Amy Beth

Friday, June 19, 2015

These Days // 20

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Summer is in full swing around here. There was a time in my life when summer was just … hot. But I since having kids I feel like I’ve been able to tap back into the joys of summer. Playing in the hose. Chasing fireflies. Afternoons spent relaxing on a blanket in the shade. Summer can just keep doing its thing for several more months as far as I am concerned.

Here’s what’s happening these days:

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Feeling: so proud of my boy! After a week at the grandparents’ pool he went from insisting he only wanted to sit on the step and put his feet in the water to swimming around in his puddle jumper on his own. Nothing is better than watching him learn and grow and try new things.

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He also worked up the courage to push the button on the battery powered 4 wheeler and drive himself around the driveway.

Eating: Chobani flip yogurt. This was another new thing from our week at the in-laws. With flavors like “Salted Carmel Crunch” and “Chocolate Haze Craze” I found myself eating these for breakfast, dessert, and any time in between.

Hanging: a new whiteboard in our school corner. School time feels so official when we get around to it these days. I like having a dedicated space to keep Charlie’s work up for display. We’re also trying a new weekly(ish) memory verse. He’s doing great with it so far!

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Playing: in the rain. Charlie has discovered the joys of the summer shower. He’s asking to go play outside even more than usual these days in the hopes of getting caught in a surprise rain.

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Hitting: lots of milestones for my girl. In the past few weeks Poppy has learned to grasp for toys and bring them to her mouth, roll from her back to her tummy, and blow raspberries (that’s a milestone, right?).

I feel like this summer is just flying by. I hope you all are getting to soak in the long lazy days!

Monday, June 15, 2015

CSA unboxing: weeks 2-3

Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is a program in which people can purchase farm shares from a local farm. By paying an upfront fee, they provide the farm with the capitol to plan and prepare for the upcoming growing season. Then as they produce a harvest, each owner of a share receives a portion of that’s week’s produce. We purchased a farm share this year and this is a series in which I share what we got each week, how we prepared it, and thoughts on eating seasonally.


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As part of a longstanding goal to eat more vegetables, Chris and I decided to join a local CSA program this summer. We figured freshly picked veggies from the farm are likely to taste better than what I could find in a supermarket, it would introduce us to some vegetables we may not otherwise try, and the upfront investment would motivate us to actually eat all the vegetables. We’ve received three boxes so far this summer and I’m happy to report that for the most part all of those goals have been met! Here’s what we’ve received so far and what we’ve done with it.

Week 2

  • strawberries – These were eaten plain or in our breakfast yogurt bowls. It’s amazing what some fresh berries will do for yogurt after a winter of using frozen fruit.

  • salad mix – Pretty obvious: we had salad. We’ve discovered that fruit and nut trail mix makes a great salad topping.

  • asparagus – I used to hate asparagus. But then I only ever had it all mushy and from a can. Now I’ve learned that I can enjoy asparagus IF it’s fresh and tossed in olive oil and salt (and maybe a bit of garlic and lemon) and roasted in the oven.

  • Sweet potatoes – roasted with olive oil and salt. I have a feeling this cooking method is going to be used a lot this year.

  • cornmeal – our box came with some heirloom cornmeal (what make it heirloom? I have no idea.) I usually just use Jiffy cornbread mix when I want cornbread, but since we had some cornmeal (and it was heirloom no less!) I decided to try making it from scratch. (Actually, my mom and Charlie made it while I was working on another dish.) We used a recipe that the farm included in their weekly newsletter and cooked it the old fashioned way in the cast iron skillet. It was SO GOOD! Beats Jiffy by a mile.

  • dried beans – believe it or not, these were actually the most challenging item to put to use from our box. I don’t often choose beans to eat, and I hardly ever cook them. (For those as clueless as me, here’s how.) But we tried out a couple of new recipes and ended up loving them!

We tried a variation on this burrito bowl. I don’t do a lot of vegetarian dishes because a meal without meat often leaves me filling hungry and unsatisfied. But I decided to give this a go because the internet says that brown rice and beans are a complete protein. We topped that with some corn, tomatoes, lettuce, cheese, a bit of salsa, and a sauce made of taco seasoning and plain yogurt.

We also made a variation of this soup. I used the same ingredients (sausage, beans, spinach, cheese, and spices) but left out the broth and cooked it in a skillet to make it more of a hearty sausage mix than a soup. We ate this with the cornbread.

I gotta say, I was really impressed with both of our bean-centric dinners. I actually think I might buy some dried beans of my own volition so we can have them again. They were both hearty and filling and full of flavor.

Week 3

The next week we got some repeats – strawberries, lettuce, and asparagus – but a few new things too, including:

  • Spinach – we ate some of this mixed with the lettuce in salads, but we also made a creamy spinach, mushroom, and onion dish. It was delicious!

  • Kale – I’ve never had Kale so I tried to just keep it simple and cook it down with some garlic and butter. I wasn’t impressed. If we get Kale again I’m going to have to find something else to do with it.

Week 4

Week 4 didn’t really bring any new vegetables and was overwhelmingly leafy greens. I would say the main downside to eating seasonally is that you don’t really get to say when you’re getting a little tired of a certain vegetable. You’re just going to keep eating salads until the lettuce decides it’s done growing. If we get another week of salad greens I think I’m going to have to start looking up some new salad and dressing combinations to keep things interesting.


