The Mountains are Calling

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Friends, tomorrow I’m embarking on a trip! By myself! I’ll be attending Socality Camp in the Canadian Rockies and I can’t tell you how stoked I am about this.

I first learned of this over the summer, and it seemed pretty affordable (at least compared to other camp-for-creatives events I’ve encountered in the past) and Alan and I talked it out and decided I could go for it. I was so scared. Scared of leaving my baby for 6 days, scared of him not being well fed or not sleeping and creating chaos and stress for Alan. Scared of being all by myself in a sea of strangers! Scared of having to continuously pump milk so my supply doesn’t run out. It had also been so long since I did anything independently, and that was scary too.

But, I thought, if it scares me, I should do it. If I can do it, I should do it. I’ve been away from other creative adults for so long, and becoming a mother, while amazing and life-changing, meant that I lost part of myself along the way, and this is an opportunity to get some of that back, maybe an even better part.

So that’s where I’ll be! And I hope to return refreshed and positively abuzz with creative energy and motivation to do and make and maybe I can dust off the ol’ blog for fall.

Make sure to follow along on Instagram!

End of Summer Pickles

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Hi, this is our last food post of the summer! Honestly I’m pretty relieved. Having a garden has been fun but I’m overwhelmed by the abundance of the harvest. I’m doing what I can to salvage my tomatoes and cukes but there’s just so many! Once I have more mouths to feed this should be easier. Anyway. I’m really looking forward to some cozy ass recipes for this fall and winter. For now, I’ll let Addie tell you about pickles:

Basic Refrigerator Pickles

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At this point in the harvest season, it’s easy to become fatigued by all of the fruits and vegetables you have coming in in your garden. Taking small easy steps for preservation can save you the heartache of having to toss the veggies you just couldn’t consume before they’d spoiled (which has happened to me more than once this summer). There are tons of preservation techniques to give a new life to your fresh produce, but pickling is probably one of the easier ones. I’m advocating here for quick refrigerator pickles, which are super easy and nearly fool proof because you don’t have to deal with the sanitizing and sealing that goes one with true canning and pickling for shelf stable pickles. It also means that if you want pickles with dinner tonight, make these in the afternoon, and they’ll be ready. 

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Basic Brine

Ingredients
– 1 part sugar
– 2 parts water
– 3 parts vinegar (I used white distilled vinegar)

Method
Bring brine to a boil in a sauce pan. Pour over vegetables and any pickling spices while still boiling hot. Make sure to fill container so that vegetables are completely submerged in the pickling liquid. Weight down with a plate or a bowl so that vegetables stay submerged. Wait until liquid has completely cooled to before putting lids on containers. Once cooled and lidded, put pickles directly in the fridge. Pickles will keep in the fridge for about 6 months. Use your best judgment, but I used 2 cups sugar, 4 cups water, and 6 cups vinegar for three quart-sized mason jars worth of vegetables.


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Cucumbers

Cucumbers are the obvious pickle, and by now I think most people know what kind of cucumber pickles they like. Sweet, dill, spicy, you can probably easily judge what types of seasonings and spices you’d like to add to these before pickling. Here is what I used that really almost encompasses all three flavor profiles:

– Salt
– Thinly sliced white onion
– 2 large cloves garlic
– Chili Flake
– Whole black peppercorns
– A few small slices of jalapeño
– Dill
– Basil
– Curry Powder
– Fennel Seeds

PICKLES-9If you want to really highlight the sweet, add some whole cloves and cinnamon stick. If you want spicier, add more jalapeño. If you want a little bit more straight dill, just go with garlic, peppercorns, dill and salt.

I sliced my cucumbers thinly, so they would pickle a bit faster. Spears work well, too. I grew pickling cucumbers in my garden, but other cucumber varieties will work just as well.

These pickles will be ready to snack on within about 30 minutes of sitting in hot brine.


Green Beans

Green beans are a great thing to pickle because they are so crunch and snappy. They are truly an abundant crop, so they beg to be preserved in some fashion. The only disadvantage is these may end up taking a little longer if you’re looking for a strong vinegar flavor. You can use these the same way you might use any other pickled veg, but mine will be reserved for snacking, cheese plates, and chopped up in potato salad.

