1–10 of 15 entries from the month of: October 2013

Weekend in the Woods

October 28th

We spent last weekend in the woods of eastern Arizona with some friends. The rustic cabin had better amentities than our home in Phoenix (cable! fireplace!) and we were right at home. It was a delightful get-away:

Pinetop weekend

Pinetop weekend

Pinetop weekend

Pinetop weekend

Pinetop weekend

Pinetop weekend

Pinetop weekend

Pinetop weekend

Pinetop weekend

Pinetop weekend

Pinetop weekend

Pinetop weekend

Crisp, chilly fall nights at altitude meant clear skies, the heavens twinkling with all their might. We grilled outside, huddled around a fire place, watching a ridiculous amount of the Discovery channel and watched Nelson run around like he’d been a desert prisoner for the last three months.

Pinetop weekend

It was all too fun, and made me wish we had more time!

~K

Posted in
Arizona, Community
Comments (7)

Phoenix

October 26th

We’ve been exploring Phoenix little by little. A few photos from one of our new favorite weekend brunch spots:

Culinary Dropout

Culinary Dropout

Culinary Dropout

Culinary Dropout

Culinary Dropout

Culinary Dropout

Next up to explore:

The Heard — I haven’t been since I was a little one, on field trips

North Moutain — never climbed this peak

The zoo — because it will always be one of my favorite places in any city

Black Canyon City for Jack Daniels pecan pie; a must for newbies or visitors to this town.

Do you have a favorite place in Phoenix you recommend to friends? Or your hometown?

~K

Posted in
Arizona
Comments (5)

A Colorful Community

October 25th

My friend Duda’s work continues in her community garden. Visiting, the ground seems magical. She and her volunteers are ever so methodically transforming a run-down, forgotten garden into a functional, productive space. It is so fun to watch! A few photos from this weekend’s work, including an array of the many colors visible on your average October day in Tempe:

Eduarda's Community Garden

Eduarda's Community Garden

Eduarda's Community Garden

Eduarda's Community Garden

Eduarda's Community Garden

Eduarda's Community Garden

Eduarda's Community Garden

Eduarda's Community Garden

Eduarda's Community Garden

Eduarda's Community Garden

Someone else also likes to go to the garden. To dig. And run around. And chase lizards (almost as fun as squirrels.)

~K

 

Posted in
Arizona, Community
Comments (2)

Sisters in Spirit: Hospitality

October 22nd

Sisters in Spirit is a series of blog posts by a group of women who felt that a spiritual perspective was lacking from the steady stream of news and information that flowed through their daily lives. They each agreed to carve out a space on their blogs on a monthly basis for a spiritual conversation. This month’s topic is hospitality.

Culinary Dropout

I far prefer a home cooked meal to eating in a restaurant. If you invite me over for your family’s favorite spaghetti? I will think about it all day and be so very excited to sit down and gab and take it all in. I’ll bug you about the recipe. I’ll enjoy every moment of the experience. There is something about being invited into a home to share a meal that is intimate and full of grace.

The plate may be chippped, the wine soured and the kids screaming for something else. But, still. We are sitting together, sharing bread.

I have always wanted to have one of those homes where kids could go after school to hang out. It has a big dining room table with cookies and fruit and space for homework. It has a game room, with disheveled boxes of board and card games – beloved by the family. On the walls are framed posters from museum exhibits that were so good, you bit the bullet at the pricey museum store; you had to bring a bit of it home with you.

Most importantly, I always want a home where people feel welcome.  I think hospitality – giving like you’d like to receive – should be considered a tenant of a Christian home. It isn’t just the nice thing to do, it is the right thing to do.

In Luke, Jesus said,  “When you give a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, lest they also invite you in return and you be repaid. But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just.”

Culinary Dropout

My hospitality is rarely fancy. Our friend Trond regularly stops by these days. He’s a bachelor and lives nearby. I get a text mid-week and sometimes mid-weekend asking what we are up to. I know this means, “Are you cooking?”  Sometimes those meals are celebrations – with linens and courses. And sometimes they are a matter of survival, with warmed up leftovers and a plopped bag of tortilla chips on the table.

We eat together in friendship and the menu doesn’t seem to matter. Trond doesn’t hide his affection for my cooking, and we don’t hide our enjoyment of including him at the dinner table. He knows he is always welcome.

Hostess Basket

My favorite hospitality hack for house guests is to put together a small basket of goodies for their room. Along with clean towels and a bar of soap, I like to include chocolate, samples of beauty products and recent magazines. If I am really on top of my game, there is a covered glass of water on the nightstand and a bouquet of tied herbs from the garden tied with a pretty ribbon. (And if I’m working extra hours and struggling to make sure the Crockpot dinner isn’t burning – the basket is likely still tucked in the linen closet, alongside my good intentions.)

