im most eager and delighted for this weekend…..just like the year before and the year before that. Christmas of course is quite magical, but the days leading up to it even more so. the anticipation. the hope. the magic. these are the feelings that flourish within this home of ours.  its these feelings that we make wishes upon. that we grasp in our very hands and hold tight. tight enough to flow within our very being and hold in our hearts until next year.

winter fire


we will build a fire this weekend. creating a warmth. creating a cozy surrounding. listening to the wood crackle to its very own symphony. seeing the sparkle of the fire reflect back in my childrens eyes in a world of amazement.

Beignets Tiramisu with chocolate Ganache | halfbakedharvest.com


as the fire gently fills each room with glow and compassion, so will the scent of French market beignets. i will home make these air pocket filled French doughnuts. warm, generously sifted with the snowy powdered sugar and served with raw dark chocolate sauce and fleur de sel caramel sauce. my husband will run to our cafe and grab us our favorite coffees and iced chocolate milk for the kids.










as our bodies warm and our bellies consume fullness, we talk. we tell stories to one another. stories of wonder, of dream. we dream up these grand ideas of moving to the forest. the snowy forest. where all you can see is the smoke dancing in the air above our chimney. a cottage surrounded by nature. nature that is raw and has been untouched. where we talk to reindeers and keep deer as our treasured jewels. where the pines grow and have an aura of peace and tranquility. where the forest floor is covered in the delicate dusting of snow, much like our beignets are covered in powdered sugar. we dream of ways to make these magical moments a truth. as our babes listen to such fairy tales, their very selves glimmer with wonder and awe.

10 best winter travel spots /


decepticun:  Sequoia Trees California | Ramelli Serge http://atlandsend.tumblr.com/page/4

Beautiful colors (and subject!) #woods #snow #deer



such talk has encouraged us to a winters walk through the woods, through the captivating forest where nature has naturally guided us through. where the crunch of pine and twigs fall underfoot. where our friends……the fawn, the wild rabbit, the winter fox and the snowy owl are delighted to be.

this is the magic of our weekend, to exchange our dreams and thoughts and to unite them into such an imagination. to encourage our babes to keep dreaming. to dream of these tales that their intelligent little minds have created.

we will continue our weekend in such splendor. we will laugh. we will love. we will imagine. we will anticipate. we will be thoughtful. we will make peace. we will share memories and make new ones.

we will be thankful. thankful to have days such as these. thankful to have dreams as big as heaven. thankful to God. thankful for Jesus.




merry Christmas. merry Winter.

my week in pictures…..

my photos dont have filter, could be improved, would like to have a better camera. but these are my photos. something i would love to reflect back on in a year to see how much people have grown, to see where we are in a year and to see exactly what we are doing in a year. and maybe in a year, my photos and camera will improve.


my guy. my 9 1/2 year old love.

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my “little mom” my independent little woman. my almost 8 year old.

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my other little woman. my 5 year old. my girl who lives in a world of sunshine and butterflies.

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my 18 month old. silly boy. mr. personality. stubborn. cute as a button. and “auntie virj” one of my bestest. great woman. great “aunt” to my babes.

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decorated gingerbread

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more gingerbread

dont think we were going for looks on these ha!

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and my very favorite flower. a flower that can bring an insane amount of happiness to my life. the scent intoxicating. the beauty simple yet intricate. peonies.

my first born

i’ve got this guy……he’s pretty important stuff. he has hair as dark as a winters night, his eyes as equally dark…..not a darkness in them, but very kind eyes…..long lashes…..his eyebrows are pure perfection and his smile, well, his smile is warmth and truth. his skintone olive complected, his stature tall, lengthy and his whole being is full of strength. he does handstands…..daily……he has mastered this art and it really is a thing of beauty. he draws and writes amazing stories…….he is an artist fully and completely.

i look at him in awe. he’s mine. he taught me how to love. he taught me importance. he taught me good nature. he teaches me everyday…..goodwill, patience, generosity, humility…..all of these things and he hasnt the slightest idea he does.

