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I've been blogging over at Our Sleeping Flowers these days. Still me, and still delicious, come join me!

This last guide is a list of a few favorite things from local companies and artisans here in Utah. This doesn't even represent the tip of the iceberg of talent here in Utah. If you're not in town, you can still get your hands on a lot of these lovelies as many can be ordered online. The beauty of a connected world.

1 - Barely Buzzed cheese from Beehive Cheese, their most popular cheese for a reason.
2 - Handmade granola from Nova Granola, all the good stuff for my favorite meal of the day.
3 - Clifford Farm Honey; beautiful honey coming from the beehive state.
4 - Bee Pollen from Jones Bees, to add to smoothies, salads, or getting fancy with homemade truffles and caramels, among other things. I love Sarah Britton's post about bee pollen.

5 - Wood and support beam A Table from C.G. Sparks; this company has flawless furniture designs.
6 - Fruit Prints from Sycamore Street Press, for a kitchen wall.
7 - A CSA share to a local farm, I especially like the idea of this flower share from Copper Moose Farm.
8 - Utah TrufflesI like them best from the freezer, anyone else?

9 - Gardener Soap from Beehive Soap, even though I'm a failure at gardening, I still get my hands dirty.

For other beautiful handmade furniture look up Ivory Bill and Patrick Davis Design.

Nova Granola is giving my readers 10% off an order! Enter NOVA10 at checkout to get your discount. 

Since I have been spending a lot of my time doing baby and toddler things rather than actual cooking, I thought I would share a gift guide of my favorite kid stuff alongside my food related wish list this year. A few we own and love, and the others we dream to.

When searching out children's toys I am drawn to those that are simple, made with natural materials, promote creative play, and are beautiful (at least to me). I know I've chosen well when my children fall in love with them instantly and forever (well, three years and counting..).

“The most effective kind of education is that a child should play amongst lovely things.” Plato

1 - Wooden toy camera from Twig Creative; cheese!
2 - Handmade Wooden Boats by Schoolhouse Electric and Supply Co.; perfect for bath time
3 - Winnie the pooh screen printed pillows from Atsuyo et Akiko; Tigger is little's favorite
4 - Baltic Amber Teething Necklace; parents swear by the natural anti-inflamatory properties of amber for teething. My littlest isn't teething quite yet but when she does, we'll be ready.  
5 - Stockmar beeswax crayons; I might keep these crayons for myself to color..
6 - Home Cozy Home coloring poster by roxy marj; also love the correlating pillow.
7 - *** Wooden Brainbow from Little Sapling Toys; endless fun, ha! got that?
8 - Beeswax birthday candles from Herriott Grace; obviously these aren't for playing with but for birthdays, and other special occasions. They smell wonderful and burn beautifully.
9 - Moulin Roty baking set to go along with..
10 - Camden Rose wooden toy kitchen; because it's important to indoctrinate them while they're young.

I was recently introduced to Kimber, founder of Little Sapling Toys and loved their philosophy behind the beautiful wooden toys they create. She says,"We design modern toys to help young children develop critical thinking, creativity, fine and gross motor skills, and communication. We strive to create safe toys that are personal, with design that appeals to kids and adults. Our line of toys is hand crafted in Sheboygan, WI out of high quality FSC certified hardwoods. We plant a tree for each toy sold."

*** Little Sapling Toys has graciously given my readers a 10% off any order from their shop! Enter the code: DELIGHTFUL10 at checkout for your discount.

Also, Twig Creative has a deal going on over at Brickyard Buffalo for their wooden toy cameras, (not including the stunning zebra wood camera pictured above). Brickyard Buffalo has other great deals on superhero capes, armelle jewelry, and freshly picked moccasins too, among other things.. but only for another day or two.


Friday I am sharing my last gift guide for the holidays, featuring local fare and artistry. Share the Utah love.

Here's a little selection of some beautiful and practical things I've fallen in love with. Have you decided what to get for your favorite cook yet?

