Wednesday, December 16, 2015


We had a crazy November, and December has been pretty full too.  I have a few posts I need to do to catch up to where we are now, so I'll start with a food one!

In late November, we started our Winter/Early Spring share from Intervale Community Farm.  Every other week, we drive to ICF (just right outside Burlington) and pick up our share.  We chose this CSA (there are TONS to choose from in Vermont) for a couple of reasons:  

- I like that it's every other week.  That doesn't seem so overwhelming!

- We know one of the farmers there, so that's fun.

- Several friends use this CSA and really enjoy it.

- Most CSA's have a place where you meet them and are handed your basket for the week.  At ICF, you go to their farm and get to choose a lot of your share.  For instance, we get to choose 2 lbs of kale, spinach, or a mix.  This was probably the biggest selling point to me.  I can choose a bushel of sweet potatoes if I want that week.

So here's what we got the first week: mixed greens, brussel sprouts, spinach, kale, bibb lettuce, delicata squash, butternut squash, celeriac, turnips, sweet potatoes, beets, potatoes, carrots, parsnips, purple onions, and cabbage.

I did the math, and our CSA is cost us $35 every other week.  We started pickup late November and will go through until mid May (and then we will probably do the Summer/Fall CSA as well).  Even getting veggies at Trader Joe's (where they price per item and not by weight), I still think we came out ahead. 

Some of these veggies are easy to cook with.  I love squash so that's a no brainer.  But kale, turnips, and celeriac?  Much harder.  

Caveat:  I am not a food blogger and I'm not a photographer.  So these pictures are not very good.  But the food was good, so that's all that matters, right?

I LOVE brussel sprouts!  I didn't eat them last year because breastfeeding moms are supposed to stay away from cruciferous vegetables (e.g. brussel sprouts, broccoli).  I am loving eating them this year!  I roasted these and then topped them with a little lemon zest and fresh parmesan.

My favorite way thus far to use our CSA veggies is to throw them in a curry.  I mix a jar of Trader Joe's red curry simmer sauce with a can of coconut milk and throw in whatever root veggies I have on hand.  This curry has carrots, parsnips, sweet potatoes, and spinach.  Bech used the mixed greens to make a salad with miso ginger dressing.

This is all Bech, and it was SO good.  Bech roasted the celeriac and then sliced it and cooked it a little more.  He then made a garlic dipping sauce.

A parsnip and garlic soup made by Eric, a friend who visited the week of Thanksgiving.  The picture makes it look very unappetizing.  I promise, it was good.  And a great way to use up our parsnips!

I stole this off of Eric's instagram.  Bech made curried potato fritters topped with cranberry chutney.

I use quesadillas the same way I use red curry--throw whatever veggies I want to use on it!  I have made several butternut squash quesadillas, but the other night I added roasted delicata squash.  

The other day, as Bech left for work, he told me to eat more kale.  That's a thing Vermonters say (and put on shirts and bumper stickers) so I thought he was kidding.  I laughed, and he said, "No really, we have a lot of kale; eat some."  

I've never been a kale fan, so I tried to think of creative uses.  We love homemade pizza, so I figured kale would be a good addition.  This is a pesto, mozzarella, and feta pizza with roasted kale added in.  SO good!  I have been roasting the kale and eating it plain lately.  It's really yummy that way. 

Not pictured, but other successful CSA uses: fall themed salad with roasted delicata squash, angel hair pasta with feta, bacon, and butternut squash, and lots of kale chips.

Grossest thing to date: turnip fries.  Never again...

We are loving our CSA!  If you have any recipe suggestions, send them my way.

Friday, December 4, 2015

5 on Friday, Christmas Edition

I took almost the whole month of November of from blogging.  It wasn't intentional, but we had 3 visitors and some traveling of our own plus Thanksgiving.  I want to post on all of that (and I will), but I can't pass up a good opportunity to make a list...

So 5 on Friday it is!  This week we are all about Christmas in the Evans house.  I'm going to share 5 Christmas traditions that we are starting and/or continuing this year!

O     N     E

Christmas Pajamas

I feel like this is a pretty common tradition, at least in the South, and one I grew up with.  But this is really our first year with this tradition.

In my family, we always got our pjs on Christmas Eve; it was the one present we were allowed to open.  But since I chose very specific Christmas themed pajamas for the boys this year, I thought it might be fun to give them to the boys on December 1st, along with a Christmas DVD.

Jack was SO excited.  I'm going to be real with y'all--Jack put those pj's on as soon as he got home from MOPS that day (I let him open them in the morning), wore them that afternoon and night, wore real clothes that next morning for school, and then changed right back into them at lunchtime.  I call that a success.

My boys watching "Charlie Brown Christmas."  

Please note, there are tennis shoes on Gil's feet.  That would be because he wore those pj's out in public.  No shame here.

T     W     O

Advent/Jesse Tree

Last year I bought Ann Voskamp's Unwrapping the Greatest Gift.  Life with two little boys was MORE than a little crazy and the book was a little over Jack's head, so we didn't do it.