I of course didn’t get a single picture of our CSA items put to use. This is because it is imperative that dinner get into people’s mouths as soon as it hits the table in order to put a stop to the whining and crying and gnashing of teeth. To take a few moments to artfully style a plate of sausage and beans with homemade cornbread would be to risk losing my life and/or sanity. (This is a slight exaggeration. slight.)

Friday, May 29, 2015

These Days // 19

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taking: a short break from blogging, apparently. I had plans to post this week, but it just didn’t happen. And rather than feel stressed and guilty about my failure to be consistent with this hobby, I’m just going to say that instead I enjoyed…

watching: New Girl. I started at the beginning on Netflix and have made it a good way through the first season. One of these days I’m going to run out of lighthearted comedies to keep me entertained during bedtime nursing sessions.

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I went a little overboard with the rainbow patterns one day.

hearing: giggles from my girl! I’ve heard little happy grunts and coos, but this week brought some full on laughs. It happened while tossing her into the air, of course.

going: to a new (to me) babywearing mom’s group. It’s a bit (no, a lot) out of my comfort zone to go hang out with a bunch of strangers, but it was fun, I learned some new things about baby wearing, and my Charlie got to play with several other little boys his age.

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loving: how Charlie really seems to be coming into his own as a big brother these days. He gives Poppy hugs and kisses all the time, he holds her hand and brings her toys if she’s crying, and he even wanted her to sit on his lap! And she, of course, watches him with rapt attention any time he’s near. I’m pretty sure he’s going to be her hero someday.

Have a fabulous weekend, dear readers!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Spring 15

Spring! Once the weather warms up and jackets are no longer required, you can find me outside with the kids just about all day long. At least that’s the goal. Everyone seems to be in a much better mood when running though the grass and lounging on the picnic blanket.

So I thought I’d share some fun items that put me in a springy mood.

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  1. Tote bag – You can never have too many bags. You might as well have a bag that reminds you to treat yo’ self while you’re running around town.

  2. Washi tape – This washi tape would be a nice addition to any spring craft or scrapbook page.

  3. Child’s Swing – Kids these days. So stylish.

  4. Succulent Planters – I’ve never gotten into the whole succulent craze. But maybe I should.

  5. Quilt – One of our favorite things to do in the spring is hang out on a blanket in the backyard. This lovely quilt would make that even more fun.

  6. Hug A Hen Shirt – Chris’s cousin owns a small farm in New York (state, not city) and they are currently selling t-shirts to raise money for a new farm store and milk house. I often wish we lived close enough to enjoy their pasture raised pork and eggs, but at least we can support them from afar by purchasing these cute shirts!

  7. Mobile – This butterfly mobile is enchanting. I can’t think of a baby that wouldn’t want to gaze up at that.

  8. Mama Hen Pillow – What’s more spring like than a mama hen and her chicks? This pillow could add a really lighthearted touch to your home.

  9. Poppy painting – Our daughter’s name is Penelope, but we call her Poppy (that’s the closest big brother could get to saying her name.) Since having her I’ve been abnormally drawn to pictures of poppies. I love this sweet simple painting.

  10. Sweet Briar Notebooks – These floral notebooks would be a fun way to keep track of all your springtime thoughts.

  11. Fairy House Kit – What a ridiculously cute idea is this? My kids aren’t old enough to put this to good use, but I’m tempted to get it just for myself.

  12. Garden Tools – an gardener worth her salt is needs some high priced garden tools. (Actually, she doesn’t. But wouldn’t weeding be a bit more fun with such attractive tools?)

  13. Elephant Planter – I’m a sucker for elephants. This elephant planter is super cute.

  14. Bird Feeder – I love seeing birds in my yard, but the country cottage style makers seem to have the monopoly on most bird feeders. I thought this cheery modern feeder was a nice change of pace.

  15. Bolga Baskets – These baskets from West Elm would be a great way to add a pop of color to any room for the spring.

So who’s ready to redecorate with flowers and small animals?

THE CIRCLE LINK-UP
Monday, May 18, 2015

Project Life – Poppy at 4 months

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I’m still working on my process of taking pictures, printing, and getting them in an a album. It’s much easier to document an event or time period right after it happens, but I just don’t always get around to it. Maybe it’s the tiny people around here clamoring for my attention.

But this was one spread that I got done in a timely manner. At 4 months poppy is showing us more of her personality each day, and I wanted to be sure to capture this time before the details got fuzzy. Journaling cards include an update from her 4 month checkup and a list of things she loves right now.

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This also happens to be my favorite spread yet in terms of layout and design. I’ve been pinning a lot of project life inspiration lately and I used this spread to try out some of the techniques I’ve seen.

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One thing I see a lot of is printing a picture and cutting it to go in several pockets. I’ve noticed that this not only lets you include a nice big picture as a focal point, but it also opens up more possibilities in terms of layout. I included one of my favorite pictures from her 4 month photo shoot and split it up to fill one 4×6 and two 3×4 pockets.

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Another technique I’ve seen a lot is to print square photos on a 3×4 card. It gives it a bit of a Polaroid look, provides space for a short caption, and adds some nice white space to the layout. I used several of my favorite Instagram shots from the month to fill out the right side of the spread. I really like the way it turned out and I expect I’ll use this technique a lot more in the future.

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Thanks for letting me share my album! I’m finding this to be such a fun project. And I love that it results in something our family will enjoy years down the road.

P.S. Want to see more of the album so far? Here are some of the other pages I’ve done:

And if you’re into it, be sure to follow my project life board on Pinterest. There are lots of great examples out there of what you can do with this system.

Follow Amy’s board Project Life on Pinterest.