1 - Falcon enamelware
2 - Hand carved measuring spoons by Alder + Co.
3 - An Everlasting Meal by Tamar E. Adler
4 - Waterproof Waxed Canvas lunchbag from Kaufmann Mercantile
5 - Japanese Cast Iron scissors from Mjölk
6 - The market backpack from Brookefarm General Store
7 - Neëst linen kitchen towels
8 - A cheese board, servingboard or cutting board from Red Onion Woodworks
9 - Ambatalia linen bento tote from Anaise
10 - Something living and green, like a box of succulents/herbs or their favorite citrus tree.
image credit: succulents; citrus

As we transition from celebrating Thanksgiving to Christmas and Autumn to Winter, I thought I'd share a few pictures of the quick but beautiful transition we saw outside in the last few weeks. Though all the snow has since melted, and the weather has been surprisingly warm, I miss the color and crunching leaves. Autumn in Utah is far too short of a season..

See more above/below posts here.

All photos taken with iphone, edited with vscocam
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A few things I am especially grateful for this year..

Two beautiful, healthy, and happy children.
Four seasons to celebrate and eat.
Acquaintances who have become dear friends.
Learning more every year I attempt and fail at a garden.
Knowing that children go through common developmental stages, (it's not actual craziness).
Having the strength and ability to bear and birth my children the way I wanted.
Trials I have suffered and fought through, altering who I am.
A loving and selfless husband who makes me laugh every day.
Relations who are the best sort of people.
Music to run, cook, bake, and dance to.
A true gospel.
coconut oil, my other religion.
Thoroughly celebrating Thanksgiving before decorating for Christmas.

It's about the little things too.

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I first heard of Waldorf education when I was expecting my oldest, more than three years ago (can we talk about how that seems impossible? Wasn't she born yesterday?!) The depth of it all didn't really make an impression on me as I was drawn more to the beauty and design of their natural, earth based toys. It has only been in the last few months that I've really looked into the details and methods of it, only scratching the surface really, and have adopted some of the approaches that a Waldorf home embraces.

I could spend a long time explaining all I've read and learned, what I agree with and what I don't, even what I found reminiscent of our faith, but you'd be better off learning about Waldorf from others who say it much better than I. So to keep it simple, I love the humanistic and holistic approach of Waldorf education, especially for my little ones. I also love that it is so conscious of the earth and its rhythms (read: the seasons and times), that it is simple, spiritual, and beautiful. It wasn't surprising how well I was drawn to it, I love anything with a natural approach, to movement, food, home, and now parenting and education.

We decided our first Waldorf celebration would be a Martinmas lantern walk. We made lanterns, talked about the changing season and changing light, and how even though it is darker we can share light and warmth with others through kindness and good deeds. Then we lit our lanterns and delivered some cookies to neighbors to (in essence) warm their hearts. When my little one came back and told me she loved sharing her light with others and that her heart felt warm, I knew it was a celebration we would keep. Though we don't really need any more excuses to feed our neighbors..

Is your home a Waldorf home?
more about Waldorf education here and here.

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"Moments are the molecules that make up eternity." Neal A. Maxwell

all photos taken by my lovely sister.

Friends, my most recent days, hours and minutes have been filled with ordinary day to day life-with-a-newborn-and-a-preschooler tasks, and I have been trying to savor every moment, which seems almost impossible because they fly by so quickly. It has been a number of weeks since I gave birth to my second daughter and I love seeing how different she is from my oldest, how much my oldest loves her (when she found out I was in labor she began jumping up and down saying how excited she was that baby sister was on her way), and I love how instantly her needs and smiles have become a beloved part of our family's rhythms.

I can't say everything has been sunshine and butterflies, I am still sleep deprived, worry that big sister will suffocate her with too much love, and I have suspicions that she has the same dairy aversion her sister had, possibly worse. We have faced some struggles that were mountains to climb, but climb we did (we are still climbing!).