This year we are giving the book a try.  It is a Jesse Tree style family devotional.  The readings are a little flowery, but not too long.  I think Jack is enjoying it so far.  

I also got a crazy idea to buy a felt pattern pdf for Jesse on November 30th.  I am slowly working my way through these ornaments.  I want to have them all done before the whole season is over!  As of last night (the 3rd), I had made 5--not too shabby.  They won't turn out perfect, but I think it will be really fun in the years to come to use the ornaments each advent season.

Here's a picture of the first felt ornament.  The one I'm working on today is proving extra hard (Joseph and his coat of many colors)...let's hope it turns out okay!

T     H     R     E     E

Christmas Lights!

We've been driving around and looking at Christmas lights with Jack since he was one.  I absolutely adore Christmas lights, and so does Jack.  In another week or so, we will put the boys in the car in their pj's with some hot cocoa (and warmed milk for Gil) and take in the pretty lights.

This year, we added a new element by going to Church Street (a cobblestone couple of blocks in downtown Burlington) for the annual tree lighting.  

Of course, this picture is not from this year.  We have only seen a few snow flakes, and none on the ground yet!  Where is my White Christmas???

F     O     U     R


My mom always makes the yummiest food at Christmas.  I love getting in the kitchen with her and learning how to make all of the favorites.  We have already decorated sugar cookies and made homemade marshmallows, but I plan on making toffee (my mom makes the BEST toffee!  I am very nervous, though, because the one time she let me be in charge, I burned it), peppermint bark, sunshine crakers, chex mix, and cookies.

Jack loves to be in the kitchen.  Anytime I pull my mixer out, he jumps up and yells, "Let me help."  Honestly, it's more stressful than helpful at this point, but I am trying to be patient and enjoy the time with him.

F     I     V     E

Christmas Music and Movies

I know this one is pretty common, but we are soaking up all the Christmas music and movies we can!

Jack is a big fan of How the Grinch Stole Christmas and my favorites are White Christmas (there's a reason we live up here!) and Love Actually.  Bech wouldn't claim a Christmas movie favorite, but he gets really into any Christmas movie I play.  I love to watch the ABC Family and Lifetime Christmas movies (Netflix has tons!).

As far as music goes, I've got the Pandora playing "Dave Barnes Holiday" at home and Sleeping at Last's Christmas Album on repeat in my car.  I found Sleeping at Last on Noise Trade a couple of years ago and I just love them.

This is my favorite song, "Snow."

So that's what we're doing this Christmas season in the Evans' house!  Have a wonderful weekend.  I'll be burning my Balsam Fir candle and wishing for snow.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

The Advent Season

If you have read this blog for any period of time, you know that I love Christmas, even more than I love fall.  And one of my favorite parts of Christmas is the Advent season.  I love the weeks leading up to Christmas Eve and Day.  I love preparing for Christmas and focusing on what it all means.  I love the Christmas hymns and lighting the candle.

Last year, the Advent season was especially meaningful because that whole time was so hard.  I look back on last fall as a bit of a blur.  I read this article one year ago today, and I just cried.  I was in the midst of so many unknowns.  I was taking Gil in for weight checks and blood tests.  Jack and Bech had pneumonia (and Bech went through 3 rounds of antibiotics to get rid of his!).  Gil was colicky, and I hadn't had a full night of sleep since September.  Bech was in the midst of health issues on top of a super hard year of school.  Last Advent was hard.  

But that only made it more special.  

"Would we be so filled with joy at his arrival if we weren’t so filled with longing already?
If Christmas is for the joy, then Advent is for the longing.
As I learned in particular through our lost babies, one after another after another, the joy born out of suffering and longing is more beautiful for its very complexity. I am learning it again in these days in particular when so many are grieving and angry, sad and wounded from the pain of living in this world as it stands right now. The joy doesn’t erase the longing and the sadness that came before but it does redeem it, it may even stain backwards changing how we look at those days or years. But the joy is made more real, richer and deeper perhaps, because we longed for it with all our hearts for so many days."
"Now that I have wept, now that I have grieved, now that I have lost, now that I have learned to hold space with and for the ones who are hurting, now I have a place for Advent.

Now that I have fallen in step with the man from Nazareth, I want to walk where he walked into the brokenness of this life, and see the Kingdom of God at hand. Now that I have learned how much I need him, I have learned to watch for him.
Advent is for the ones who know longing."
And now we enter into another Advent season.  A month and a half ago, I was rereading my post from last year and thinking about how different things are right now.  My kids and husband are relatively healthy.  While many health questions were never answered, they aren't day to day factors anymore.  My children sleep.  Bech is done with school, and we actually get to see him again!  I don't do bath and bedtimes by myself (with a crying baby) most nights.  I realized I was coming into this Advent season so much more full than last year.

And then my friend's child almost died.  And there were terrorist attacks in Paris.  And I keep reading about the Syrian refugees (and so many hateful responses to them).  And another friend just had a life altering surgery.  