my guy is 9……..9 1/2 to be exact. my oldest of 4. he uses manners that are hard to come by these days and it would be a lie if i said i couldnt help but feel proud at the constant applause from those that notice……the elderly who assumed manners are a lost art.

he has energy that one could certainly feel envious of. he is reserved and shy but will talk all day if allowed and fill your mind with knowledge, fill it so full of amazing things, mostly scientific. he is so incredibly smart.

his heart is absolute gold. he is incredibly lovely. a young boy who will become a magnificent young man. and he prays. not just says prayers, but he prays, he has talks with God and says for all to hear, he prays over his food at lunch at school and couldnt care less who hears.

my guy was diagnosed with adhd and dyslexia when he was 7. you think of adhd, you think of someone who simply cannot sit still, someone who is quite mischievous, someone who gets into trouble. not my guy. he was diagnosed on the lowest spectrum of it all. his dyslexia was more of an issue than his adhd.

to be honest…..it was a label i didnt want. i didnt want people to think negatively of my guy and i found myself praising every amazing attribute he displays, that he has within himself, in my own way i was begging people not to judge him. not to judge him for not reading in front of others because he was so damn shy, embarrassed for getting simple words wrong, embarrassed for only spelling his name right if he wrote it backwards.

it caused some complication in school and it didnt help that every teacher and his doctor continuously mentioned the use of medication. i was proud of myself because medication was not the route i wanted to take and i stood by my beliefs…..until a point was made that maybe, just maybe i wasnt making the best decision as a mother, i wasnt allowing him to reach his full potential without the use of meds. i felt crummy, i succumbed to those feelings and thought “oh my God……..i have unintentionally made him suffer because i wont put him on meds. who cares if drug use is an astounding much higher rate when he becomes a teenager. who cares that he may turn to theft, drinking, etc.” i mean, the drug they give these kids is speed……..it is literally speed……to a 9 year old.

people that once stood by my decision to not give him meds were now people telling me it was a chance for him, a chance to write correctly, a chance to not mistake b’s and d’s or m’s and w’s or to write his name…….not backwards.

so i did. we started him on meds.

the. worst. 2. weeks. of. my. life. i cried…….every night. i cried because he explained to me how much he did not like himself. he didnt care if he died. he was dumb. he was stupid. anything and everything he did, was done incorrectly. he didnt like the way he felt.

i told his doctor. she told me to pull him off the meds immediately. i told her i already had. she said it was not uncommon to have characteristics that were not the norm of that person. ridiculous.

i have an insane amount of guilt. insane. my whole initial thought on not giving him meds was because i didnt want him to think i wanted him to be like everyone else, to not be himself. i failed. i failed as a mother when he came to me crying and all i could do was hold him as i was secretly trying to convince myself that we were doing the right thing……we werent……..obviously.

he is who is he. he is a gift. a rare gift. something that God prepared for me and only me. there is absolutely no one in the world exactly like him. he is his own person. i never should have listened to those filling my head with thoughts that i was making a poor choice as a mother. i know best. he is my son, my baby and always will be.

i suppose there is a bit of humor that when it is mentioned about him with adhd to other doctors or parents with children that have more stern patterns of adhd, they all tell me the same “if your son has adhd, then we all do because i dont see it” . but so what if he does. i dont want him to change. i would never want to lose the kindness to his eyes, the quirkiness in his humor, his thoughtful nature, his sincerity, his honesty, his truth, his trustworthiness, and his love for us is ridiculously amazing.

do not second guess yourself as a mother. we normally know whats best for our children. and that means not changing who they are…..not changing who they are because of what society says, what others deem as “normal”

i did not breathe my entire life. not until my guy entered this world. he is my perfection. when i pick him up from school, i smile, i smile because he is mine, he is my son. he is a young man who is turning into something wonderful each day. he is setting an example to the younger 3…….to be loving, to be kind, to be patient, to care, to have a heart of gold, to love. i could simply not ask for anything more. no medication could possibly make him something more, he is something more……..all on his own. thank you God, thank you for this rare gift.

