Sunday, April 29, 2012

An Afternoon On The Farm

My friend Gerit lives on a tiny farm in the neighboring village. The sun was shining, there was the most refreshing breeze, and Rafael and I wanted to see chickens and ducks. So it was off to the little farm!


Flowering apple trees, a little white duck in the lush green grass, and a church tower in the back. Truly a piece of paradise.


A farm girl's work is never done. Gerit lugs water from the stream to water her vegetable garden and keep the ducks and chickens hydrated.


I was so excited to show Rafael the chicken coop, where there were light blue and white eggs tucked into the hay and feathers.


Gerit made us delicious oatmeal muffins baked in glass jars and a sweet topfen with dandelion petals and streaks of sandthorn oil. We sat in her yard, surrounded by hundred-year-old trees, and enjoyed the sound of wind through branches and birds singing.




Hope your Sunday was beautiful!

xoxo

P.S. You can see more of my visits to Gerit's lovely little farm in this old post, and this old post.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Playgroup On A Sunny Day

It was supposed to be an afternoon of crafting. Me and my three mommy-friends met for Easter crafting last month, and wanted to meet up again for some more creativity. But, as it is with babies, you can't always stick to the plan. We ended up sitting in a circle in Rafael's room, talking, watching our chubby babies roll and screech around. So, we didn't make anything. But I told my girls, "I made Rafael, so I don't really have to make anything else for the rest of my life."

Here are some pictures from today, beginning with Rafael waiting for his buddies to arrive:


Kiki was sleeping in the sun on the couch. Of course, when our guests arrived, she sprang up and barked around, and led everyone to the treat drawer, where she always expects people to give her a treat. I bought a tiny bouquet of roses for the coffee table. Flowers make me so happy.


I baked Strawberries And Cream Muffins for the first time, and was quite pleased. Everyone loved them and all twelve were eaten by the end of the day.



I had my collection of fabrics out, hoping to make a hand-sewn baby rattle. Still hoping.


These little munchkins are just so distracting.





None of us regretted playing with our babies instead of crafting for a single minute.

xoxo

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Rafael Turns 7 Months!


My little Rafael will never be a toothless tiny baby again. Permanent changes like that really hit home sometimes, and make me realize the I am slowly losing my tiny baby, forever, bit by bit. Of course, my tiny baby is being replaced by an amazing, intelligent, adorable, funny, expressive, curious little boy. But there are all of these little 'goodbyes' along the way, and I am still learning to get used to them. Maybe you never do.

xoxo

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Our Easter


Nature gave us the gift of wild blossoming branches to hang our painted eggs from. We found them in the woods and they weren't hard to harvest...the lumberjacks had cut down an old flowering tree, and left it by the forest path.


Rafael had his first Easter...next year he will be able to hunt for eggs.


The tiny fallen nest I found looked so sweet and cozy nestled in between the boughs.


Green is flourishing and the forest floor is frothy with wild white anemones.


Our village is bathed in sun here, but we are having our share of April showers, too. The plants are grateful.


My husband, pictured here in mid-air with his (exhausted) brother-in-law, has been enjoying outdoor workouts again, using whatever he finds. He jumps on and off tree stumps with both feet at the same time (harder than is looks), and does shoulder presses by lifting tree trunks.


Hope you are having a beautiful spring, or autumn, depending on where you are in the world.

xoxoxo

Monday, April 9, 2012

5 Days A Week, 9






Happy Easter everyone! I hope you had a lovely weekend with your loved ones. Our holiday was very relaxed and low-key. Yesterday it was freezing cold and there were even a few snow flakes flying through the air, but today the sun shone, and my nephews were over to find the chocolate eggs that the Easter Bunny hid among our potted plants on the terrace. I'll share some spring and Easter photos soon.

Rafael has been doing so many new things. He loved to kick his feet while shaking his head back and forth. He also loves grabbing his feet and pulling at his socks. And did I mention that he has two teeth now?! The bottom ones came in and you can see them when he laughs (or screams). As adorable as they are, they are making nursing difficult, because he bites me, which is incredibly painful. Just when I had settled into nursing being easy and enjoyable! 

Today Raffi loved saying "Mama, Papa, Mama, Papa," over and over again. I guess it doesn't mean anything yet, but it's still wonderful.

xoxo



Thursday, April 5, 2012

Spring Begins





Spring takes me by surprise every year. It still baffles me that, within the stark, woody branches of the trees, new, green, tender life is waiting to burst forth. 

