10 entries from the month of: March 2014

Guests are Sleeping Banana Bread

March 27th

Sue's visit

  •  1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  •  ½ cup almond flour
  •  1 teaspoon baking soda
  •  dash of cinnamon
  •  dash of vanilla
  •  1/4 teaspoon salt
  •  1/2 cup butter – or ¼ cup butter, 1/3 cup sour cream or plain yogurt
  •  2/3 cup brown sugar
  •  2 eggs, beaten
  •  2 cups mashed overripe bananas

Preheat the oven to 350. Cream butter and sugar. Add dry ingredients, adding bananas last. Pour into a greased casserole or bread pan. Bake 45 minutes, or until brown. If possible, pull out of the oven just as house guests are awaking. Serve with coffee, tea or a cup of milk. This bread is especially good with almond butter.

You will be cherished, no matter how hard the mattress was, or, say, how loud the neighbor’s rooster was at 3 am.

Enjoy!

~K

Posted in
Domestic Art, Happy Hippie, Hostess, Recipes
Comments (3)

Garden Update

March 27th

We’ve got tomatoes and a pepper. Oh! And squash blossoms and tons of basil. Let’s check in:

Garden update

Garden update

Garden update

Garden update

Garden update

Garden update

Love this time of year. Have I mentioned this?

~K

Posted in
Arizona, Flora and Fauna
Comments (1)

SUE!

March 25th

Sue's visit

My second favorite Sue came for a visit this weekend. (The first doesn’t really travel these days.) And, as scheduled, it was a fantastic couple of days of doing very little other than eating, drinking and being merry.

Sue's visit

 

Shepard’s pie with sweet potato mash, served on the ever so elegant practical patio:

Sue's visit

Sue's visit

Sue's visit

With happy eggs and guacamole for breakfast the next day.

Sue's visit

Sue's visit

 

There was also plenty of lounging and cuddling this little house-destroying terror terrier.
Sue's visit

Sue's visit

 

And walking around my sweet little Tempe. Loved spending time with her. Our friendship picks up where it has left off, is effortless and reaffirming of my values and dreams.

Love this lady. So glad we got this time!

~K

Posted in
Community
Comments (3)

Spring!

March 24th

Spring in Phoenix this year means a new sunscreen that is fantastic, orange, turquoise, lots of white, lots of eyelets, sandals and mixing in thrift store scarf finds to add pops of color:

Spring style

Spring style

 

I’m also loving this dress, with the belt and shoes– but with any luck it will be 60% off come May. And this bag. Oh, how I love a pretty bag.

And… I’m tempted to go back for this ridiculous all-sequined peach shirt that I talked myself out of. Frankly, I have yet to require an all sequin peach shirt in the last 34 years, but you just never know. It is kinda crazy-pretty.

probably crazy

(Pay no mind to the sports bra or yoga pants. I was multitasking between errands. You know how it goes: gym, wash car, pink sequin top shopping, grocery…)

What are you wearing this season?

xo,

The Frugal Fashionista

 

Posted in
Arizona, Daily Sass
Comments (3)

CAOK

March 17th

CAOK 2014

Birthday cookies for a barista; she and her colleagues were very pleased to be receiving baked goods for a change.

CAOK 2014

 

 

St. Pat’s scarf for a fellow scarf lover.

CAOK 2014

CAOK 2014

 

Encouragement gift for a friend who has made a commitment to get back to the gym. Always easier when you have a dedicated gym makeup bag.

CAOK 2014

 

And since I had the sewing machine out, (woo! she’s back from the shop!) a couple other toiletry bags stuffed with goodies for friends.

Calculated Acts of Kindness continues. See more ideas here.

~K

Posted in
CAOK, Happy Hippie
Comments (4)

There are days…

March 14th

Phoenix Zoo

 

When I am just happy to be in the sunshine,

 

 

Phoenix Zoo

 

and days when I am shy and annoyed and would rather just be by myself.

 

Phoenix Zoo

 

Because, let’s be honest: I am always going to be the tortoise. I’m slow and methodical and …

Phoenix Zoo

 

no matter how much salad I eat, I am never going to run an 8 minute mile, or…

Phoenix Zoo

 

be graceful like a ballerina. I’m 5’10 and thankful to not be build like a tank.