gouttes de pluie……….raindrops

“gouttes de pluie” = raindrops. rain. i have needed it so bad, almost as bad as our very dry land. my soul needed it. i too have been feeling quite parched, dried out even. but with the rain was brought something magical. i listened to it dance on the rooftop. it is a music that cannot be copied. i was alone in the house, my husband taking all of the kids out so i can nurse this migraine that has given me such a blow. it was peaceful. i had a candle lit, allowing a redolence in the air, a trace of mistletoe and kissed juniper with a slight hint of musk.

i was alone with my thoughts. i meditated for as long as i could stand it. i prayed. i talked with God. i was thankful. i was content. the rain was pouring, it was pouring as if the Heavens opened up the dove gray clouds and poured a vase of water onto us.

i just sat and listened at this point. i was completely marveled at the beauty of nature and i wanted to soak that feeling in. i wanted to feel it from my toes to my suffering migraine. gray skies have always brought a pleasantness to my life. rain……even more so.

it brings a sign of whats to come. shedding leaves, bare branches, plants with no flowering, will soon be green again. will soon flower again. this rain nurtures us just as much as it does our land. we need it.

rainy days bring a bit of whimsy and romance. a lit fire. hands……..one pair…. soft, pale, rounded cuticles with chipped nail polish…….the other pair……rougher, larger knuckles, scarring, …..both entwined with one another. expressing a love story that our hands alone could tell.

my babes so giddy at the sound of rain hitting their windows and exclaiming just how well they were going to sleep because the “beauty rain” (as they lovingly call it) is so peaceful. its like nature reading them a bedtime story.

thank you rain. thank you for nourishing us.

AW15 trend ideas


…….themed Christmas……

i have adored the woodland theme for quite some time and chose to use this as a guide in my Christmas theme. i never do some outrageous colors or soft pastels, nothing over the top. it is always an au naturel palette around here, usually all white, with as much natural finds i can allow, sprigs of rosemary and juniper here and spruce and pine there, nothing too sparkly, nothing glitter-y.

i love getting ready for Christmas. i love little hands helping. i love the magic of it all.

i love these photos and all that they radiate


northerine pine wall tapestry / anthropologie


i would totally leave this tapestry up all winter



i have some of these ornaments and i love them. not just for looks, but i have a set of curious little hands and i have no worry of them shattering, etc.

noel 2014


these are pretty awesome……..

noel 2014




Magical Winter Wonderland Decorative Glass Dome with Christmas Trees


Winter wreath by Babes in Boyland


i seriously dig this wreath…….



love this simple setting…….

Fresh greenery for a table runner makes for sweet simplicity. White plates and antique silverware paired against worn wooden tables create a romantic table setting. Photo by Scott Michael Photography. Via @100 Layer Cake


this table setting is perfect…..made for a wedding, but how easy to transition this to a holiday setting. rustic, raw and pure…….

H&M christmas decor


h&m and i have such a lovely relationship ;) thats all i shall say….


……giving of thanks…..

i thought a lot about tradition and how very much i would love for my family to have some sort of tradition each holiday…….i couldnt think of one, i certainly did not want to force one…….

it hit me…….i think of tradition as being these quirky little things and ideas that “normal” families have…..perhaps writing one thing down each thanksgiving on what we’re thankful for and sharing with one another, maybe gifting a small something to each person, etc.

but, with each holiday that requires an insane amount of cooking, you will find me in the kitchen, probably using profanity under my breath because i have burnt my hand or dropped the entire carton of eggs and broke every.single.one and who wants to go to the store with 4 kids the day before thanksgiving……for eggs?

how about the same people, showing up late for every.single.holiday. i can always count on that.

i can also always count on my oldest praying over our meal and it makes me so proud, nothing rehearsed, nothing forced, au naturel.

i think about all of these things and think that these very things are the start to our traditions. and it is all very much fine with me. its real. its us. and the start of our traditions are focused on us, on my little family.