The frogs crawl out from their winter burrows and lay clusters of polka-dot eggs in the same little leaf-filled pond each spring. The birds are everywhere, filling the air with song, busy picking up little feathers, bits of hair, and dry grass for their nests. And all the tiny plants, with their webbed networks of roots underground, unfold delicate leaves and blossoms, without anyone throwing seeds or weeding around them. 

The beginning of a new season, transforming the world around me, is always so fascinating. I love paying attention to the little details and noticing the minute changes which take place every day.

xoxo

Monday, April 2, 2012

Carrot Cupcakes with Lemon Sour Cream Frosting, And Bunny Bunting

Every Monday, Rafael and I make our way to the local vicarage where a weekly playgroup is held. Mothers with their children and babies meet for singing, playing, crafting, and coffee and snacks. Moms take turns bringing snacks for the group, and this week, it was my turn. Since Easter is just around the corner, I thought I would make some cupcakes, and what better flavor to make for this holiday than carrot cake?




Carrot cakes I have made and eaten in the past have tended to be too heavy for my taste, loaded with raisins, pineapple, nuts, and coconut. One slice and you are full. I wanted to make carrot cupcakes that were simple, moist, and delicately spiced. I used this recipe, substituting melted virgin coconut oil for the vegetable oil, and using my Kitchen Aid mixer instead of a food processor. The result was delicious and exactly what I was hoping for.

I realized too late that I didn't have any cream cheese for the cream cheese frosting which typically goes with carrot cake. But I did have sour cream. I am sure that situations like this one are when some of the best recipes are discovered. At least, I am very pleased with the tangy, sweet frosting which I whipped up with the ingredients I had on hand.

My recipe for Lemon Sour Cream Frosting:

5 Tablespoons soft unsalted butter
2 cups sifted powdered sugar
1 1/2 Tablespoons Sour Cream
1 1/2 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Whip the butter and powdered sugar until combined. While the beaters are still going, add the remaining ingredients. If it's too runny, add more sugar. If it's too stiff, add some more sour cream.

This recipe frosted 16 cupcakes, though I don't pile it on too high. I sprinkled some of them with finely chopped walnuts and topped them all with little flags that I made from toothpicks, craft paper, and glue.

To get the 'rosette' look that I achieved with my frosting, start in the center and circle outwards.

............

As I mentioned in a previous post, I wasn't able to make anything at the little craft party I held here last Friday, because Rafael was teething badly and needed to be held the whole time (by the way, his second bottom tooth made it's appearance this morning!). So last night, while Rafael was sleeping, I finally managed to make an adorable bunny bunting, which I strung up in his room. The original idea, along with the printable stencil, can be found here. What I did differently was that I folded my craft paper and traced the stencil so that the ears stayed attached at the point where the paper was folded. In this way, I was able to simply hang the bunnies by their ears instead of sewing them to the baker's twine at the body. I find they also have a nice 3D look because of being doubled. 



Wishing you all a great start to the week, hopefully with time for baking a crafting!

xoxo

Sunday, April 1, 2012

A Love Letter For My Son Rafael



My dear Rafael,

Just writing those words brings tears to my eyes. You are the fulfillment of my greatest wish, and I thank God for you several times each day.

When you are asleep, I miss you. When you smile, I smile with you.

I want your life to be full of love and happiness. I hope we can give you a childhood that is carefree, fun, and full of magic and wonder as the best of childhoods are.

I want you to feel special. I want you to feel that our love for you is strong and very real every day of your life.

You are going through so many changes. You are growing, your first tooth is poking through, your eyes are all colors at once, gray green blue brown, and your hair is getting longer and making you look like a big boy. When I look at old photos, it amazes me how you are transforming before my eyes. I feel so fortunate to be able to accompany you throughout these days, months, and years.

You think I am funny, and that makes me so happy. You need me more than you need anyone else, and I am aware that this is a big responsibility, as well as a great honor.

I've been looking back on our first few months together lately, and also remembering your birth, and remembering feeling you move and grow inside of me. We are so close, you and I. We are so bound to one another. I love being 'you and me.' I love being with you!

My handsome, funny boy: I pray you will always know and feel how much your father and I love you.

Love always,

Your Mom.

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