Showing posts with label Travel. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Travel. Show all posts

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Ode to 60 Beautiful Years

What does 60 look like?  It looks like love and joy, family, smiles and contented sighs.  It looks like laughter, good food, sunshine, and cake...of course cake.

60 looks like this...

My Momma turned 60 this January...and look what she created.  A room full of smiles, hearts full of joy.  Daughters, son, son-in-laws, granddaughters...a family that loves each other so. damn. much.

We decided to celebrate my Momma's six decades of life by meeting in Phoenix for a long weekend together.  We didn't do a whole lot, but the weekend was full.  Full of just being, together.  There is something absolutely luxurious about plunking down in one spot, surrounded by the people you love, and just  hanging.  There were no plans, no expectations and contentment was all around.

We had a birthday party on Saturday to celebrate this amazing woman who brought us all together.  We ate a huge dinner (spinach ravioli per the birthday girl's request), ate cake, opened presents and talked about how lucky we are to have this woman in our lives, and especially how much we love her.  Oh we love her!  And this is why...

Our Momma has the biggest heart of anyone I know.  She opens her heart, without judgement, to everyone she meets and allows them to linger there.  She always welcomed new faces in our home while we were growing up with open arms and a huge grin.  In fact, both the brother-in-laws said at separate times that weekend that this was the first thing they loved about her.

Our Momma is incredibly laid back, in a very relaxing sort of way.  She has planted herself in our home several times over the years, for a week or two at a time, and never has it felt like work to have her around.  It is so easy to sit with her, to laugh with her, to talk to her and just be with her.

Our Momma loves our girls to the depths of soul.  She is their Nana, and they all love each other so.  It is so beautiful to watch this relationships between them blossom and grow.  Even when it has been months since Anna has seen her Nana, she always runs to her with a huge hug and a grin as if no time has passed at all.  I am eager to see this love grow as Claire becomes more aware of the people in her world.  Nana, her Angel and her Boo...heaven.

Our Momma loves unconditionally.  Her heart is huge and her forgiveness is immediate.  If only the whole world could love like this, the earth would be peaceful.

To celebrate these 60 years was to celebrate a life full of love, joy, and family.  Happy Birthday Momma, we love you so much!!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

A San Francisco Treat!

I know, with all my heart, how lucky I am to have three sisters.  These three ladies make my heart peaceful, they make me laugh so hard it comes out silent and ends with tear-streaked cheeks.  We hold each other up, cheer each other on, love with all our might.

I got to see my itty-bitty-teeny-tiniest (okay, she's the youngest) sister, Tessa, this past weekend and my heart is so full.  I feel so at home with her, so content and happy and so me.  She seriously brings out all the good parts of me.  She is such a beautiful creature from the inside out.  Man, I wish we lived closer.

Tessa lives in San Francisco with her super awesome hubby bubby, Charlie, and their undeniably cute and witty dog Kayla.

I had never been to San Fran and was super excited to do some city crawling.  We visited the beach where we let Kayla run wildly after a tennis ball, and let Anna eat her yearly quota of sand while she spied on the Golden Gate Bridge.

We rode the BART downtown and ended up in a building that was my wildest fantasy (yeah, I have really exciting fantasies).  The Ferry Building was an unbelievable marketplace full of specialty food stores.  SPECIALTY FOOD STORES!  As in, a whole building full of stores that do not exist in or anywhere near Missoula, MT and I might move to San Francisco based on this building alone.  Cheese, chocolate, a whole store dedicated to mushrooms, jams, herbs, wine, olive oil, aaahhhhhh!!  I went totally crazy imagining the dishes I could create with this resource at my fingertips.  And, I tried my very first macaron in this building.  I know, I know, how could I never have had a macaron?  But, I haven't.  I fell madly in love at first bite.  Oh, pistachio macaron, how I love thee!  Now I'm on a mission to learn how to bake thee.

Anna also showed us what Swiper has taught her and had her first shoplifting experience:

Anna fell asleep while Tessa was carrying her around Sur La Table.
About 10 minutes after we left the store we noticed she had this
little treasure in her paw.  Don't worry we took it back.