tomorrow we will enjoy a buttermilk cornbread, infused with thyme and lavender, complete with sage sausage to make a delicate stuffing. accompanied with honeyed butter rolls, served warm with honey infused butter. the infamous bird, the turkey. buttered and spiced with lavender, thyme, marjoram, cloves and peppercorn, with the crispest of skin and juiciest of meat. as our meal lingers, so will our sweets. we shall have double layered spiced pumpkin and mascarpone  cheesecake, spiced with saigon cinnamon, cloves and sweet nutmeg, topped with fresh whipped cream. also a bourbon and dark cocoa bundt will be presented, made with crystallized coffee, tennessee whiskey and raw sugars, topped with a bourbon caramel glaze and sea salt. im currently getting talked into making some capped mushrooms, fried in butter and garlic with a touch of rosemary……probably will……..

i am so thankful for so many things, but what i treasure most in this world are my babes. God blessed me tremendously with these little lovers of mine and i could never imagine a single day without them.

happy thanksgiving……..xoxo

Thoughts Collected :part 2:

a collection of thoughts from my week;


















the older the kids get, the faster life moves. it is times like these that i wish we werent here yet, like maybe sometimes i wish for a do-over. to hold on to memories a bit more, to make more memories than what was made, to not rush things, to let things just “be”.

perhaps this is my chance for a do-over? who says i need to rewind times? there is no perfect time like the present. a lot has been going on for sure, but my main goal is for my babes to know how loved they are, forever and always.

there have been hidden tears, for all reasons. im so tired, so very tired. but i keep going…….and going. because i need to. there is no other choice but to do that, but given another choice would i even accept it? no, probably not.

A trellis of orange blooms, via loveallthingscomfy


i love this image and thought it to be a lovely ode to the closing of fall.

wishing you all a simple and lovely thanksgiving


…..table talk……

i want a table that talks…..i want stories to be shared, to be kept…..i want a gathering of friends and family, to break bread with one another, to be elated with one another’s company. i want to hear goodness in others lives, mine too…..i also want to be the ear to those who may be facing a struggle or 2…..i want tons of laughter……i want realness……raw…….emotions…….truth…….friendship…….lovers…….

i want new memories made, memories to recite for next years gathering. i want to watch my kids grow, my friends and family to  flourish…..

i want food to be amazing…..to create a sort of comfort for all of us…….i want different flavors that unite strikingly…..i want candle light to last a bit longer, to encourage us to linger a bit longer…..

i dont want to be rushed or those to feel rushed……i want us to savor each other, our moments, our memories, our food, our surroundings….

i cant help but think of november as a month to be thankful, for the obvious of course……this month contains a world of heart break for me as well…..but this month i want to be thankful……i need to be thankful….we all do

i want to set a table this thanksgiving that inspires and reassures all of the above…..all that i crave this thanksgiving……

Dark dining space with farm-style wooden dining table.


Thankful Jar


Outdoor Fall Dinner


Industrial Chic by Whitewall Photography for Magnolia Rouge Magazine


Holiday Inspiration | Kara Rosenlund


Thanksgiving Table Settings


dreamy whites - gorgeous table for thanksgiving



all of these tablescapes are lovely and such great inspiration……..what do you want your table to say?

november…….losing a baby…….losing a brother

november……well november has proven to be a little shitty for me. i have lost a lot in the month of november, the month of thanks, the month of gratitude…….

