Monday, April 22, 2013


{spinach, red bell pepper, parmesan, egg scramble}

Where has April gone?

I have made some changes this month that have occupied my mind and my hands.

I went to the doctor hoping to have some allergy and food sensitivity testing done.
What she suggested I do is a elimination diet similar to Paleo, call the Specific Carbohydrate Diet or SCD for short. After 2 months I will have the testing, and hopefully have a better picture of the foods that are causing me issues.
I am starting week 2.
I am feeling good, but there are some powerful cravings that nearly overtake me in the afternoons. I am hoping that these go away. A little snack of dates dipped in chunky natural peanut butter definitely helps.
I am used to eating whole grains of some sort throughout the day. Now there are none.
Instead of oatmeal for breakfast, I am enjoying 2 fresh eggs scrambled in a yummy assortment of vegi's. One day I had red bell pepper and spinach, the next salsa and avocado. Today I will saute up a bunch of mushrooms in butter. Yummy. I am really liking the breakfast changes.
I am so happy to still have my homemade yogurt. This is a staple in my diet. It can be used as is with a little stevia and berries, or to make dressings for my daily salad.
Lunch and dinner are protein-centric now. I was semi-vegetarian before, and I fear that trying the SCD diet with only plant proteins would put me over the edge of sanity and leave me feeling pretty weak.
I have stocked up on chicken, scd safe bacon & sausage, grass-fed beef, and I may indulge in some salmon this week. Albacore tuna is also wonderful to add to my daily salad.
I am lucky to have an SCD support group that meets monthly near my home. Folks get together and swap recipes and talk about their journey. For some this is a way of life. I feel fortunate that most of this will be only for a little while. I can imagine adopting these eating practices permanently if I knew that once in a while a girl could have a donut or a piece of pie.
There are so many pages on Pinterest with wonderful recipes to help. I started a Paleo board for myself and can't wait to try all the recipes.
Oh, and my beloved coffee. I am working on it. Right now I have it whittled down to one very weak black cup of it in the morning, and perhaps a decaf later in the day. I know coffee gives me a tummy ache. So it will go soon. I do love green tea. That will be a good replacement.

Well. I am off to tackle a very long day of laundry and cleaning, and try and squueze in a little reading.

Happy Monday.
God Bless, Tami

Monday, April 1, 2013


{Rafe ringing the dinner bell at camp}

{back from a fun and very rainy weekend}

{Snow in March}

{These funny ladies love a good dust bath}

Well, March flew right by, didn't it!
We had a little snow last week. Weather here is so weird.
I took 3 of my kiddos on a little weekend retreat. It was fun, but so rainy.
We are now knee deep in baseball and softball. The garden is just about ready for planting, and the chickens are laying in full force again.
We have a new driver in the house. Ugh, wasn't he just 5 years old? That's all I can say about that.......
We had a beautiful Easter celebration yesterday. The weather was perfect, a sunny 70 degree day. The first really nice day of the Spring for us here in the PNW.

Have a wonderful April 1st.
God Bless.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

the short winter.

{rhubarb coming up} opposed to a long one.
Which some parts of our fine country have. A long winter that is.

As February ends and March rolls in, the chances of snow pretty much disappear her in the PNW. We had 5 minutes of snowfall this winter. It melted the moment it hit the ground.
Heck, we really didn't have a winter at all.

No major storms, no cold snaps, no power outages. Strange, but nice I suppose.
I prefer to experience the seasons a little more fully though.

Last Sunday, Eric turned the soil in our raised beds. Is it really that time already?
Early Spring is upon us for sure. I can see my rhubarb bursting out of the ground. My fruit trees and berries are budding. There are flower bulbs emerging everywhere. My chickens are amping up their production. There are days when a nice wooly sweater do nicely instead of my parka.

I really should not complain. I know there are areas that are buried under snowfall for months.
We never have that here.

I am sure that an early Spring means rain. Always the rain.

Have a blessed day, Tami

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

(another) simple feast.

Isn't homemade chicken noodle soup the best ?

I made a roasted chicken a few nights before, cooked the carcass down, and out came the most beautiful rich chicken stock.

I added a bit of onion and carrot, the leftover chunks of chicken, whole wheat rotini, a little garlic, salt and pepper. Delicious.

A loaf of bread on the side.
A simple feast.

Have a blessed day, Tami

Monday, February 25, 2013

weekend work.


Early Saturday, the fun task of ripping out a ton of English ivy that was threatening fences and trees.
I always have 2 very willing participants.......the same every time.
(Gage was so willing, he came out in his jammie pants, God bless him.)
The other two children ?
Tucked away somewhere Minecraft(ing), reading, listening, thinking.

Gage and Anya (and Daddy of course) you did a great job!

Have a blessed day, Tami

Saturday, February 16, 2013


A certain 11 year old in my house has taken to cooking. His current love is making pancakes. He is doing a great job, and it pleases me that one of my children will know how to feed themselves. ~Smile~
With organic maple syrup being so expensive, I have been buying bulk organic agave nectar and mixing it with the maple syrup to stretch it a bit. We like it.
Have a blessed weekend, Tami

Thursday, February 14, 2013


{a favorite in our heart rock collection}

Have a beautiful day with those you love.