Our cousin Laura lives in the Bay Area and has a son that's a month older than Anna.  We went to their house for a delicious lunch and I finally got to meet her little guy.  It was so awesome seeing them and wish we could do it more often!

Charlie is an amazing cook and I got spoiled rotten on this trip.  I didn't have to lift one single finger and had food delivered directly to my face on a daily basis.  What a treat!

Manicotti w/homemade ricotta & caesar salad w/homemade croutons
And my personal favorite, a light and delicious lunch: brie, apple butter and arugula sandwiches.  I picked Charlie's brain during the entire meal to make sure I could replicate this at home (and share the recipe with you).  And guess what?  The apple butter was homemade too.  I am really glad my sister married this guy.

What's your favorite meal that someone else has cooked for you?  I know, those of us that love to cook sometimes have a hard time letting go and allowing someone else to cook for us.  But, when we do, it can open up our eyes to new flavor combinations and recipes like the one below. 

I am going to be very vague on amounts in this recipe because it really depends on your tastes and how much of each ingredient to put on.  So, just go with your gut, follow your tastebuds and then enjoy it!

Brie, Apple Butter & Arugula Sandwiches

Created by: Charlie

1 sturdy baguette (like sourdough)
Apple Butter

Preheat oven to 350F.  Cut baguette horizontally, but do no cut all the way through so that the sandwich is "hinged".  Slather generous amounts of apple butter onto both halves of the sandwich.  Layer brie on top and put it in the oven for about 10 minutes, or until the cheese is melted.

Remove from oven.   Add arugula on top of the cheese and then "close" the baguette and slice into individual sandwich sized portions.

Eat it!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Meet me in St. Louis!

I've never had a reason to go to St. Louis, and feel fortunate that I've had the opportunity to visit not once, but twice, this fall.  The first and best reason is that I got to see my darlin' hubby.  Secondly, we got to spend an awesome two days with some of our very favorite people, the Morrisons (and their lovely French niece Iona). And we got to do these things in St. Louis which is a pretty happenin' town. 

Oh how I wish I was back in this moment! It makes
my heart ache with joy and longing.

Our first day we hit up the St. Louis Zoo which is FREE and a great place for the kids to roam, run and explore.  We meandered for most of the afternoon, had a scrumptious picnic lunch provided by Hope, and finally headed back to our hotel when the littlest ones were falling asleep in our arms. 
These three...

Sunday was spent at the City Museum which is an unbelievable playground for kids and adults alike.  This is an old factory warehouse that was renovated by artists in the community.  This place can bring out the kid in anybody...This isn't usually an issue with Mace, but we all had a blast.

We had time to spare on Monday, so decided to fill our weekend to the brim and headed to the Missouri Botanical Garden.  These gardens are amazing, the weather was unbelievable for October and we had a perfect sunny day to stroll, linger, walk hand-in-hand and just be together.  

Now, the very most important item when analyzing a town, food and drink!  St. Louis has a delicious up and coming micro brewery scene and Mace and I were in heaven!  We hit up Ferguson Brewing Company on Saturday night and were not disappointed.  They had a seasonal pumpkin ale that was unlike any pumpkin ale I've ever tasted.  The nutmeg, cinnamon and clove came out so distinctly behind the pumpkin flavor that it was like drinking pumpkin pie with a chaser of really good ale.  Oh my.  We got a growler to-go after dinner and spent the rest of the evening with the Morrisons in good cheer.  (We may or may not have gone back there for lunch on Monday, and Mace may or may not have gotten another growler to-go.)  Everyone loved their meals, which almost never happens at a restaurant and it was amazingly kid-friendly.  So kid-friendly in fact that they ran out of high chairs and Emmett and Anna took turns "lapping" it for the first part of our meal.  A couple other micro breweries not to miss are Schlafly and Trailhead Brewery which also have amazing beer and food.  Really wish we'd had more time to explore more of the culinary adventures of this city, but at least I know we picked some good ones.

Monday came too fast.  There is nothing in the world I love more than being with my little family.  It will feel like a novelty when Mace is home for good and we get to adventure together every weekend.  My heart was full to bursting with love at the end of our weekend...and then actually  did burst a little bit when we had to say good-bye.  To have this love in my life is such a treasure.  Lucky me.