’t overcrowd) and fill with cold water, covering the eggs by one-inch.
  • Place pot over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Not a rolling boil, but a tiny bubble boil.
  • Promptly remove from heat and cover the pot with a tight fitting lid.
  • Keep covered for 12 minutes.
  • After 12 minutes, drain eggs and run under cold water until you can handle them without burning your fingers.
  • Drain cold water and shake the eggs vigorously in the pot to crack the shells.
  • Peel and store eggs in refrigerator.
  • My favorite peeling method: Pinch cracked shell with thumb and forefinger at the top of the wider part of the egg. There’s usually an air pocket there which allows you to get under the membrane that holds the shell together. Pull shell away and gently wedge your thumb under the remaining shell/membrane. Slide your thumb along the egg to take off the remaining shell. Run under water to remove residual shell pieces.

3. Parenthood is a constantly evolving, ever changing role that makes me more overwhelmed and more proud/joyful/energized than anything else. James scooted and slept in his own room for the first time this past week!

 

How to save money on dish soap4. I’ve always been a little disturbed by how much dish soap it takes to wash my dirty dishes. I use a pump soap dispenser and find myself constantly reapplying to my sponge since most of the new soap gets liberally smeared on the next dish. What I needed was instant lather. Getting instant lather takes a minor investment and will save you a good chunk of money per year.

How to save money on dish soap:

  • Buy a foaming anti-bacterial hand soap from Bath and Body Works. (Do they sell cheaper ones elsewhere?) Enjoy the lovely scent until it runs out.
  • Fill the empty container 1/3 full of your desired dish soap. Fill the rest of the container with water, leaving about 1/2″ airspace.
  • Screw the lid back on and shake, shake, shake until the soap and the water are mixed.
  • Voila. You now have a foaming dish soap that gives you instant lather without wasting endless soap!

5. I LOVE smoothies. Why have I resisted all my life? On a normal day, I will whir up a banana, 1 cup whole strawberries, and 1 cup unsweetened almond milk. I pinned this smoothie a couple days ago and made an adapted version yesterday. Just. So. Good.

6. Especially when life gets overwhelming, it’s important to celebrate small victories.

photo credit: quinn.anya (egg) & Bill Selak (dish soap) via photopin cc

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Into Home and Heart

Into Heart and Home

Food is one of my love languages (sorry Gary, I think you missed one…). I love the idea of opening my home to others, welcoming them in with warmth and wafts of goodness baking in the oven. My heart is in everything I cook and bake, especially when I do it for others to enjoy. But, for someone who expresses love through food, I’m not that great about inviting people to break bread with me.

Little pieces of me go into the food I make like another item on the ingredient list. Whether it’s a simple sandwich or a chocolate souffle, I offer myself along with the food I serve. Maybe that’s why I am tentative to ask others to partake. An invitation to dinner is an invitation into my home and my heart.

~~~

What if she doesn’t like mushrooms? What if he prefers corn tortillas? What if my popovers don’t pop? What if I don’t have the table set when they arrive?

The “what ifs” are endless as I consider making an invitation. Since those little pieces of me are in the food, cooking leaves me exposed. I worry because inevitably guests will see my imperfections. If I was able to share a meal with someone without one detail, however small, being off, I would not have been fully present. My efforts would have been more focused on the food instead of the friendships. I am hesitant because their response to my home and food is actually acceptance or rejection of me as a person. An invitation to dinner is an invitation into my brokenness and vulnerability.

~~~

Vulnerability is a key part of community and community comes most naturally to me around the table. I value both highly and have realized that neither of them happen automatically. Vulnerability requires humility and community requires openness. What better way to express these two things than by setting my table and inviting people to share a meal. An invitation to dinner is an invitation to share a part of me along with the meal.

