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Archive for the ‘holidays’ Category

Hello friends! I haven’t shopped in a while, and I’ve been feeling weak, pale and much more apt to leap upon email-newsletter sales than normal, which means I need to do a bit of preemptive control of myself and my trusty credit card.

Hence, a shopping post! (Applause) In my opinion, Mother’s Day is on the same level as Valentine’s Day – a made-up reason to tell somebody you love that you do actually love them, especially if you don’t say it enough. Mom’s day gifts, however, are kind of fun, because they’re not particularly expected but are fun to shop for and always appreciated by our hard-working moms. Plus, a bunch of my friends have BECOME moms recently, so this post is the perfect hint to your fella: “don’t worry about getting up for the baby…. just buy me this“. (Seriously, that’s a link to something BEAUTIFUL. Hint, hint.)

We have a lot of goodies to get to today, because moms are way too easy to shop for and this is partly a list of all the things I want too and I just appreciate them so much. So let’s get shopping!

kuhn rikon mothers day

I love shopping for my mom, because we both seriously love to cook, and buying kitchen gadgets is almost as fun as using them.

This little beauty from Sur La Table would absolutely stop my herb-chopping world. It’s a knife. And it’s flexible, like a cooking gymnast.

Also, it’s only $17.95 and it’s SO PRETTY.

Speaking of cooking, check these bad boys out:

nesting mixing bowls mothers day giftsFrom vesselsandwares on Etsy. This might be the prettiest and most practical $98 you ever spend. Look at my gorgeous serving bowl! Oh, and he has two brothers that I’m making pancakes and scrambled eggs in. Yes, I am that classy.

What’s that you say? Your mom is more the wine and cocktail party type, rather than the whipping-up-breakfast-type? I can totally empathize with that, which is why we’re having breakfast for dinner tonight. Also, you should buy her this:

pottery barn gifts for momFrom Pottery Barn. I LOVE THIS. I’m fairly certain that any of the talented men in my life (Adam, my dad and my brother) could replicate this, and I’m also fairly certain that the ladies in your lives would be EVER so grateful if you did. It wouldn’t even have to be Mother’s Day. Just any ol’ time, if you want to whip this puppy up… (if you just want to go with a bottle instead of a bin, though, you should use these tags, because they are awesome.)

mothers day giftMy mom and I have different styles, but one thing that we are Very Alike About (worst grammatically terrible descriptor ever) is A) we love anything vintage, particularly anything kitchen-related, and B) we kill plants. By the dozens. So I think the above gift (from plantology on Etsy) would be perfect. Already started plants in cute containers… if we do manage to kill it, at least we can try again next year with the vintage coffee can and another budding victim, right?

Chicha, from The Emperor's New Groove

Chicha: So, what did the emperor want?
Pacha: [clears throat] Oh, you know what, he couldn’t see me.
Chicha: [angrily] Couldn’t see you? Why not?
Pacha: I don’t know.
Chicha: Well, well, that’s just rude!
Pacha: Well, he is the emperor. I’m sure he’s busy.
Chicha: No, no, no, no, no. No. Emperor or no emperor, it’s called common courtesy.
Pacha: Honey–
Chicha: If that were me, I’d march right back there and demand to see him, and you know I would!
Pacha: Sweetie, sweetie. Think of the baby.
Chicha: Pacha, I’m fine. This baby’s not coming out for while. But even if it was, I’d give that guy a piece of my mind! That kind of behavior just… just– [snorts in anger] I gotta go wash something.
This rabbit trail is brought to you by my kinship with Chicha (she totally should be considered a Disney princess, by the way) and my assertion that froofy cleaning supplies are always a welcome present, especially when they smell as good as this stuff. Every time I’m mad, I clean the house, (please no comments about calm and happy I must be feeling lately) and good smells always help assuage my tousled spirits.
But I think we need to move on to fashion, because we all have some young and fashionable moms who can rock stuff from Etsy, you know? Stuff like this:
mothers day jewelry I kind of can’t get over how much I love this necklace. Honestly. (From justexpressive on Etsy.)

Also, these are fabulous. They remind me of Costa Rica:

mother day giftsSO PRETTY. From BellaBeachJewelry on Etsy.

I’m kind of in a beachy mood, and I stumbled upon these sandals the other day and thought “this is what I’ve always longed for” then I realized how full of hyperbole my brain is. But seriously. These are really amazing – the perfect blend of trend and class, from J.Jill:

mothers day giftsFinally, we are at our last two offerings. This is a sad moment for me, because I love shopping. You probably quit reading several dumb jokes ago. Anyways, our last two are both bags, one for toting everything, and one for toting camera gear. Both are adorbs.

The one for everything.

That’s all folks! Hug a mom today!

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snowshoeing southern oregon

The Crew.