2003 at 19, i was pregnant…..young, scared, nervous, new. i was going to be a mom……a mother….i was going to have a little hand to hold, little rosebud lips to kiss, a little chubby body to keep warm and safe. i fancied what this little boy would look like…….i wondered his personality.

it wasnt just another teenage pregnancy……being a mother was a wonderful dream, a wonderful idea, a wonderful concept……but it wasnt my dream. but there i was, 19, pregnant. suddenly, it became my dream…..it had to. i was going to nurture this baby boy with my whole being, after all, he deserves nothing less

my due date was may 15th, 2004. a late spring baby. a great day to have a child.

halloween arrived with a scheduled appointment. my workday ended and i noticed my fear had turned into something beautiful. ahhhh i was going to be a mother…….words of sweetness. i could not wait to see this sweet baby on the monitor once again, moving about. the day was so gloriously dark, with rain pounding the pavement

i was there….lying down hearing the doctor telling me the heart beat of this sweet baby was no longer……….i was hearing her, but i wasnt listening. i laid there, numb, as she was staring at me to make sure i fully understood what she was saying. “there is no heartbeat”. he lived one day…….and didnt the next. i was nurturing a life. i was going to have a son. i already had his name. i turned my fear into something beautiful. i was going to love him with my entire soul. now what? i sat up, walked out and went to my car. that was it…..nobody was there to hug me, nurture me, tell me it was okay…….i sat next to my boyfriend (my husband now) in the car as he was crying and i was just staring at him……’why are you not comforting me’ i thought…….why do you get to cry…….you werent pregnant, you werent protecting a life inside of you, you didnt have the severe morning sickness, ‘what the hell is wrong with you’ i thought.

and then it happened…..my eyes were burning…….my eyes were welling up to the brims…….my cheeks were completely stained with tears……there was a bit of a permanence upon my face. this is what true heart ache feels like. to know the very feeling of being a mother only to be robbed, like a cruel joke was played and taunt you as if to say “just kidding”…..how dare you take him from me…..whoever “you” are. he was mine and i want him back…..and what about all the people who are going to ask about him and the pregnancy……i lost him……he is no longer mine…..that morning i was happy, i knew i was going to be a mother, i knew i would smell the infamous new baby smell, i knew my heart would be completely full…….and just like that, i am a mother no more. losing my first broke me…..it did something to me. i told my family that night and words of comfort were not found, but i was met with “thank God”…….thank God? im hurting…….im devastated…….there was a heart beat and there isnt anymore……i had a miscarriage you fools, this wasnt by choice, i didnt want this, but the best you can come up with is “thank God”

i chose to have a natural miscarriage, no medication or inducing, but some time had passed so i opted for the meds to induce the loss. this sweet baby that i was picturing in my arms with that sweet new baby smell, my son, would soon be leaving my body. i couldnt help but feel like an absolute failure that i couldnt protect him, that i wasnt nurturing him, that i couldnt keep his hand in mine like i promised i would….but instead i had to let him go, i had to let those thoughts of wonder go, i had to let go what i dreamed up of him…….i was alone every.single.step of the way……..not one person was holding my hand as the medication was working and i was lying there, cramping, breaking out in fevers, in and out of some trippy nightmare, just to get up every few minutes to the bathroom and watch with horror what was happening to me…..what was happening to my son……it was just me, all alone……a promise i made to my unborn son a feeling he would never feel…..alone…….

we officially lost him November 15th

2009 had arrived and i had given birth to my 3rd child, a chubby, perfect, baby girl. i had a perfect baby boy in 2005 and a perfect baby girl in 2007.

i had an older brother, Jonathan, who was 27 at the time. he was different……he was quirky, he was mischievous, he had a certain humor about him. he was special. he didnt know it though. jonny was rough around the edges. he had a drug problem, a drinking problem……a problem with life…..not his though…..a problem that was inflicted on him very young. he was robbed of his childhood to say the least. he grew up too quickly, too fast. i helped when i could, not enough though, nor did anyone else. he was treated like a lost cause, the black sheep, the problem…….he was none of those. he was always kind to the elderly, helped whenever he could, a hard worker,he was ridiculously smart, he was everything a big brother should be, he had a smile so big that his eyes would literally light up along with his smile and his smile was pure truth. he was raw. he was numb. he grew too old for his young age, he had seen too much, he had been subjected to too much. his million dollar smile faded too soon. his light was gone. he was sick. he was succumbed to demons.

