Things

I have been silent on the blog front for a year now.  Things happened in 2015, things that are worth mentioning.  I just needed to take some time to myself to work out a balance in my life.

So here is the high(and low)light reel of 2015 –

The biggest thing that happened was the loss of two of the kindest, most gentle souls I have had the pleasure of calling family.  We said goodbye to great men, my stepdad Ki, and our Grandpa B.  Both were major blows to the family and both are so deeply missed.  That’s about all I am going to say on the subject as I can’t see to type through the tears that still well up when I think of these two wonderful men and how very much they meant to me.

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Another big thing that happened – I finally got my Handsome Husband to the doctor for a top to toe check up.  There it was discovered that he needed to make a 180 degree change. It was frightening to hear that he had some serious threats to his health and I can now safely say that he jumped head first into the necessary changes and did indeed pull a complete 180.  He is now the picture of health and balance.  The choices he has made since seeing his doctor have led to many ripples in his pond, ripples that reach far into the ponds of our daughter, our friends, family and even my own pond.  There is a new invigoration that has become infectious.  In all the years I have been at his side, the current one is turning out to be the greatest thus far, releasing a new hope, and energy in all that we do and dream about doing.

Those three are really the big life changers that happened in the past year.  Of course there have been the usual life curve balls, but every year offers those kinds of hurdles.  Ones that only seem insurmountable when you’re staring them in the eye, but once over them you look back and realize it was nothing more than a rock to which we have move aside, gone around or merely stepped over.  The good that has come from the past year makes the lesser trials easier to shrug off.

These are the important things.

Good things, like learning to make cheese and butter and kefir.

The fun things, like an impromptu family weekend road trip full of spontaneity and surprises.

Weekends away with great friends, discovering new places, finding beauty in the surprising places and creating lasting memories.

Accomplishing things, like conquering that pressure canner, building a fabulous canning cupboard and filling that cupboard up.

Strength building things, like finally flying alone for the first time (me), which then led to the best week spent with my mom driving from northern Washington State back to So Cal.

Special things, like spending time with our most adorable niece,

adopting a spunky new family member,

and finally meeting my farm crush, Rachael of THE FARMSTEAD, after 3 years of online stalking friendship.

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These are the things that make the bumps, hills and mountains that we come across worth the struggle.

These are the ONLY things that matter.

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More than just a ‘Stache Bash

Last week I shared that my amazing Husband turned 40 (here). Saturday Midge and I hosted a Mustache themed 40th birthday party for our Super Man. She and I had been hard at work for a couple of weeks cutting mustaches, framing fun ‘stache themed signs and collecting pictures to craft a collage of all Hubby’s 40 years. This was our first big party at our new place and we were all a little extra nervous. The large covered patio area turned out to be a great location (minus the serious lack of available parking) The turn out was amazing. We had over 40 guests in attendance. Everyone from my in-laws to aunts, uncles, cousins, long time friends, newer friends and best friends. Being surrounded by so much love was an overwhelming blessing and by far the very best gift.

Here is the highlight reel…

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The birthday boy, myself (in a fun tee I ordered here, they even changed the tee color to suit me) and our beautiful daughter “Midge” (cause at 5’9″ she is still a shorty to me).

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I do a little catering and cake making on the side, I’d love to make it a more full-time career, but for now I am happy to have the experience of putting together and running large events, it really makes hosting a party for 40 a cinch. Owning all the catering supplies is a big help too. I cooked up Trav’s favorites, carne asada and chile-lime chicken tacos, red rice, refried pinto beans, black beans, salsa, chips and all the toppings.

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Everyone got in on the party theme. This is my handsome father in-law with our adorable niece. Love the binky!

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Trav with his uncle, dad and again, our beautiful niece.

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My Best “N” with her favorite toddler. Women are ruling the next generation of our family, we started with Midge, then this beauty and now our niece. Go Girl Power!

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This hunk is my big brother. He was up in Reno for work for the week and drove home the day before, making sure to stop into his favorite brewery on route and picked up a tasty brew for me along with a great hoodie for the Hubby.

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I have a serious crush on my niece, as proven by yet another picture. I just can’t get enough. Here she is with her lovely momma.

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This was the theme of my day, my hands were so full I could hardly find a free moment to grab a bite to eat. I actually ducked into the kitchen for a fast minute to finally get a little grub. It is hard work being the hostess and caterer. Balancing the refilling of food, working the crowds, giving tours of the homestead (Thank goodness it’s just our backyard, I may have had to hire staff if I had more things to tour) I just love that I have my hands full of all I do, fresh eggs, scratch made foods, family and a full heart.

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Midge holding court, or class, sharing the pullets and answering questions for both kids and curious adults. If veterinary medicine doesn’t pan out, I could easily see her teaching. She’s a natural.

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Look Momma!

Earlier I shared that I cater and cake make. I don’t just bake your average sheet and layer cakes. I like to play with my food and create sculpted cakes that don’t look like cake. With the theme being Mustache, everyone was betting that I had crafted a cake to fit the theme. But having had a mustache longer than I’ve known him , (in fact, I thought he may have been born with it till I started going through his baby pictures) Trav is also known for his affinity for a certain “silver bullet” beer. So….

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That’s what I made! I always bake a carrot cake for Hubby’s birthday but this year I added this Reese’s Overload Cake. I just had to make that one as well since Reese’s are Travis’ favorite sweet treat (well, after me of course)

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I just love this picture. Almost as much as I love my husband. He was so surprised by my cake (he had seen the Reese’s one prior to the party but I had kept the custom carrot cake under wraps until the big reveal at the party) He said the sweetest thing. “I don’t know how she does it, but I am still surprised by the cakes she makes.” AWE…

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The details are all hand-painted on and took about 3 hours. inside is 5 layers of carrot cake with cream cheese frosting. You can see more of the cakes I make here.

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Proof it is really cake. Hubs couldn’t bear to watch me slice into it, but I am always eager to prove that it tastes as good as it looks (not trying to sound smug, I just really know it’s tasty)

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Having his cake and eating it too.

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Our gorgeous cousin and her adorable daughter.

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A toast to good friends, great family, love, health and happiness!

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Fireball!

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Ha Ha, quite the haul.

For some of our guests, this was their first time visiting our new place. After taking such a hard hit in 2012 it was so nice to finally stop telling and just show them all that we have landed on our feet and are doing far better than just surviving, we are thriving. My heart overflowed with joy as we shared or home, our new path and our happiness with so many family and friends. To step back and watch as the young and (not-so) young explored the chickens and garden was the biggest treat of the day. Many questions were asked, more were answered and a new light was shed on who Travis, Midge and I have begun to grow into. I hope one day we can have a gathering much like this weekend’s on the land that we dream of owning. To see the wonder and surprise in their eyes as they took in the sights and absorbed the knowledge we so proudly shared, was an incredible feeling that I hope to recreate again and again.

When I set out with planning this party I had just one goal in mind. I just wanted a celebration that, without doubt, would make certain that Travis knew how much love, friendship and admiration he is constantly surrounded by. I had no idea that a by-product of this party would be a profound validation that the path we recently stumbled upon is the truest path we have yet to discover in our lives. I have hosted many parties over the years, but this was, by far, the most fulfilling, unpretentious, life affirming experience, we as a family, have had. After this weekend I have no doubt we are right where we need to be and are headed in the direction we are supposed to be headed.
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