Earlier this year I committed to living a more intentional life – in all ways, but especially in regards to developing community. For me, this looks like having company over more often. It’s stepping outside my comfort zone and serving up some vulnerability with a side of green beans. It’s not worrying about the end result but enjoying the messy process of sharing life with people around the table. It’s inviting people into my home so they can taste and see my heart.

Primitive Pleasures: what balanced out the rustic this month

There’s this blog that I really love called Cardigan Way. Katie, the lovely author behind the blog, and I connected over a shared love of Eustace from The Chronicles of Narnia. She is also a pastor’s wife, loves literature, and has a keen sense of style. As I was catching up with all the truth, goodness, and beauty on Cardigan Way the other day, I came across her January Goodness post and loved it. It’s a retrospective of what she’s been into for the past month.

Primitive Pleasures is the Primitive Roads take on a “what I’m into” post.  So, here goes a lot of good things that got me through the rustic moments of February…

Primitive Pleasures February

Homemade

February was my turn to provide a meal for the elder’s meeting at our church and Tim’s birthday, both of which gave me reasons to make cupcakes. I have 5 cookbooks specifically dedicated to cupcakes, but I went for recipes I’d made before from one of my favorite food blogs – Annie’s Eats. She makes a ton of delicious things, however, the cupcakes are unreal. {My photos don’t do them justice…}

Annie's Eats Cupcakes

One of the things Tim and I miss most about California is really good Mexican food. Since my word for this year is intentional, I decided to push past the intimidation and start making Mexican food at home. I’m addicted to bean and cheese burritos so my first project was refried beans. The first recipe I tried {Crockpot Refried Beans} was a huge success. We also enjoyed the Sweet Corn Chicken Enchiladas and Baked Tacos from One Good Thing.

Baking is an outlet for me and when it’s cold, it seems like I really need an outlet for my winter blues. I made Joy The Baker’s Biscuit Cinnamon Rolls twice, Rosemary Lemon Sugar Cookies, and Martha Stewart’s Cream Filled Chocolate Sandwich Cookies. Maybe my best baking discovery this month was the PERFECT chocolate chip cookie: Alton Brown’s Chewy – tender, chewy {because of bread flour} and chock full of chocolate chips. Just wow.

Cookies

Crafted

My friend Kristina is doing a month of craft therapy on her blog The Blissful Bird. She made the cutest cross-stitched likeness of her and her husband. I’m inspired to break out my needle and thread.

I made another version of the Paper Bag Christmas Card for Valentine’s Day {plus I made my first ever video tutorial} and then saw this Paper Bag Book variation and can’t wait to adapt it for upcoming holidays.

CraftedLovely Ideas

I’m spatially challenged, but my mom was able to replicate this awesome way to braid your scarf.

In and effort to fight back against the cold on a trip to Chicago last week, a friend and I held the first Humidity Saturday. We went to the Garfield Park Conservatory and enjoyed the warm, damp air, earthy smells, and greenery knowing it was below freezing just beyond the glass walls. I enjoyed it so much, I’m looking for ways to do it in Idaho. Even a day where you turn up the heat to 80 and wear shorts in your house would be a huge tre

Lovely IdeasRead

My new job offers me plenty of travel time to read. Some of my favorites from this month were Grace For The Good Girl by Emily Freeman, Losing It by Erin Fry, and Death Comes To Pemberley by P.D. James. {a note on that last one – not necessarily my favorite Jane Austen sequel, but worthwhile for the interesting way James developed the character’s life after Pride and Prejudice}

It’s fitting that I stumbled upon a couple awesome posts on marriage this month since 1. it’s the love month and 2. I was participating in a collaborative series called How To Maintain Your High Maintenance Marriage.

Closing Thoughts

The Lizzie Bennet Diaries. Enough said.

Downton Abbey as a Metaphor for Church Life by Adam McLane {who we are so excited to host at CBC in April!}

Speaking of good things to watch, it’s time for Psych Season 7 premiere! Time to sign off…

I’m linking up to What I’m Into at HopefulLeigh.