Phoenix Zoo

 

I’d much rather pretty much always be enjoying a snack,

Phoenix Zoo

 

taking a nap,

Phoenix Zoo

 

hanging with my family, or

Phoenix Zoo

 

even getting my hair done.

An afternoon at the Phoenix Zoo with my camera reassures me, I’m not alone.

Happy weekend, friends — furry and otherwise.

~K

 

 

Posted in
Arizona, Happy Hippie
Comments (2)

Thin Place

March 10th

One Community March

There is this Celtic belief concerning the “thin place,” where the earth is so close to heaven, the two blend. For each person, this place is different. It may vary with time, or location. The idea is, if you are open to prayer and the Holy Spirit, you may find yourself one day feeling so close to God, the space between you and heaven blurs.

My mind and heart have been heavy, carrying the burdens of many I love. There are my own worries too. The last year has been a constant calendar of big life changes.

I was praying last week, writing in a journal, before returning home to take Nelson on a walk around the local lake. During the walk, I listened to one of my favorite podcasts, “The Moth.” The storyteller this time was Krista Tippett, someone I’ve long admired — having listened to her faith podcast “On Being” for years. She talked about her relationship with her grandfather, visiting Scotland, and hearing about the thin place. Several of her fellow travelers had visited a local “stone reader” in Scotland who somehow knew things about their lives. They urged her reluctantly into going. And when she did, the stone reading woman told her that her beloved and misunderstood grandfather was there with them. He wanted her to know how proud he was of her. And he, a teetotaler in this life, was raising a glass of champagne to her in the next.

I fell to my knees in the emerald green spring grass lining the lake’s edge and breathed deeply. Proud. I had just prayed that morning, in a moment of sorrow, that I hoped my grandmother was proud. (Sometimes prayers take the tone of a babbling child. So it goes, when you are completely, wildly vulnerable.)

Proud. 

And here she was, in her own way, telling me to pull myself up by my own kinda-Celtic bootstraps and to carry on. She was proud.

I ran my hands through the grass, feeling the earth beneath my fingers. They came upon something cool, nearly out of reach. A stone, turquoise in the light. Her favorite color, and mine too. The stone reader sending me a message from a continent away.

Carry on. It is what the women in our family do. Chin up, stone in hand, I grabbed the leash and we finished our walk with my grandmother’s spirit keeping my own afloat.

~K

 

Posted in
Arizona, Earth Mama, Faith
Comments (11)

CAOK 2014

March 6th

This week, I’ve had three unexpected acts of kindness fall into my lap. As I mentioned, Duda produced a flat of tomato transplants for the tiny garden that could. My childhood friend, and vet, Ryan pulled a gently used dog kennel out of a closet for me so I wouldn’t have to come up with another $100 at the pet store. And a friend’s father swooped in when shower fixtures went on strike in my master bathroom.

These friendships are lengthy; I’ve invested time in them, but rarely am I able to give to these three as they give to me. Sometimes life is lopsided in your direction and your only job is to take it in, be thankful and try to help someone else along the way.

Phoenix in February

Lent began yesterday, as did this year’s Calculated Acts of Kindness kickoff. CAOK is a yearly thing we do around here. A quick tutorial:

What CAOK is:

  • 40 days between Lent and Easter to do nice things for other people
  • A way to share those kind acts, banking them as inspiration for others regardless of faith. All faiths promote helping those in need and being kind.
  • A time to think about the goodness in your life, and how you can spread it a bit to others
  • A perspective reset. (“Boo hoo, life sucks. My home is falling apart,” transforms to, “Man I am lucky to have someone help me fix this. And it is going to be better than it was!” And let’s agree on this one point: showers fixtures/chewed up baseboards/falling over patio walls are not worth crying about.)
  • A time to make your friends some really ridiculous, ill fitting gifts and later be surprised to see they actually love them:

CAOK #5

What CAOK is not:

  • A Bible beating way to brag about your faith. Thank you, no.
  • A way to brag about your great, most awesome acts of kindness. Again – not the point. I’d hope you would take a photograph and share them, but this is not self-congratulatory so much as inspirational. There are a lot of people who play along. We’ve had CAOK entries from 6 continents! You never know how your idea will be interpreted to make someone else happy.
  • Anything other than just being a nice way to mark the next few weeks.

Any questions?

This year, I’m lucky to have some friends willing to champion the campaign on their blogs too. Check out Aimee, Sarah and Shana’s sites for their perspectives on lent, faith and CAOK.