Blessings, Tami

Sunday, February 10, 2013

a favorite.

The best things in life are nearest: 
Breath in your nostrils, light in your
eyes, flowers at your feet, duties at
your hand, the path of right just before
you. Then do not grasp at the stars,
but do life's plain, common work as it
comes, certain that daily duties and daily
bread are the sweetest things in life. 

~Robert Louis Stevenson

Have a blessed Sunday, Tami

Friday, February 8, 2013

a simple feast.

During these dark winter months I love simple comfort food. For me, that nearly always means a soup or a stew. One of our favorites is Country Stew. I used a pound of grass-fed ground beef browned with onion, a large can of diced tomatoes, and cut-up potatoes & carrots. I let that simmer for a bit, then add celery, chopped kale, corn, peas, and green beans (I throw in whatever I have on hand). I add a little water to sauce it up. As the potatoes cook, they thicken the stew nicely. Season with a dash of balsamic vinegar, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. It takes just enough time to cook, for me to make a large pot of brown rice. I sometimes serve the stew plain with salad and bread, this time we had it over rice, garnished with parmesan cheese.
And for a special treat, banana chocolate chip bread (made with honey and applesauce). Yum.

Have a blessed day, Tami

Thursday, February 7, 2013

a kitchen corner.


My desire to have a completely clutter-free existence is sometimes compromised. A compromise made for the sake of my favorite little kids, who are fond of certain things in our home and have no idea what minimalism is or why someone would want it.

Instead of having stuff scattered about the house, I have dedicated certain areas for the display of these treasures. A kitchen corner.

To be honest, if my kids didn't care, this corner would be virtually empty. I might entertain hanging some sort of little cabinet to house apothecary supplies.
But my kids do care. And I do love that these things are special to them.

A beautiful mosaic cross from Denise Mosaics on Etsy, a Christmas gift from my kids. My collection of Art Nouveau tiles from my mom, an American Goldfinch drawing by Gage, a wood-burned family portrait by Kane, our Swedish prayer, a handmade mosaic by Gage, and a little painting that reminds the kids of Kauai, a rainbow of kindergarten pinch pots.

This corner is pretty special.
This idea of having a few areas to display treasures is working for us right now, and it has freed up other spaces in the process.
A compromise I can definitely live with.

Have a blessed day, Tami

Wednesday, February 6, 2013





Major cabin fever going on around here. Last weekend presented us with a forecast of no rain and mild temperatures. Eric found this little walking park a few weeks go. We took the little kids and the Poms, big teenager guy had to stay home and study. It was just what we needed. It feels like we won't get the chance again until April or so. Straight rain until then. Smile.

Have a blessed day, Tami

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

simple corners.

I really hate to use the word minimalist, because for most people there is a negative connotation there. For me a minimalist home is airy and relaxed, with room to breathe. Some walls left intentionally empty to give space in a busy home. A few carefully chosen, cherished pieces displayed and honored. Books neatly organized in one central location. A calm and relaxing color palette on walls and textiles. Figuring out exactly what you need to be comfortable, and freeing yourself of the rest, in order to create much needed space.

For a start, I found the perfect white paint color for us. We tried true white and it just didn't work. We settled on a beautiful warm white called Sandstone Cove from Behr. It is lovely, and it reflects light wonderfully on the walls. So far I have finished 2 walls in the living room (first photo) and our master bathroom. Throughout the coming months, I'll make my way through the rest of the living areas. I am especially excited to get this color into the dining room and stairways. There isn't much natural light in these areas. The paint color right now is quite yellow (second photo), and I can't wait to see how much brighter it will be.

I don't intend to have completely bare walls, but I did consolidate our beloved family photos to one wall. They used to be all over the place, now they line the stairway into our bedroom. This feels just right. We have one large piece of art in the living room as a focal, and a historic photo of our house by the front door. Oh...and the giant TV. Nothing I can do about this, but make the space around it as simple as possible. We have a unavoidable coat rack by the front door that I try to keep tidy, it is hard. That giant blob of coats makes me crazy. It's areas like this that make it necessary to create visual open spaces......the unavoidable necessaries of everyday living.  Plenty of space is taken up in my home with just living. Clutter just makes it all too much. So out the clutter goes.

There is so much to be done.
I started with the living room for a few reasons. It's the first room you see when you enter our home, and we spend a lot of time there. It just made sense. I have a few more changes to make before I move into the dining room. I need to paint one more wall and the ceiling. I'd like to find some fabric for a throw pillow and replace one of the chairs. I would also love to find a place to store our blankets so they thrown all over the place.

I think that the dining room is going to be tough. I have a large bookcase in there, and although it is tidy, there is nothing minimalist about it. Keeping all the books in one area helps though. I will have to just make sure that I keep it organized.
Well, that's it for now. I will post progress as it happens.

