The Gregorys + three

We have three fluffy, chirpy little additions to the Gregory family! Meet Henrietta, Pepper, and Lucy! I haven't chosen which name will go with which chick yet, I'm still getting to know their personalities. But one has quite a set of lungs on her, so I'm thinking she might be Pepper. They are the cuttest, tiniest, softest little fluff balls ever! They are all Cuckoo Marans, and I can't wait to see their "chocolate" eggs!

Since it's a yucky rainy day outside, we just have to look out and take a peek at their new home. Tomorrow if it's nice I'll take them out on their first outing!

They seemed very curious and inquisitive about the yard. Or maybe they were just admiring the pretty flowers in the window box Jason just installed outside our kitchen window.

It was at this point of the photo shoot that I was aware that Harley was trying his hardest to climb up in the counter to check them out, having his back two legs on the ground and the other two on the counter! He just goes bananas when they're around. I introduced each one to him and he was shaking so hard his teeth were chattering! I'll have to wait until Jason gets home and can help control everyone before I can snap a few photos of the interactions.

Meanwhile, Jason has been working hard on getting their coop built:

The outside shell is all put together, now it's just to complete the house-part, the nesting boxes, the doors, and the remaining chicken wire on the outside. Oh, it's going to be so cute! (It even has a little flower window box! Oh!!)

In other news around here, I've been making some wonderful necklaces that I can't wait to show you! Hopefully I will have them up by the end of the week, and listed in my Etsy shop. Until then, my friends, it's off to bake muffins, dance with the broom, and pet the puppy.




Winters-Not-Quite-Over-Yet-Vegetable Soup

Just when you start seeing fresh tomatoes and berries in the grocery store and start daydreaming of the long summer nights, eating outside until it's late, and all the magical produce that comes with warmer weather, you look outside and realize it's still in the 40's - 50's and raining. And then all you want is a warm bowl of comfort.

I made this soup for some friends and we (mostly I) ate it up so fast, I didn't have time to take a picture of it! Yes, I know this is like breaking the first cardinal rule of blogging about recipes - not to post a picture, but imagine it looks something like this:

Plus a dash of this:

Got the jist? OK.

You're gonna need:

I large yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large carrot, cut in quarters lengthwise and chopped
2 celery ribs, cut in half lengthwise and chopped
1 small acorn squash, peeled, de-seeded, and chopped into 1/2" cubes
about 6 cups GOOD chicken stock
1 (14oz) can chopped tomatoes
1 can cannelloni beans, rinsed and drained
2 bay leaves
2 TB freshly chopped basil
1 TB freshly chopped thyme
1 tsp dried oregano
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 bunch chard
Grated Parmesan cheese, to serve

1. Heat 2 TB olive oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add onion, celery, and carrot, stirring until vegetables begin to soften, about 10 minutes. Add garlic and still for 1 more minute.

2. Add the acorn squash and the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cover until squash is tender, about 20 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, chop the ribs of the chard and set aside. Slice the leaves of the chard into quarters and roughly chop about 1" thick. Add the stems of the chard and the remaining ingredients minus the chard leaves and cook until heated through, about another 10 minutes.

4. Add the chard leaves to the soup and cook until wilted, about 5 minutes. To serve, top with freshly grated parmesan cheese, or any other favorite hard nutty cheese.

I also made mine the day before and let it sit overnight before re-heating and serving, and it was delicious! This soup is so comforting and reminds me of home so much, I hope it becomes a staple in your home and warms you up on a chilly spring (or winter!) evening. Enjoy!




Springing into a new life

WARNING: This post is a little out of my norm - it's a reflection and meant to be a release for me. And it's a little long. So pour a glass of whatever you enjoy, and if you make it to the end, thank you.

Every spring, correction: every change of season, I get this little itch inside me for change, for newness, for life. It creeps up and crawls all over my insides making me want to break out of every restraint I have around my life.

I want beauty
I want life
I want freedom
I want soul

As Maroon 5 played over the satellite music station at the salon today and I made hair color and waxing appointments for grouchy Seattlites, I longingly looked outside and thought of my Dahlia bulbs that needed planting and the cute, colorful!! (we were all black at work...it's very hard to wear all black all the time) spring outfits that needed to be found and strutted about.

I thought about my friends, scattered all over the west coast: what they were writing, painting, building, reading, and how they were nurturing their souls and building character. And how cute they all looked doing it (Side note: this is the amazing thing about my network of friends - they look cute doing just about EVERYTHING. It gets to be rather annoying...just kidding, friends, you are the color in my photos, and the lace on my dress). And I began to feel myself become a little jealous. Thinking how much I've neglected this little blog that was started to inspire me, you, and be a creative outlet for me and how I missed it yet didn't have the energy to put into it or much of anything lately. Thinking how I've not been the friend or the wife I want to be.

And then I stopped myself. What's keeping me from doing that now? Even while working? I've thought for so long that I needed to go seriously part time or quit my day job to pursue myself and discover my soul more. But why can't I do it while working? Am I just using that as an excuse for not pursuing my passions and dedicating time to that? Part of it is that as we get older and think about bringing other little people into the world, I think about all the free time I won't have very soon, and the other part of it is that even though I don't work a full time job, there are a lot of other responsibilities on my plate with Jason traveling a lot and keeping up with the house, the dog, the groceries, the etc... And yes, it would be easier if I didn't have a job and that's what I really want. But maybe easier isn't what I need.

For the last two years or so I've been wanting to discover myself - to "arrive" at some point of knowing what goes on inside. And I'm not necessarily talking about counseling or therapy (which yes, I know would be a good thing to do as well). But maybe, hopefully, I've been doing that all along. Maybe, just maybe, in the piles of dishes, piles of dog hair and poop, in the nights alone and the tears, I've chiseled away just a little bit more of my shell and found a new part of me. And even though I don't necessarily have the journal entries, the paintings, the books put up to collect dust on my shelves, I have laugh lines, tear stains, plants that I've watched grow in, bottles (and bottles, and bottles!!) of wine in the recycling that have been drunk with friends.

So this spring, while life is emerging all around me, I will try and put to rest my desire to be the person I'm not, and embrace the person I am. I have to stop waiting for life to happen to me and make my life what I want it to be. Even if it doesn't look exactly like I thought it would.