I hope you’ll join in too. Photos go here. Leave ideas in the comments. Know that I’m casting a wide net this year and hope to reach many of you one way or another with a good deed.

Carry on, friends. The world can use your extra kindness.

xo,

Kelli

 

Posted in
CAOK, Community
Comments (8)

One Community: March

March 5th

One Community is a monthly photo project in which participants photograph their homes and communities with a theme in mind. The theme varies by month. The goal is to both showcase similarities and differences in our communities worldwide – and bring us all closer together in understanding through art.

Each month, one of the hosts picks four words for us to interpret through photographs of what we see around us in our daily lives.

The Rules:  Post one or more photos interpreting the words for the month, and add your blog post to the link-up.  Please include a link back to the link-up post on your One Community post, and take a look at some of the other links and comment on them.

This month’s words, selected by Sarah are: shower, calm, green and friendship.

One Community

I love this shower curtain, and the new curved shower rod I recently installed. It really does give enough extra room in a small space to make charging the powerless drill worth while.

One Community March

 

Whenever I seek calm, I go to nature. Long hikes, time in the garden, a good swim in any body of water that won’t kill me from pollution or predators. I am so thankful to my friend Duda for giving me a flat of tomato transplants this week from her community gardening efforts. The woman is a friend through thick and thin. They were planted under a crescent moon, and therefore an iphone flash light app, when I finally got a chance to garden. Also: planted far, far away from the neighbor dogs.

One Community March

 

I love steamed green lima beans with a dash of garlic salt and pepper. I steam bags of these a couple times a week and add them to just about any dinner that needs a bit more. I miss the lima bean dishes of South America.

One Community March

 

And, friendship. My God, friendship. Carrie and I were each other’s first “stranger” blog readers. We started our blogs at similar times about a decade ago. Last week I had a chance to meet her in person when she visited Arizona with her lovely family. (I remember chatting with her about her first date with her now husband. And reading her posts after delivering her two children. It was surreal to meet them all, and also — so comfortable.

Join us this month with the One Community challenge and show us where you live! Link up here:

 

Cheers,

Kelli

 

Posted in
Arizona, Community, Photography
Comments (6)

Reading

March 3rd

I haven’t been reading as much as usual. There was a time of my life when my parents would take away my books as punishment and make me fish.

(Today, I dream of summer vacation in Wyoming, fly fishing with family friends, and reading until the sun sets or the mosquitoes drive us indoors. Oh, to be on the Green…)

Fly fishing

I’ve fallen into watching a lot of Netflix/Hulu/PBS on my laptop. Downton Abbey, House of Cards, Sherlock, The Call of the Midwife, Castle, etc. Television seems to be better than ever.

I’m making an effort to return to reading. There is something insatiable about a great read — one I drape over my knee while commuting so I can inhale another page at red lights. It has been a good while since I’ve read something that delicious.

I’ve just finished Sherman Alexie’s “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” and it was entertaining. It wasn’t stop-light fantastic, but it was good and I’m interested in reading more of his writing. This book is young adult fiction, and the first hand account of a young man living among the Spokane Indians on a reservation. He decides to leave his high school for the better “white” school off the res. It is funny, poignant, crude and worth reading. The last 20 pages left me unexpectedly in tears.

“I realized that I might be a lonely Indian boy, but I was not alone in my loneliness. There were millions of other Americans who had left their birthplaces in search of a dream. I realized that sure, I was a Spokane Indian. I belonged to that tribe. But I also belonged to the tribe of American immigrants. And to the tribe of basketball players. And to the tribe of bookworms…”

It is a quick read and I think while at times heavy-handed, Alexie does a great job of expressing the difficulties a teenage boy must have living on an American Indian Reservation.

3.5 bananas, absoloodle

I am currently reading “Snobs” by Julian Fellowes of Downton fame. It is a bit hard to get started because the writing is so British and set on discussing aristocracy. But the soap opera is starting to get juicy, and there are characters named Edith and Isabel, which is easy enough to picture.

One of my many goals of 2014: read more, buy less. I will not own an e-reader or purchase more books until I have done something about the 300 pounds of books I haven’t yet read — but managed to buy. (I’m becoming good friends with the library and borrowing when necessary to stick with this economic resolution.)

Ahem.

~K

 

Posted in
Goals, Good to Great
Comments (6)