So, friends – I believe in hospitality, even if I have little to give. Not just because I think it is the polite thing to do, or because I have been hosted and helped so many times by kind friends too. But because great, giving, selfless hospitality is what God calls us to do. Also: a home is a far more interesting place to spend your time with a varied cast of characters.

~K

Continue the conversation here:

Sarah is municipal attorney, mom to two boys, and United Methodist’s pastor’s wife.  (She does not play the organ.)  She is a life-long Missouri girl with a heart for hospitality and social justice.  Sarah enjoys cooking, running, knitting and embroidery, reading, and playing in the sprinkler.  Sarah blogs at www.beautyschooldropout.net

Bianca is a Navy wife from the great state of Texas (where she coincidentally currently resides), and she and her husband welcomed their first child in the fall of 2012. She has a passion for serving others, asking hard questions and sharing The Gospel with both her words and actions. Bianca loves Jesus, her hubs & her son, authentic friendships, traveling, making lists of all kinds, and trying new recipes which she blogs about on BecomingBianca.com

Rhonda is an attorney and native of Missouri.  She is known for being overly-emotionally invested in her three, elderly dogs and dabbling in a ridiculous amount of hobbies, including sewing, music, and writing, while mastering none.  She was baptized in her late twenties and is amazed and grateful that Jesus continues to put up with her.  She blogs at bigsnafu.com.

 

Posted in
Faith
Comments (8)

Creative Time

October 22nd

Back to sewing

This weekend allowed for time to sew both Saturday and Sunday afternoon. I was in heaven. I rummaged through a giant box of fabric I’ve hauled around for several years to find a patchwork project I’d started in New Jersey, when my machine broke. Thankfully, there is a great repair shop in Chandler and my sewing machine is back in order. (By “great” repair shop, I mean they do good work.  Their repair dude knows his way around a sewing machine and I have had machines repaired there a couple times over the years. Otherwise, this is the typical crabby old lady fabric and sewing shop that makes me want to scream. They aren’t kind. They aren’t even polite. The antitheses of, say, Fancy Tiger.)

Stepping off my Yelp soapbox for a moment: the weekend was the perfect time to finish up those patchwork purses:

Back to sewing

Also, I bought some of this vegetable fabric at Ikea a while back. I also, coincidentally, gave their vegetable book to my favorite 4 year old for Christmas. I figured she may need a vegetable pillow case to go with that book, especially one trimmed with “peas:”

Back to sewing

Back to sewing

Love that munchkin. And, of course, the not-so-subtle promotion of public health messages, like, “eat your veggies!”

Sew on, friends,

K

Posted in
Handmade goods, Happy Hippie, June Cleaver
Comments (4)

Garden Gander

October 20th

The little patio garden that could is chugging away. Specifically, the basil and other herbs:

Gardening

Gardening

The beans aren’t doing poorly either.

Gardening

And now, thanks to Finny’s thoughtfulness, I’ve got another patio planted with succulents. I hope to propegate them — growing them by the dozens with time. Such a gorgeous collection and kind gift. (It pays to have a professional hydro basil specialist as a friend.)

Gardening

Gardening

This little house is starting to feel like a home. I know it will more so when we have some tomatoes planted, which I am considering starting in egg shells. Anyone ever tried this method with success?

Gardening

Pretty sure that last one is called Dong Cactus. (Just for you, Finny)

~K

Posted in
Arizona, Earth Mama, Flora and Fauna
Comments (4)

Neutral

October 17th

Fall style

Fall has finally arrived to the Valley. All the little ants are marching outside to soak up every ray of daylight.  All of us. On bicycles. On patios, sipping coffee in the morning and chardonnay in the late afternoon. On foot, in the parks in the mornings — with gaggles of children wrapped up like they are members of a hockey team, and strings of dogs, wagging their tails and heads in unison. In dusty convertibles, letting our hair get tangled in the wind. Collectively, in the last week we have all turned toward the sun and shaken a fist.

Dear Giant Ball of Gas in the Sky: we survived you. Again. We didn’t think we would, but we did. There were seriously some days there in August when we thought about giving in. But we remembered there is no dignity in a cherry red sunburn in Arizona. It just makes you seem like you either don’t understand the basics of life, or have a zip code in Manitoba or Minnesota or Maine. (Wear sunscreen, carry water, have a hat nearby. Always. Never hike Camelback in jeans, or flip flops.)