Something that disappeared close to the time of her arrival was my motivation to create and enjoy food. Gratefully it has slowly returned over the past couple weeks, just in time for my favorite eating time of year. This week we had the first freeze of the season. Many nearby even got a dusting of snow (!) I don't think I will ever be ready for signs of winter's arrival. I know I wouldn't be able to endure it without first experiencing the brilliance of fall, some good soup recipes, and sweet moments that warm you up from the inside. (and of course I can't forget the holidays too, so excited!)

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I have been spending my time knitting, sewing, cleaning, gardening, and planning. Oh, the planning. I am grateful for days when it seems my energy has no end, but it usually follows with a day that is slow and recuperative. There is a list that I am continually adding to, and happily for my nesting heart, I am just as often eliminating things done. Though as much as I'm able to accomplish, there are still things on my list to do, and the laundry seems to stay in a constant state of undone-ness. This is a universal thing though, right?

Those little seedlings never grew, and after a conversation with a garden therapist (aka the nursery owner I happened to ask) I gave up on them and planted my summer seeds directly in fertile soil. After a couple weeks and daily morning visits they are indeed growing, though I am not sure if they are growing fast enough for any real harvest.

Details seem to be nowhere near ideal, but ready or not summer will come.

"The seeds begin abstract as their species,
remote as the name on the sack
they are carried home in: Fayette Seed Company
Corner of Vine and Rose. But the sower
going forth to sow sets foot
into time to come, the seeds falling
on his own place. He has prepared a way
for his life to come to him, if it will.
Like a tree, he has given roots
to the earth, and stands free."

Wendell Berry

I planted seedlings a couple weeks ago. Watermelon, tomatoes, flowers, berries, and lettuce outside. The only thing that has shown any sign of life is the lettuce, which is thriving well enough (meaning it's growing). As for everything else, I guess I will take Emerson's advice and adopt nature's pace with patience. Though with all this waiting I hope those little seeds know, I have big plans for Mother's Day weekend.

When I first started this little blog I wanted to share my favorite recipes with people. Along the way I started posting fewer recipes that I actually used, and tried to come up with unusual dishes, things that I would make once, post about, and never eat again. Eventually I came back around, sharing more of my favorites, and fewer of the one time use recipes. Part of it was because I was discovering so many new favorites, which is a necessity when branching out on a new diet. Sometimes I think I use my blog more than anyone else. It has become my own personal recipe file, and I know what to post about next when I go looking for a recipe on my blog and it's not there.

This cashew cream recipe isn't much of a recipe (cashews and water) but we use it a lot when in need of cream and almond milk isn't thick enough. We've had it with an extra bit of sweetener to go over fresh berries and summer fruit, mixed in soups or sauces, mixed with almond milk for a thicker cream over my morning muesli, granola or stewed oats, in my peanut butter banana shakes, to thicken hot chocolate, or as a cream substitute in ice creams and other desserts and frostings. Omit the sweetener and vanilla if you want to use it for more savory purposes like soup.

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I feel the same way each year around the same time. A slump begins in late January/early February and seeps into March, but halfway through the month I start to get more energy, I feel more inspired,  and I am more and more excited for warmer weather. In the past week I started to actually prepare things (using my hands and getting them dirty, yay!) for this year's garden. We prepped the garden beds (with a lot of help from my husband and toddler), we planted our little seedlings, and will plant flowers this weekend, a worthy activity for the first days of spring. This will mark my second year as a legit gardener (meaning growing things I actually eat) and though I still feel clueless, I can't wait. The past couple days have also included walks in the sun with sandals on and bare legs, drawing on the sidewalk with colored chalk, and the years first skinned knees and elbows.

I read in a book once about a girl who celebrated her birthday in March. She thought of it as the gateway to summer, when the sun becomes warmer on your skin and everyone is drawn outdoors. I feel the same way come March, I am already making summer plans. This year, it will be filled with tomatoes, huckleberries, strawberries, a couple watermelons, some of my favorite flowers that I pray will not die on me, and welcoming another little one into our family. I love summer babies. I can already imagine the sleepless nights that will be a little sweeter with a new life to hold and fragrance from the blooms under our window filling our room with every summer breeze. Assuming my brown thumb doesn't take over, I did make sure to purchase hardy plants this year.