my mother arrived at my home on Sunday, November 15th, 2009. i saw her as i looked out the window and her face was so sad. she had been crying i could tell. my grandfather was very ill at the time, so i assumed the expected. but i studied her face a bit more and realized that in fact it wasnt him, it was someone else. it was my brother. she came to my house last, to tell me last……my brother was dead. he died November 15th, the same exact day i officially lost my baby boy a few years prior. my brother was gone. as i was processing this, i quickly handed my mother my 7 month old baby and fell to the floor. my knees completely gave out and a sound of despair loudly left my mouth…..next thing i knew i found myself in the bathroom throwing up…….i was panicking, i lost my breath……..i could only imagine this would be the feeling you get when someone reaches deep in your chest, grabs your beating heart and crumbles it to dust right in front of you, looking in your eyes as you slowly die.

my brother took his own life that day. he couldnt go on, he no longer had the fight, so he thought. he was done. he was tired. he thought very little of himself, not enough to continue on. my heart was broke into a million pieces the day i lost my first child and i was not aware that it could happen again. how many times can one suffer heartache? more than once it would appear. my heart aches everyday, some days it would seem that every minute of my day is consumed with such heart ache and others, just an hour or 2. i pray often to meet my brother in my dreams, to see him, to tell him i miss him, to tell him i thought the world of him, to tell him that he was worth something, more even. i ask the same of my first baby. i bet he is perfect. i bet he is the epitome of “new baby smell”, i bet he has dimples on his knees and thick black hair. i think God is keeping him at the doors of Heaven waiting till i get there, to hold his little hand in mine and to keep him safe for all eternity.

i had a healthy baby boy last year, May 15th……the projected due date of my first baby boy. May 15th……November 15th…..2 days…..heartache and heartfelt.




recipe……pumpkin bread……

i bake……a lot. that actually may even be an understatement. during fall and holidays, my home usually smells of cinnamon, chocolate, vanilla, brown sugar…..all the good stuff. baking (cooking too) brings comfort to me……i bake if my babes have had a particularly rough week at school, i bake in the time of mourning, i bake for ones’ happiness……

every fall i bake pumpkin bread……one thing to know about my baking, i never add salt, even in the butter, always no salt, always unsalted butter…..unless of course if im making something with salted caramel.

this pumpkin bread is so heartwarming. it is insanely good….the flavors marry one another in this eternal bond……..the bread is moist and perfect in so many ways. i love it in the morning with my coffee, my babes enjoy it topped with some homemade whipped cream……its good stuff folks……it freezes very well too (up to 3 months)


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3 1/3 c. organic flour

2 tsp baking soda

2 tsp organic cinnamon

1 tsp organic ground nutmeg

1 tsp pumpkin pie spice

1 1/2 c. organic granulated sugar

1 1/2 c. organic brown sugar

1 c. vegetable oil

4 organic, cage free, eggs

2/3 c. water

1  15-ounce can of organic can pumpkin

this recipe yields 2 loaves, which you will want ;)

preheat oven to 350. grease loaf pan (standard size 9x5x3 could use other sizes, just adjust bake time accordingly). in a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and pumpkin pie spice. set aside.

in a large mixing bowl, combine both sugars and oil. beat with electric mixer on medium speed until well mixed. add eggs and mix well. alternately add flour mixture and the water (starting with the flour mixture and ending with the flour mixture) to sugar/oil mixture beating on low speed after each addition just until combined. beat in pumpkin until mixture is mixed well.

spoon batter into pans, spreading evenly. bake 50-60 mintues, time varies depending on oven and what size breads you are baking. bread is done when toothpick inserted in center of bread comes out clean. cool in pan for 10-20 mintues and remove loaves from pans to cool completely. you should allow the breads to rest overnight (wrap in plastic or put in gallon freezer bags before you do)….however, we have not been able to wait that long to do so.

to store: bread keeps in fridge (wrapped) for up to 1 week or put loaves in freezer bags and freeze for up to 3 months.

make this bread folks……its fall in a bread. play around with some ideas…maybe top with a streusel, a light frosting….cream cheese, toffee nut, dulce de leche? just a thought.