Yes. Fall has finally arrived. Yes. We are smug and we are a bit tan and we are so entitled to the next six months of bragging about why, “THIS. THIS RIGHT HERE IS WHY WE LIVE IN PHOENIX.”

This afternoon I drove down Central on my way back to the office after a quick lunch. A group of coworkers were crossing at a streetlight, heading back into one of the many glass skyscrapers, tucked just off the street behind rows of tall, aging date palms. A woman in an animated conversation I could not hear, but couldn’t help but imagine, walked two steps ahead of her other coworkers, babbling on with her bright blond head going back and forth.

I looked at my car’s temperature gage: 86. I looked back at her.

Only in Phoenix does 86 mean skinny jeans, tall boots, a leather jacket and scarf.

Leather jacket. 

I am trying to do my best to welcome this season and the many changes of this year. I’ve had both feet either on the gas or the brakes, and only now, in October, am I deciding to just go with what comes my way. Cruise control. Neutral. There is no use in fighting. I’ve lost three grandparents in the last year, and our family dog is on her way to canine nirvana. (She hopes to return, yet again, as my mother’s prized child.) I’ve moved across country twice. I have written much of a new novel, fallen madly in love, eaten lox on the Highline, and left my mark on the landscape by planting detailed gardens for the neighborhood deer.

Life is never ending entropy. Get in, hold on, grab a cold margarita — and, apparently, don’t forget your leather jacket.

~K

 

Posted in
Arizona, Celebrate!
Comments (8)

Recipe: Red Wine Poached Pears

October 16th

Red wine poached pears

Ingredients:

6 ripe pears, cored

1 cup red wine — pinot noir, or something fruity

1/4 cup sugar

2 tablespoons butter

Red wine poached pears

Red Wine Poached Pears

Directions:

Place cored pears in a baking dish. In a sauce pan, whisk sugar and wine, until dissolved. Add butter, mixing thoroughly. Pour over pears. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Serve with vanilla bean ice cream. Delicious!

~K

Posted in
Kitchen Talk, Recipes
Comments (0)

Make It Work

October 14th

I am slowly turning our third floor into a sewing room and office. The room started as our catch-all for boxes we didn’t know where to unpack, rolled rugs — purchased for our New Jersey home — with its gorgeous hardwood floors, and stacks of books that didn’t make it to the haphazard piles on bookshelves downstairs.

I wanted a space to iron, cut and sew fabric. I also wanted things to be organized in a way that allowed me to access them. If I have to move a dozen boxes to get to the one I need for that one additional element to any project, it simply won’t happen. After a few weeks, it is starting to come together. Far from perfect, but better than where we started.

First find: a chair and cushion at Goodwill — purchased for $5:

The making of an arts + crafts loft

The making of an arts + crafts loft

Second find: a small farm table to replace the one I loved in Golden. This one is smaller, but it will work for my sewing machine. (Or a laptop, if we want to work up here as the weather cools.) Carpets unrolled, chair pulled in and this little table works like a charm.

The making of an arts + crafts loft

But dang it, if that doesn’t still look messy. Baskets of sewing books and that printer were driving me crazy. Also, I don’t have anywhere to cut my fabric, which was sitting with the ironing board in a corner:

The making of an arts + crafts loft

And those little windows needed some attention. Curtains. Some funky curtains. Another cheapy Goodwill find, a good washing and ironing and voila:

Creating a sewing room

Perfect? No. Functional and better than staring at tiny venetian blinds? Yes.

A trip to Ikea with a gift card later — two more bookshelves were added upstairs and that clutter took a much better turn:

The making of an arts + crafts loft

Creating a sewing room

Creating a sewing room

As for cutting the fabric, for now, I’ll have to share the sewing table and make the best of it until I find another sturdy table that will work.

Creating a sewing room

A pretty and functional space.  A minimal investment in new things. A focus on using what we have.

~K

Posted in
Arizona, Homebody, Reuse
Comments (9)

St. Francis

October 13th

This week my mom was in town to help take care of family after Wenard’s passing. Coincidentally, she brought her new dog with her — Dixie, and our church was having a blessing of animals to honor St. Francis.

I got my crazy love for animals from my mother, who needed a light-hearted break this week during the otherwise stressful visit. So, we drove over one early evening to join a handful of other folks with their dogs and cats on the church lawn. The reverend was ready with holy water, a Bible and sermon, and poop bags.

The blessing of the animals

The blessing of the animals

The blessing of the animals

The blessing of the animals

The blessing of the animals

 

I’m not sure Nelson could look more guilty or uncomfortable in this photo, which cracks me up. Little devil.

~K

Posted in
Arizona, Blessings, Faith
Comments (7)