Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Currently May

Current Book(s)
Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson (just finished this one...water works!)
A Book That Takes Its Time by Irene Smit & Astrid Van der Hulst
I had to return some to the library that I didn't finish yet, hoping to get them back again!

Current Music
You're not allowed to laugh, but I made a YouTube playlist of all of the pivotal Nick + Jess moments through all the years. Sighh. I tried so hard to embed the playlist, but the code wasn't working, so you'll have to click HERE to listen to the whole playlist. For now, here is the one I keep going back to...their wedding song! (Sobbbbb)

Current Focuses
Getting through the school year, mostly! Next week is going to be CRAZY busy...trying to stay organized and keep a level head, but there's A LOT going on! And it's just the start of the crazy...basically all of June is going to be a circus.

Current Random Happenings
New Girl ended, and I'm a little heartbroken. Okay, maybe a lot heartbroken. I've been known to get invested in a show, but this was my favorite of all time. I remember the previews and teasers before the show started and I already knew I would love it. I was holding a newborn Henry when I watched the pilot and I was immediately hooked - I knew this would be my show. And it was, for 7 years, and I cried like a baby last Tuesday. I will miss it forever and ever.

Jake has been SUPER into wishing dandelions lately. Whenever we're outside...playing in the yard, walking into our out of can spot him holding one and quietly whispering, "I wish I had so many airplanes" or "I wish I had a Southwest airplane with a blue canyon paint job." This kid. He already has the toys and models...he legitimately wants the full-size one straight from the airport, and he's convinced it will fit in our back yard.

Current Guilty Pleasure
Re-watching New Girl obsessively. I'll get over it, I promise lol.

Current Celebrity Crush
Jake Johnson. I'm so sad Nick Miller's story is done.

Current Nail Color
Essie's Lilacism. Perfect for lilac season!!

Current Outfit
This was my favorite from this week. It's Matilda Jane's Take The Wheel Tank (which I didn't even realize I wanted but I love it!!) and Gather It Up Bag with American Eagle jeans + my favorite sandals from Target. The necklace + sunglass are Kate Spade.

Current Slang
Daaaaang, Gina. (I dunno, it just keeps coming out of me lately.)

Current Drink
Coffee (duh), la croix, sun tea, cucumber water

Current Food
Really feeling peanut butter this week.

Current TV Show
Neewwww Giiiiiirl. (Sorry, not all of me is 33.)

Current App
Instagram, Leafsnap (for typing trees in my yard!)

Current Pastime
Garage Sale-ing! Love this time of year. I find some of my most special treasures from exploring my neighborhood. I love collecting pretty floral dishes, artwork, outdoor toys for the kids, and sometimes leftover craft supplies.

Current Wish List
-some frankinsense (I'm reworking my nighttime skin care and want to add it to my lineup)
-also, copaiba (I've heard great things)
-some new natural foundation for more every day wear (not sure what kind yet, open to suggestions!)
-this tiered dessert stand

Current Needs
A few more hours in a day, mostly. And also - less places to be.

Current Bane of My Existence
School, homework, requests for money and forms and allthethings sent to school. (WHY are there SO MANY this time of year?! Right when we're all ready to give up lol)

Current Quote
"You didn't come into this world.
You came out of it, like a wave from the ocean.
You are not a stranger here."
-Alan Watts

Current Picture

I love the sky (did you get that feeling in my spring yard walk post last week? Haha), and I have always said that yoga + nature are BFFs. Summertime yoga before walking into a summer evening, full of sunsets and pre-dusk birdsong is the most euphoric I ever feel. This was the sunset that greeted me after yoga last week, and I was SO happy!

Current Blessing
This weather! We struggled and struggled with never-ending winter this year, and we've been rewarded with an early summer! The leaves are in full swing, and our forecasts boasts 70's ad 80's nearly every single day! We might have the most awful winters, but we have the best summers!

Also, my babes. Henry is almost 7, but he is still just as cuddly, lovey, and attached as he's ever been. He's the sweetest little dude. When I spot him in the halls at school (when I'm there volunteering), he's always skipping along with a smile on his face. He wasn't feeling well last week, and still kept on moving and playing as though nothing was wrong. He is the most lighthearted member of our family, and I always try to recognize how much joy and pep he brings to our crew. At bedtime, Matt and I take turns hanging out in one of the kids' beds while we read (we're currently working through Narnia, we're on Prince Caspian) and I love these moments. Here's a couple photos from the other night:

Current Excitement
Summer Vaca - I can't wait for sleeping in, freedom, no strict schedules, no places to rush off to, and time with my cuties!

Current Mood
Uplifted, hopeful, motivated.

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Monday, May 21, 2018

Chicken + Veggie Curry Stir Fry

The year I turned 30, I made a list of 30 things I wanted to accomplish before I said goodbye to my 20's. One of those things was to sample some different types of take out that I couldn't believe I'd never tried - including Thai, Japanese, Korean & Indian. Matt and I really enjoyed this particular challenge, and discovered that we were crazy about Indian food!

We have a couple of favorite local restaurants now, but we also like to make dinners with Indian spices at home. It's pretty simple to do (and I'm not claiming any sort of authenticity here, I just add the flavors and ingredients that I love!)  This makes GREAT leftovers, too.