There is nothing better than snowshoeing, dreaming, shooting guns, playing games and laughing heartily to fill the soul. The fella and I just got back from a week in Oregon, and I was feeling a tiny bit melancholy about it, when friends stopped by and ate some grass-fed Oregon beef with us and I remembered how lucky we are, wherever we might live.

Also, on a less sappy note, I am uncoordinated.

On Friday night, Adam and I started dancing in the kitchen, which set off a swing-dancing free-for-all in my parent’s house. (By free-for-all, I mean that Brudda and Sista and the Fella and I were desperately trying to remember cool moves while Mom and Dad smartly and sedately twirled each other about.) After seeing Brudda effortlessly hoist athletic Sista over his back, Adam and I decided that this was a good idea for us to try too.

In theory, it sounds quite wonderful. I can even show you how great it looks. Watch:

Notice at about 1:40, when the tattooed artsy man lifts the pretty coordinated girl over his back and she lands gracefully on her feet? Well. One of my continual downfalls is that I, unlike cats and athletic people, very, very rarely land on my feet. My family knows this. I was the kid who was finally convinced to roll down a small hill on rollerblades only to crash into a tree, the one who finally got up the courage to jump off of a swing and busted my lip, the one who was convinced to be goalie only to have a hockey puck stick my lips to my braces in a very painful and unattractive fashion. This is why I stick to snowshoeing and other slow-moving sports, people. Many bruises have conspired to teach me that I am not built for challenging terrain. At any rate, I still foolishly attempt things like skiing and flipping upside-down whilst dancing, and I was assured by my family that they were looking out for me, so I felt somewhat safe sacrificing my body for the cause of family fun and good dance moves. However, this is an artist’s rendition of what happened, when my non-tattooed artsy man lifted me over his back:

Ow.Except I did not have on a skimpy sequined dress, and I’m fairly certain that my ENTIRE body weight rested on my head. No graceful help from manicured fingers or strong shoulders, here. I hit square on the thinker.  Yeah, I know what you’re thinking. WHERE ARE MY FEET?! I don’t know, why did I catch a hockey puck with my face? Why don’t we say “thither” any more? Why are Honey Nut Chex so addicting? These are questions that will always haunt me, my friends. You’re welcome.

After the significant crack of cranium on hardwood floor I looked up to see much concern, but not much action happening on the part of my “spotters”.

“Why didn’t you catch her?!” wailed Mom, looking at both Dad and Brudda with the disdain that mediocre spotters receive. They probably gave a reason. I don’t remember much these days.

Anyhoodle, I once again proved to myself that I have a hard head. And that heating pads are gifts from the Lord, Amen.

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The Christmas tree comes down today, an event that always sorrows my sentimental little heart. But in its wake are goals for this next year – plans for fitness and freedom, for growing up and going big, for expanding and reaching and dreaming.

I’ve never been so excited for a new year.

Buckle up, Dorothy, because Kansas is going bye-bye.

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I haven’t written much about Christmas this year (unlike most years, when i inundate the Internet with sappy posts about love and snow) and until now, I didn’t really know why. I just haven’t felt like it, is the short answer, but the longer answer is that Christmas, for me, has become about a cult of feeling instead of an understanding of what it’s really about.

This realization came crashing down on me with clarity this morning, when the holiday weekend is over and Adam is back at work and I’m also back to work (1500 words due by this weekend, y’all. That actually have to sound intelligent , is the catch). I felt all normal and emotionally stable until I saw this picture of my tousle-headed brother and his little brother-in-law and promptly began to cry, surprising myself with my own emotion.

You can tell that the Big D and I are siblings because we have the same hair:

Please ignore the makey-outey-ness and focus on the hair.. that is the point I am attempting to make, and I need you to play along.

I left the wilds of Eastern Oregon almost ten years ago and haven’t lived there for any length of time since – but it’s still home. And this Christmas was the first year I’ve EVER not made it Home for Christmas. I’ve spent many a Thanksgiving with my adopted family, the Holmes in Coppell, Texas (oh and Easters and any other weekend I could make an excuse to go) and I’ve spent school years in Texas, summers in Central Oregon and since being married, Adam and I have spent several holidays with his awesome family  in California and Texas – but I’ve never not gone back to Ye Olde Homestead for Christmas.

So this year, we’ve known for months that we wouldn’t be able to go home. And I’ve taken it with characteristic strength and inner courage – one moment bemoaning my fate and the next attempting to cook my way out of homesickness – which we all know seldom works. Despite my “courage”, we had a lovely holiday – Adam and I helped with all three of our church’s Christmas Eve services, and we had a great Christmas morning, extravagantly buying each other backpacks and North Face jackets and John Wayne movies and politically-charged reading material, and finishing off the day with surf fishing and a lovely (though rather cold) walk on the beach. It was great and cheery and I felt so, so lucky to have my best friend/love of my life here to help me celebrate a non-Oregonian Christmas.

So, you say, “why the tears? why are you still pouting about this… you with your handsome husband and walk on the beach?”