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– Salt
– Thinly sliced white onion
– 2 large cloves garlic
– Chili Flake
– Whole black peppercorns
– A few small slices of jalapeño
– Basil
– Fennel seeds

Make sure to trim beans before pickling, and cut in half it they are especially long. You want to make sure they will all fit underneath the brine.

These will have a milder flavor right away, but will become more vinegary as they sit.


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Jalapeños

This is one of the best ways to preserve these peppers. It’s great to have pickled jalapeños on hand for tacos/nachos, chili, bloody marys. They will still be pretty aggressively spicy, so use these only in the same way you would use jalapeños raw.

– Salt
– Thinly sliced white onion
– 2 large cloves garlic
– Basil

Slice jalapeños thinly for the best effect. This will make for easier use in the long run. I had some jalapeños that did not come in too spicy in my garden, but when they share the same brine as really hot jalapeños they will pick up their heat.

These will still be pretty hot right away, but will mellow out and become a bit more complex as they sit.

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Fall Wardrobe for Baby

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Bears! Trees! Beers in trees! I had the most fun getting Alex’s clothes for fall. Spring was fun. Summer was really fun. But I think my personal feelings about fall (that it’s the best) helped. I’m also jealous of this collection of clothes. I want to wear them. I also got really nostalgic for this time last year when I was getting in deep buying baby clothes and getting excited about buying all this cute stuff. I went nuts and kinda just impulsively bought a ton of stuff that didn’t have a focus one way or another. I know that sounds silly, and I should be like “but it doesn’t matter!” but honestly it does matter to me. Ha.

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I also had fun picturing Alex wearing all these little clothes at daycare and being the Best Dressed Kid. But also things like his BIRTHDAY and Thanksgiving. Going apple picking and cozy weekend walks. Spring is great and traditionally has a newness about it, but I think fall has a similar feel. It’s a refreshing season.

Anyway, I went nuts with H&M and Zara this time around. They got such great, cute, affordable clothing. I couldn’t help myself.

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Parka, Collared Sweatshirt, Night Sky Sweatshirt
Striped Shirt, Grid Bodysuit, Striped Hoodie
Bear Romper, Bears Bodysuit, Constellation Tee
Tree Leggings, “Suit Trousers”, Trees Pant
Lined Sneakers, Pom Hat, Boot

(bear sweatshirt above part of a Carter’s set from Target)

I’m Glad I Spent it With You

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Photos by kaley from kansas

My time as a stay-at-home-mom is over! (for now)

I’m sad and relieved, scared and excited. Motherhood is like that. Warring feelings at every turn. Putting Alex in daycare was an inevitability, but we always thought it’d be in November-ish, after his first birthday. When Alan texted me in July that there was a part time spot open in September at our first choice day care, I was instantly conflicted. It was sooner than we thought. I felt I was just getting this SAHM thing down pat. I was thinking about the kind of summer I was having with Alex: fun! walks, music class, swimming, the zoo, etc… I would miss that so much. But we really wanted in at this daycare. So we said yes. And besides, it was only 3 days a week. That would be a good transition. But then recently they had an opening for full time, and we took it, not knowing what my work situation would be yet, but knowing it would open me up for much more work.

I have to say, not having a job to go back to but no longer having a baby to take care of solo is like the ULTIMATE sad-Caroline scenario, similar to how I felt before Alex was born. I feel as though I lack purpose. And trying to re-enter the workforce after so long is presenting challenges already. I’m trying to remain positive, knowing that this will be a really good thing for our boy, and a good thing for mom and dad too. I don’t really think women are meant to be sole caregivers for long stretches of time. I hope you won’t judge me when I say taking care of a baby is fundamentally boring. He’s wonderful and we’ve truly had some fun together, and I don’t regret any of it. But I’m ready to get back to doing adult things, and he can play with kids his age all day… in a padded room where he can’t break anything (lol).

I got some photos taken of us to commemorate this special period in my life with Alex. He’s my first baby, the one who made me a mom, and every day my heart breaks over how much he’s becoming NOT a baby anymore. Sweet Alex. Can’t wait to keep going on these journeys with you!

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