Tuesday, May 31, 2011


Yesterday we spent about five glorious hours in the sun planting our garden. It's a few weeks late but it'll have to do!

This largest section is our main garden. We have herbs, wildflowers and hot peppers in another section. And then cucumbers, pumpkins and yellow squash in a third bed. A full back yard it is!


Thank you for such a great response to The Summer We Sent Letters. Some clarification: post cards, cards anything you send in the mail with a handwritten note is just perfect. Email me theyellowdoorpaperie[at]gmail[dot]com for a button. This is not a call for stringent rules-- just a challenge of connection-- to write in our own handwriting to those we love.


A few things to start you off for the week:

Kerry is meal planning at What Am I Cooking?

Couldn't you just live in her weekend pictures?

Everyday journaling prompts.

This trip to Italy.

This family's adventure beginning.

Quick homemade pizza crust.

Friday, May 27, 2011

the summer we sent letters: on letter writing

In the last year, I've tried to be a better letter writer. But if trying means, say I'm trying... but not really doing anything then... I'm trying hard.

But as I've been reading the Anne books, I notice how important the handwritten word was. They were thoughtful, news-filled and thrilling to receive. The type-type-type and one line emails that we receive today, though still thoughtful, news-filled and thrilling lack that personality--the recognition of handwriting when the mail box is opened. And the hand-held personal-ness of an object sent from one set of hands to another far far away.

I have a few friends who live so far away and though my heart is always with them. I'm really bad at communicating. I even said I would write.

So in the last week, I've penned some letters. And I put a few things together for my far-away friends.
I've actually received a few cards that make my heart soar, why? Because they were filled with words just for me. And stories only written to me.

This art is so important, and it will be lost unless we make a habit of sending notes to one another.

Join me if you will... here's a little button. Let's write letters this summer. Sending out little rays of sunshine to the ones we love, whether they are close or very far away.

Email me at theyellowdoorpaperie[at]gmail[dot]com if you want to join and I'll send you this shiny button!


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Yarn + Reading

Yesterday afternoon made up for all of Monday afternoon’s shortcomings (which were too numerous to recount, I assure you).

The kids played outside while Eric and I tag teamed dinner. After dinner, the kids helped me clean up the playroom. And they REALLY helped. Our treat for finishing the playroom was to run to the basement— ahem.... my cave of a ‘studio’-- to pick out a few special things to craft with. Given the run of the whole studio Isabel picked, three Popsicle sticks and red twist ties. Truman picked a baggie of rickrack and elastic. I grabbed a few skeins of yarn for an easy shrug. We were all happy with our treasures.

We all sat around the table with a projects in hand and the light fading from the skys, I said a quiet Thank You, for the little people I’ve been given.

Bedtime was peaceful. We stared reading J.M. Barrie's, Peter and Wendy. They LOVE that the kids are taken care of by the dog, Nana.

After they went to sleep and the house was quiet, I continued knitting a new project and listened to the end of Rilla of Ingleside and the beginning of The Chronicles of Avonlea. What am I going to do when I finish the Anne series?


I’ve joined Ginny for Yarn Along... just a few days late.

Leftovers getting you down? I rolled mine up into egg rolls!

Mumford and Sons sing Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing-- the Sufjan arrangement. Beautiful.

Hope you are having a beautiful week!

*If your viewing this in google reader, I did a little design update so pop over and say hi!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

EAT! Rosemary Lemon Shortbread

We are full swing into our Late Spring Manifesto here-- last night we made homemade pizza, had coffee with friends, finished reading Little Women, I snuggled my little people and folded laundry with a vengeance last night.

It feels good to reclaim a bit of normalcy (and to reclaim the laundry pile)!

This weekend I have plans for more cooking. Not just homemade pizza-- but Rosemary Lemon Shortbread. My friend Tara made it for last weekend. And it was in a word: divine. Really.

This recipe inspired me to use more herbs in baking. I already make a Lavender-Almond Tea Cake which tastes like heaven... so now I'm thinking about all the other combinations that could flavor Shortbread or Tea Cakes. Any suggestions?

Her recipe is barely sweet (in a good way!), buttery, pinch of salt to round out the rosemary and enough tang of lemon to keep you coming back for more. You will not be disappointed. I asked her if she'd share the recipe so I could share it with you... and she gave a resounding, YES.

So here it is, in all it's Lemony-Rosemary glory.
Rosemary Lemon Shortbread
1 c. all purpose flour
1/2 c. powdered sugar
1/2 c. butter, softened
1/4 c. cornstarch 
2 T. finely chopped fresh rosemary OR 2 t. dried rosemary, finely crumbled
1 egg yolk
1 t. grated lemon rind
1/4 t. salt

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.  Line a 9 x 9 x 2" square baking pan with aluminum foil and coat with non-stick spray.  Combine all ingredients in a large bowl.  With a pastry blender or fork, combine until mixture is uniform and resembles coarse crumbs.  Scrape into prepared pan, press lightly to compact.  With a fork, poke holes around the surface of the cookie dough, every few inches.  Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the outside edges are lightly golden.  Gently lift the aluminum foil  out of the pan (once it's cooled for just a few minutes) and set onto a cutting surface.  Slice into bars with a serrated knife.  Transfer to wire rack to cool completely.  You can also double the recipe and use a 9 x 13" pan for a slightly thicker cookie.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Spring Manifesto:: Momentum

A friend of mine sent out this funny little quote yesterday about Momentum. And that got me thinking.

Momentum:: You have to reclaim it daily, hourly, minutely. And you do, so many things have lost momentum in my life. Due to a few months of reality-- in no particular order... death, grief, beauty, friendship, work, marriage, growth, moving on, staying content.