The honest answer is that I’m still pouting because I’ve lost Christmas. Somewhere in the yearly tradition of snow and mountains and doggies and “momma cookin’ too much for supper” I’ve forgotten why Christmas matters in the first place. It doesn’t matter because families get together or because people are generous or because we drink hot cocoa and throw snowballs at each other every year. It matters because it urges us to do those things – not because they in themselves will save us, but because the message of Christmas is one that reorients us, that answers our questions and that makes it all worth it.

I’ve been thinking about it all wrong – that Christmas is diluted for me this year because I’m not comfortable with it and not feeling it, when in fact the opposite is true. Christmas is all the more powerful in the discomfort, in the realization that we are not “home”. Christmas isn’t about a sanitary story – a happy family and a giggling baby and a clean, comfortable world that just needed a few angels singing in the sky to make it all right.

Christmas is about bringing good into a world that desperately needs it and a God who sees us and reaches down to us whether we want Him or not. Christmas, in the end, is not even about feelings – it’s about clinging to “tidings of comfort and joy” even when those things seem about as far removed from reality for us as the angel Gabriel showing up in our bedroom. In the end of “It’s a Wonderful Life” George Bailey isn’t singing Christmas carols because his problems are solved – he’s still trapped in his “crummy little office” in Bedford Falls, but he sings because there’s an eternal truth that carries him even though the silvery, shiny wrappings that we’re trained to expect at Christmas might never appear.

I’m so blessed. Blessed because even when Christmas is not all tinsel, when I surprise myself with my own disappointment or when my expectations get the best of me – Christmas still tells a story of redemption. It’s about a God who redeems even when I run away, of a Savior who was born into our mess, of a story that irrefutably hopeful and joyous despite less-than-ideal circumstances.

I don’t think I’ll ever feel “Home for Christmas” anywhere but the mountains of Oregon, but I’m OK with that. My longing for home only reminds me that the best is yet to come – and isn’t that what Christmas is all about?

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I love to cook. I really, truly do. Our cousins, knowing this fascinating tidbit about me, gave me this piece of wonderment:

crate and barrel christmas awesomeTrouble is, the cute little cutters don’t actually come laid out adorably with a ready-made cookie tree standing delightedly over them. No, you have to make the batter, cut it into various sizes of star shapes, bake said stars, put it together into tree formation, frost it green and infuse Christmas joy into it, all while not letting the dough stick to every piece of your clothing or using every dish ever invented. Well. I had this handled, I was sure. I love Christmas projects! I love baking! I love sugar! I love trees!

(pause for ominous foreshadowing)

I’ll tell you now – my tree did not look like the picture. Actually, my tree never wound up existing, which should give you a clue as to how poorly this project went. Let me help you with any future baking projects you might be attempting with these humble life lessons learned yesterday:

  • If you have a small kitchen, perhaps you should rethink baking projects that require large amounts of dough to be rolled out. Especially if said dough is very sticky and your only available rolling surface is a small cutting board.
  • Speaking of small kitchens, if the top of your microwave is the only space available for a cooling rack, your kitchen is too small for this project. Put the cookie cutters away and do something apartment-dwellers do, like BUY OREOS.
  • If you have a lot going on in your life at any given time, do not try to “squeeze in” large, difficult culinary projects. Set aside an afternoon, or better yet, 48 hours in which to get messy to your hearts’ content. Do not try to answer emails, phone calls or sound halfway professional when you have flour on your nose and cookies burning in a forgotten pan of your tiny oven.
  • Speaking of tiny ovens, when you can only cook five cookies at a time and foolishly made a double-batch of batter in your pre-baking fervor, do not simply continue forging ahead. Giving up is an option and preferable to spending the rest of your life baking the same batch of cookies.
  • However, there is redemption – for when your batter is sticking and your stars are lumpy and you’re starting to feel a bit teary-eyed and desperate and you can’t find a spare bit of counter to rest your cookie sheet on and you can’t imagine washing all of these dishes… give the cookies to a boy. He will eat them and think they’re fantastic and won’t even care that they look rather like the clay stars you made in 1st grade.

I’m so glad I’m married to a boy.

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I shot guns. But you knew that.

This post is mostly to assuage my guilt for not having written more fun fluff here. I miss it. I miss you. But, look! Over here! Shiny things! Go read!

(I’ll be back soon. I have stories to tell that might be funny and are sort-of pointless. Stay tuned.)

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…we’ve been in four states.

…I caught a cold that made normal every-January colds cringe in fear.

…we lost Honey (Adam’s beloved grandma).

…we spent much-needed family tree time with all branches.

… we hugged our loves and shot handguns and admired sunsets and laughed at funny things we say and cried at gravesides and ate barbeque and talked about life and hiked up windy hills when we should have been eating turkey. We’ve been out and about the business of life, dear ones. Sorry for the silence, but it’s been good for the soul.

(More detailed updates to come, since I’m sure you want pictures of me with a handgun.)

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