What plans are you making? Spring is here!

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I am supportive of putting your money and time towards people and businesses you believe in, and veering away from those who don't uphold your standards. It is a big reason we love local food and choose it over big agriculture farm foods. I have even researched companies I buy stock from in the past to make sure I am investing in good companies.

For the record, I am pro-life, and before you ask what that has to do with cookies, let me explain. When I was craving girl scout cookies, a comment from a friend about the relationship between the Girl Scout Organization and Planned Parenthood caused me to research a little more about who supports this pro-abortion group (or as a commenter clarified, pro-choice) that seems to differ from my beliefs. I discovered that not only has the Girls Scout Organization supported Planned Parenthood, but so does my husband's employer, where he volunteers, my previous employer of about 6 years, our gas station, bank, even Whole Foods to name a few; all companies/organizations we support and love.

So it caused me to wonder, do you research what your purchases are indirectly supporting? Does my shopping at Whole Foods, or buying a few boxes of thin mints from some neighborhood girls make me a hypocrite? If there's a local food provider or artisan who is pro-abortion and atheist (I am also pro God), I would probably still buy food from them (so long as they aren't vehemently opposing my beliefs), but would rather support and encourage them in their efforts of creating and providing good real food. Building good relationships between people and communities seems more important to me than voicing my opinion about my standards in a confrontational way. There has to be a better way to share what you believe in. I also went as far as researching where the money for those little cookies go, and most (aside the money paid to the bakers themselves) of the profits are said to go back to the troops and area I am buying from, according to the girl scout website.

Though it doesn't necessarily justify my buying girl scout cookies if I want to "make a stand for what I believe", we will keep getting good gas for our cars, my husband will keep his job to support us, we will still volunteer and give to the organizations we love and believe in, and we will probably keep buying girls scout cookies every once in a while because we like them, despite their ties with a group that offers abortions. Even with the numerous recipes available to make tasty versions at home, like this one.

What do you think?

side note: In sharing this post I don't want to offend my friend, or anyone else not buying girl scout cookies/gas/health food/whatever it may be for similar reasons (there are endless things to boycott and protest). Truly, I was grateful for her brave comment and it caused me to make a more informed choice, which I hope to do more often than not.
I also don't want to offend anyone who supports Planned Parenthood, or any other group that supports and encourages abortion. I may not be completely supportive of abortion, but I am also not completely against it. People have a right to choose, a great benefit to life.

post update: Thank you to everyone who has commented! I am grateful for the conversation that is happening. I especially love the personal stories that are about you, real people, being directly affected in a positive way by a supposed "big bad business". 

I didn't really mean to come across like I was completely against PP, I have read wonderful things about the organization and keep learning more. Also, I am not entirely anti-choice, there are situations where I think abortion is necessary. And though I don't agree with abortion in general, I do believe in good health care for everyone.

Also, a friend and I were chatting about researching companies and whether not it is actually effective to boycott every group you have something against. It's not. If you really wanted to get down to it, you could protest anything and everything. For this reason, I stopped researching companies I invested in a number of years ago (something I could have mentioned). I just wasn't willing to put in the time, and who knows what information you receive is really viable? I would rather spend my energy elsewhere, emphasizing the good than pinpoint every company that had a little bad in it. I myself am not perfect.

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I love breakfast. There are my favorite (and habitual) morning dishes that frequent our table, stewed and soaked grains sweetened with maple syrup paired with crunchy nuts and seeds and bursts of fresh fruit. We can't seem to get enough pancakes on the weekend, though admittedly they'd probably be waffles if we had an iron. Then there are husband's green smoothies that energize and awaken my body with a slice of golden toast smeared with coconut butter. But every now and again I want something hearty, rustic, a little pastoral and entirely savory. This often happens on lazy saturday mornings, for sunday brunch, but mostly on wednesdays. Makes sense, right?

This omelet is an example of those mornings.

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