You Need:

4-5 Carrots
1 Head of Cauliflower
2-3 Bell Peppers
~1lb Chicken Breast, cut into pieces (skip if you want it vegan or swap with 1 can garbanzo beans)
1 Can Diced Tomatoes (I like the petite diced)
1 Can Coconut Milk
Garam Masala
Curry Powder
Garlic Powder
Agave or Honey
Salt & Pepper

First, peel and chop your carrots and add them to a big saucepan with a little bit of olive oil. Cook them for a few minutes until they start to soften a little. Next, chop your cauliflower and add to the pan. Put a lid on it and let these two cook for a bit. They take the longest so they need a bit of a head start. This is a good time to get your rice going!

Add in your chopped bell peppers - any colors you like. Season it all with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Let them all cook down some more, but not all the way - they should still have a little bite to them. If you're chicken-paranoid like me, dump your veggies into a bowl and set them aside.

Add your chicken bites to the pan, season these with salt, pepper & garlic powder as well and cook them until done. I mentioned this in the ingredients, but if you want this to be vegan, skip this step or swap the chicken for a can of garbanzo beans. When the chicken is cooked, add the veggies back to the pan, and dump in your can of diced tomatoes. Mix it all together.

Next, season liberally with the Garama Masala & Curry Powder. I don't have measurements for you here....I wing it, and seasoning is all personal preference. Curry powder is usually spicey, so if you don't like things with a ton of heat, go light until it's ready to taste and you can add more later. Mix in the spices, and then stir in a can of coconut milk. It's going to get very soupy, but that's okay.

Add in a liiiitle bit of agave or honey - it just makes it somehow! Let the whole thing get bubbly and the liquid cook down a little. You still want there to be some left - it's SO GOOD over rice, and most Indian food has a sauce to it.

Serve over rice and enjoy!!!

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Friday, May 18, 2018

Spring at The Crooked Apple

Every year, when we finally thaw, I love walking around my yard and greeting the newly awoken residents of our home. Seeing a new year's growth and beauty after a harsh winter aligns with the emotions that I go through myself, so it's sort of a cathartic experience.

I took pictures a few different times over the past couple weeks, so it's kinda cool to see the progression of spring happening around here. The early photos were taken during the first week of May, and the more recent ones were taken this week.

See the moon? :)

A recent wind storm knocked a yellow jacket nest out of our oak tree and it
broke into pieces - so cool to see what it looks like inside!

Early chives!

And now they look like this! little chive blossoms are starting.

Nearby in the herb garden, our oregano and mint are growing like
crazy and sort of co-mingling!

I mentioned this in my IG stories, but every spring we have an explosion of striped squill
in our front yard. They take over the landscaping and the grass, and they're impossible to
contain! I secretly love them and I make little bouquets out of them.

Deer tracks! We see lots of deer in our yard this time of year.

I also spotted this...I'm calling it my little grass fairy! It's really a
helicopter seed from a sugar maple that started to sprout! I love it!!

The same wind storm that brought the yellow jacket nest down did this!! We have several dead
Ash trees in the back of our yard because of the emerald ash borer epidemic. They fall easily in
the wind, so we always keep the boys away from the woods if it's even a little breezy!

My lilac! This is my special one...Luke gifted it to me in 2010 with the intention of
planting it at our new house. It grew and grew for years, but it took 7 years for it to
finally produce flowers! I'm excited to see if I'll have lilacs every year!

Yes!! Early lilac blossoms from early May.

Check them out this week! They smell AMAZING!

We planted another lilac near our infamous crooked apple tree after my original lilac failed
to produce any flowers. We hoped that putting it in full sunlight would give us some flowers,
and while this one always flowers, it hasn't grown in size at all. It still makes me happy to
see blooms on it!

And here's that same bunch from this week.

Right next to that second lilac is a very small forsythia. I LOVE them! I think
maybe it's just that when you see all these yellow flowers emerge you KNOW
spring has officially arrived! They're so bright and happy!

And it's super cool when they start transitioning to their green summer leaves.

While I toured my yard to see what was new, I was shocked to find a THIRD
lilac growing by the fence! We've lived here for 8 springs, and I've NEVER seen
this one before!!! I don't know if it just took a hiatus from blooming the way my
Mother's Day lilac did, or if we transplanted a piece of the original and forgot that
we did, but I was happily surprised to find it!!!

Across the lot, we have a bleeding heart that Matt and I planted a handful of years ago. It has more hearts every year! This photo is from early May.

And this is from this week.

Love them!

I don't know what these are, but they are ground spready flowers that grow in the landscaping along
our fence all summer. I love their little bits of color.

And of course, our apple tree! This is its prettiest time of year!

I love a good apple blossom against a blue sky!

Their flowers are SO pretty!

Can you spot the bee towards the middle? He's HUGE!!!

I also spotted this cutie ;)

My boys gave me half a dozen flowers for Mother's Day between gifts and
the plant sale at school. I put them all together into this Rae Dunn planter
so they can all grow together. I love all of my sweet flowers!

It makes me SO happy when the trees all have their full-size leaves! They're
totally in, now (like as of Tuesday or Wednesday), but they have that delicate
feather-softness of brand new leaves. They haven't gotten their summertime
hardiness just yet, which makes them a little extra glow-y and sweet. This is
the view from my hammock beneath my favorite sugar maple in our back yard.

This was taken earlier in the month before the trees had mature leaves, but it was warm and summery,
and the birds were SO LOUD in that excited way just before dark. My backyard in warm weather
is my happy place!

Matt and I have been working on weeding and cleaning up the yard for multiple weekends now, and this weekend we hope to get our gardens going. We'll add basil to the herb garden and tomatoes to the raised beds, and this year I'm planning a tea garden! I can't wait!!

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