I updated the baby cardigan pattern from “More Last Minute Knits” and made this sweater for baby M, who is turning 1 in March. I think she’ll like it and be able to wear it next year too:
And now, I have a request to make one more for baby Bexa, with a hoodie. I’m on it!
I know most of the United States is blanketed by snow. But these are the halcyon days of living in the desert — the smug days. The days of glory and sandals and walking around without sweating.
And also — the days when things grow outside in the sun.
These are the days of broccoli and tomatoes. These are the days of kale and Brussels sprouts. These are the days of rambling gardening updates and happiness whenever I walk in and out of my home.
The plum trees bloom in the desert.
Last weekend, we rented one of these — a Tomkat — and spent a few hours going like ‘Merican maniacs up and over rocks to see parts of Sedona we’d never trekked on foot.
Of course I was completely inappropriately dressed for such an adventure. Note: if you are off to “off road,” don’t wear a new white linen blouse and white Chuck Taylors. You will come home with dust in your ears and taste Sedona’s notorious red sand through dinner.
On the other side: it was way, way more fun than I anticipated. We saw a natural bridge, visited a giant sink hole and a historic cabin. And we spent several glorious hours outside with the kids with minimal complaint. It was a delightful day.
Cooking for those I love is one of my greatest joys. A glimpse of our Valentine’s:
Heart shaped eggs and waffles for breakfast; mushroom ravioli, grilled rib eyes, pickled red onions, kale caesar salad and creme brulee for dinner — on the patio, under the most beautiful mesquite tree in town. And dang it, I never remember to take a photo of plated food. These photos don’t look like 6 hours of cooking, but it happened. And I loved every moment.
Ash Wednesday is when Christians are metaphorically reminded how brief this life is. We are made of dust and will one day return to dust. And while it may look silly to have the black mark of ash on your forehead today, this time of year is what it is all about. Sure, Christmas gets the lights and the presents and the hype — but Jesus’ 40 days the desert leading to Easter defines our faith. (As does the Easter story.)
40 days is both exceedingly long if you make lent about what you are “sacrificing” or a quick few weeks if you consider adding a new attitude. Calculated Acts of Kindness (CAOK) is a campaign I’ve led for the last few years to encourage others to use these 40 days as a time to give to others. Do it in huge, self-congratulatory ways. Do it anonymously. I don’t care. But make the next few weeks brighter for those around you. Practice kindness and love by picking up litter, donating to the food bank, complimenting the cranky admin assistant.
I’m doing it too. I promise.
If you want ideas — I’ve placed a few here, including some great quotes. And I’ll be posting a daily idea on twitter, and when possible to match — on instagram.
There is no need to be of a specific faith, or have faith, to participate. If there is one thing all humans should be able to agree upon, it is that we could use some additional kindness in our world.
P.S. I’d love to hear how you participate!
Because every bunny needs a blanket.
Regardless of where we are living, I can always count on this buddy to want to go adventure. I am thankful we live so close to trail heads, and didn’t see any snakes.
Blerg. The snakes. I was at a luncheon last week and a woman sitting next to me talked at length about how many of her friends had recently been bitten by rattlers.
That will ruin a hike.
I pity the snake that messes with my hiking partner.
We’ve had a delightful amount of rain in the last week. The garden soaked up every drop, and things are green and blooming this week. Even those transplanted volunteer tomato starts have taken root and are blooming:
Yay! Their younger siblings are taking root too, reaching for the sunlight. One more week until I venture to transplant a few of these into the earth (within their peat pots):
The beets are sprouting.
The leeks are too.
And the beans are growing, climbing toward the trellis:
Makes my happy little heart swell with joy. I can’t wait to see how this all works out!
The trees in Phoenix are full of citrus. I’ll juice oranges and lemons, freezing it with a bit of zest in ice cube trays for cooking for the next few months. And I tried my hand at making marmalade:
Canning really is a better idea with other people. Without fail — there is too much going on and I seem to goof up the timeline when I do this alone. Also, I burned the tar out of my hands, and the grapefruit marmalade is runny. The spoon in the freezer trick worked for the second batch.
Like anything, I’m learning with practice. And we have enough jam to last us a lifetime.