Have a blessed day, Tami

Monday, January 14, 2013

around here.

There has been a much appreciated break in the rainfall,
and we have had many beautiful, but very chilly days.
Everything looks so crisp and bright, in contrast to the usual grayness of winter in the Pacific Northwest. I don't mind winter like this. I love walking in this cold dryness, it is shocking and refreshing all at once.
The furnace is humming nearly all day, offset by the warmth of our gas fireplace. I like keeping the lights low on days like this, maybe a few candles burning. So very cozy.
Today, I have some knitting in mind, mingled with loads of laundry and baking. Homemade macaroni and cheese for dinner with steamed carrots.
A perfectly contented day at home.

Have a blessed day, Tami

Tuesday, January 8, 2013


I can't remember if I ever showed this.........It is completely made from reclaimed wood. I picked it up at a little antique shop. I was either going to use it as an apothecary cabinet or a spice cabinet. Because I have not even started my apothecary inventory gathering, well, a spice cabinet it is. It is situated right next to the stove, in a weird little spot that is both too narrow and too shallow for a regular cabinet. The ledge on top is perfect for storing a few jars of salt.
To be honest with you, this is the way I wish my whole kitchen looked. Bright and white. Reclaimed and a little rustic. Old, well loved cabinets, painted with a million coats of paint, matching better the 103 years our home has been here. Maybe one day, I will convince my hubby, that his most important mission in life is to build me custom new/old kitchen cupboards. Right after he makes the new top for my harvest table, and the doors for my china cabinet........Busy man, that one is.
In the meantime, this little corner of my kitchen makes me smile a little more than the rest of it does. Still I am grateful always for a large, clean, and fully functional space.
Now I off to tidy that large, unclean, and functional space.
Have a blessed day, Tami

Monday, January 7, 2013

in with the new

The decorations are all put away. We have resumed life post-holiday. It already feels like forever ago.

I am always very introspective during the first days and weeks of the new year. Making plans, making financial decisions, clearing out the clutter that seems to accumulate despite my best efforts. It is a time of looking within too, to see if my outward actions are matching my beliefs within. I think during the "birthday season" and the holidays, I take a break from my normal responses to life in order to just cope with the giant task of juggling it all. There doesn't seem to be any other way. I have read so many books on slow living, simplifying, hundred dollar holidays, handmade holidays, etc. Even with this vast knowledge under my belt, it just never changes.
So every holiday season, I juggle until my arms hurt, and every new year I am ready to get back to what I hold true. What I hold true seems to be all of the things I fail at during the holidays. I feel as though I am fighting a losing battle. I think I give in partly because I feel alone in it. Like I am the one who's doing it wrong. If everyone around me is fully engrossed in the typical holiday frantic consumeristic hoopla, then it must be right. Then why does it feel so bad for me. Clearly, I need a better support system of like-minded folks. If I were to choose one thing we did right, we gave more handmade and bought local this year. Okay, all.done. my token after the holidays rant.


On with the new.
Digging in deeper with our nutrition. I have been hearing a lot about what certain chemicals actually do to the human body. It is one thing to know that something is bad for you, but when I can get specifics, that does it for me. I have one child that seems to be particularly sensitive to chemicals in foods. If only for him, we need to get off all processed foods with anything artificial.
I am becoming increasingly unapologetic with my family for the food choices I am making for them. We have some family members battling serious health issues right now because of poor lifelong food choices. My hubby and I are entering middle age, and need to be even more serious with our diet. I am going to hear lots of complaining for awhile. (Nutrition also took a back seat over the holidays.) Just like other changes we've made......they'll get used to it.

Going minimalist. Not modern sterile minimalist, just nice cozy cottage minimalist. I have said before that we live in a 1500 sq. foot home. We have enough space to sleep and bathe, a plenty big kitchen, a dining room/library for homework and crafts, and a decent sized living room. It is enough. It begins to feel cramped when we are invaded by too much stuff. I work really hard to cut down on the things coming in. It is time to take it to the next step, and get rid of more. When I spend a few hours putting everything back in it's place I realize, it's still too much. Way more than a person needs. Too many clothes, shoes, papers, dvds/games, pieces of needless furniture, power cords, small appliances. These are the things that just come to mind. I feel bogged down by these things, the care and storage of them mostly. Too much. It is time for breathing space. (I just found this post I wrote nearly 5 years ago....*clearly* I have not found many answers.)

Being more consistent with reducing our impact on the Earth. Avoiding waste. Reducing packaging. Getting solar. Using less of everything.

Limiting obligations. Slowing down. Taking little getaways together. Summer picnics. Eating well and feeling well. Creating. Learning. Growing. Reading. Knitting. Noticing. 2013.

I am excited for what can be in 2013.
Maybe by next Christmas, I will have more ideas and more answers. I would love that.

Have a blessed day, Tami

Sunday, January 6, 2013


Have a blessed Sunday. I will be back tomorrow. Tami