So things that I love in life have lost momentum. Cooking with joy, bedtime with read aloud books, songs, blogging here, making garden plans, creating, painting, loving, writing.... all the things that make life worth living.

When I got home from my weekend away, I was greeted with kisses from my sweet husband, a clean house, happy children, a 'decorated' room and potted Gerber daisies on the kitchen table (in that order!).

And that joyous reunion, coupled with the weekend away has given me back the momentum... Last night the simplest dinner brought me the most joy. Reading Little Women(we are almost done!). And then taking the evening to do something I never do... curl up on the couch with a quilt, a glass of milk, a warm brownie and (gasp I know) THE DOG to watch an hour of mindless TV. Then I quick picked up some laundry and changed our bed before I settled into my robe and a good book.

Life at a frantic pace is not sustainable for me.

I'm choosing to find the release valves that help me get back to what I love.

Late Spring Manifesto:: Things That Creates Hospitable Space in My Life.
Read with the kids everyday
Read something for myself, everyday
Grow! Cook! Eat! Invite!
Paint the sunset
Dry herbs for winter
Use fresh herbs now
Make homemade ravioli
Plant flowers
Be gracious to my children, slow to anger and abounding in love
Eat outside
Get into the sunshine
Let worry go
Farmer's Market, every Saturday
Coffee and tea with girlfriends

This is just a taste of my dreams for spring, but such a hopeful taste! 

Will you join me in writing your own?

Monday, May 16, 2011

Weekending: Wedding Sneak Peeks

This morning came too fast and now here I am with a cup of coffee trying to dig the littles out of bed before we start this beautiful day.

The sun is shining and the birds are singing. And I am ready for a new week.

This weekend, I spent with my college girlfriends. I don't even have any words to express how much love I felt this weekend. Reconnection, good coffee, sewing buttons, eating good food!

Here are a sneak-peek photos taken by the beautiful, Tea
 [Each cup of tea represents an imaginary voyage. -Catherine Douzel
The Cafe in Ames, IA]

 [Cleaning Lanterns for the walkway]

 [The table aptly named, WEDDING CENTRAL by Aunt Sandy!]

[Exquisite Cut Glass center pieces]
 [Three of the five Orcas!]

 [Wedding CAKE!]

[Super fun hand sewn wedding accessories.]

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Mother's Day and All that Lay Beyond

Hello Dears,

What a wonderful week. Not in the sunshine and roses kind of way (though we have had lots of sunshine and I received potted peonies and lilacs for Mother's day). But a thankful for the quiet sort of week.

Truman was sick most of the weekend. The dreaded strep revisited our house in all it's fevery glory. And we skipped spring and dove into summertime weather, just in time for Truman to want to wrap his sweaty weary limbs about me. ALL. WEEKEND. LONG. I spent most of it no more than 5 feet from him. If I got any farther, he would yelp as if I physically hurt him.

But you know, I didn't really mind. I thought I would get tired of it. Or that I should be tired of it. But it seems, I needed the weekend (and the beginning of the week)-- to bring him more icey water cups, smoothing his hair while his temperature soared. Or to doze in the big nest of cotton sheets as we watched the umpteenth VeggieTales or read There's a Monster At The End of This Book (thank you, Grandma P).

On Tuesday, My birthday.... this little man woke up from the only three and a half hours he slept that night and said, rather hoarsely, "Good Morning Mama, Happy Birthday." As if he had been waiting all of his sleep-time to wake up with good wishes for me.

And so, the Mother's Day breakfast in bed was wonderful. Eric's homemade delights: waffles, whipped cream and raspberry sauce dotted with fresh raspberries. Plus eggs and potatoes. We all sat in a circle on the bed and had a picnic together. Now that, I can't deny was a favorite part. The cards in the mail and the well wishes for my birthday were also sweet, thoughtful and heart filling.

But quiet house, a quiet boy and a reminders of how quiet our life is... makes me burst with gratitude for the enforced break. However sweaty it may have become.

*Truman's photo taken a few weeks ago. 

Friday, May 6, 2011

The World Awakens

From Anam Cara by John O'donohue

   This winter, it feels like spring came in quickly and before I had stopped to notice. It was here. Trees are blooming, grass needs to be cut, bonfires to be had. The mantel of winter was gently coaxed off and we are here in the newness of spring. 

  This morning, the windows flung wide open, I felt it. Spring in my heart. Full and overflowing with gratitude. For the cotton sheets. The warm, squirmy little man snuggling next to me begging for juice and breakfast.

   This moment, I am glad for the sun shine, glad for the rain. Glad that the light has returned, being generous and gentle.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Written on Sunday Evening:

Tonight, I rocked both of my babies to sleep. Truman fell asleep early with me in the big arm chair. He asked for a snuggle and a soft blanket. And then slowly breathed heavier and slower until he drifted off into dream land.

And Isabel just snuggled with me, asked to watch cooking shows on TV, then asked for a snack (peanut butter and chocolate chip sandwich), and finally if I would snuggle her in her bed. And I gratefully obliged.

And I think that was my Best Part of the day.

Here’s a bit of wonderful for you today:

Anne of Green Gables read aloud, easy to download to itunes!

Have I told you of my love for Catherine Newman? Well... Last week I ran out of things to listen to, so I listened to her Dalai Mama Blog from 07-08 over again. Every podcast, it was glorious.

Fleet Foxes new album, give it a listen on NPR. (Thanks Kerry).

Sarah Jane’s new vest. Don’t you love it? 

Gypsy Forest’s lovely quilts. There is something about those wavy edges... 

This beautiful headband... green and brown. Some of my favorite colors! 

My first Etsy Treasury:

Pop over to see it... I had so much fun choosing the most beautiful things!

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