There is so much pain, so many tears, so much LONGING still all around me.

But this is the reality of our fallen world.  Every year, even if it isn't me, I will be surrounded by those who have grieved and who have lost.  I will be, as Sarah Bessey says, "holding space with and for the ones who are hurting."  

But praise God for Advent, because that means that there is HOPE.  During the next 24 days, I get to be reminded of that truth, that "He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain" (Revelation 21:4).

And Advent will always have a place, every December, until,

"one day, when he comes back to rule forever, the mountains and trees will dance and sing for joy!  The earth will shout out loud!  His fame will fill the whole earth--as the waters cover the sea!  Everything sad will come untrue.  Even death is going to die!  And he will wipe away every tear from every eye.  

Yes, the Rescuer will come.  Look for him.  Watch for him.  Wait for him.  
He will come!"

Friday, November 13, 2015

5 on Friday

Ah, my favorite, a post with no direction!

O     N     E

Trader Joe's sells boxed wine.


Also, not snobby wine comments here.  I'm not above boxed wine.  I have two little wild boys.  I NEED this.

T     W     O

Speaking of my two wild boys, we made this amazing music video last night.

Bech has had a lot of late work days lately (the studio has an Empty Bowls event on Sunday), which means I am finding any means possible to entertain my two little rascals!

We used the app Triller, and Jack is obsessed.  Plus, I'll admit, it's pretty fun for adults too!

T     H     R     E     E

Okay, this next item is a little dorky.  Fine, fine, every item is dorky, but this is more so than usual.

We have been singing a lot of Christmas songs around here.  While singing "Jingle Bells" the other day to Jack, I realized that, in the song, "jingle" is an imperative.  As in, "jingle" (an imperative 2nd person plural verb) "bells" (the persons/things being told to jingle).

Pretty cool, huh?

Or not...

F     O     U     R

Lately, I have been a reading machine.  I always read a lot, but I have been reading even more than usual.  I just finished the last Liane Moriarty book and I've read most of Elin Hildebrand at this point. 

I want to go back and read some classics that I never read in high school.  So far, my list is Les Miserables, The House of Seven Gables (I keep starting it and not finishing...this does not bode well), Love in the Time of Cholera (I loved 100 Years of Solitude so I'm thinking I'll enjoy this as well), and some of the Russians.

Any suggestions?  I've read most Hemingway, Fitzgerald, and Vonnegut.  I've read all of Ayn Rand.  I am NOT a Steinbeck fan.  Any classics that you just LOVE?

F     I     V     E

Gil has been SO fussy and clingy lately.  Some of it is just his personality, but I realized last week that he has four molars coming in at once, bless his heart!

But even with all of the crying and fussing, this kid is just so much fun.  He has started laughing this deep, goofy laugh, and we just love it.  I can't even handle the cuteness.

Also, I just returned an 18 month outfit for a 12 month outfit...for my 14 month old!  And today he is wearing a little jon jon that Jack wore at 8 months.  Oh, this kid!

Well that's all I have for today.  Have a wonderful weekend!

Monday, November 2, 2015

Leaf Peepers!

I promise, I am almost done with the posts all about fall.  But I just love fall SO much.  I can't help it!

A couple of weeks ago, Bech took a Friday morning off so that we could all go leaf peeping.  The leaves were in their peak (this elusive week or so when the leaves are just BRILLIANT) and we wanted to drive around and take in their beauty!

We drove north east, up to the top of Smuggler's Notch.  The Notch is a beautiful, windy road through the mountains.  It's closed all winter because of the snow and ice.  But in the fall, it is the perfect drive to see the leaves!  It ends in Stowe, Vermont.  I adore Stowe.  It's a cute little town with a ski resort.  It has great stores and restaurants.  And then, to get back on the interstate heading toward Burlington, we have to drive through Waterbury and past the Ben & Jerry's factory, so we HAD to stop!

?O world, I cannot hold thee close enough!
   Thy winds, thy wide grey skies!
   Thy mists, that roll and rise!
Thy woods, this autumn day, that ache and sag
And all but cry with colour!   That gaunt crag
To crush!   To lift the lean of that black bluff!
World, World, I cannot get thee close enough!

Long have I known a glory in it all,
         But never knew I this;   
         Here such a passion is
As stretcheth me apart,—Lord, I do fear
Thou’st made the world too beautiful this year;
My soul is all but out of me,—let fall
No burning leaf; prithee, let no bird call."

Edna St. Vincent Millay, "God's World"

Sunday, November 1, 2015


Happy Halloween!

Halloween this year was really fun.  Jack picked out his costume and was SUPER in character, which was hilarious.  And He was just so excited about the whole day!

We started celebrating on Friday at Jack's school.  The kids all wore their outfits and had a Halloween parade!

Saturday, we watched some Scooby Doo and Curious George's Halloween movie and made pumpkin and bat sugar cookies.  We went to a Trunk or Treat at Jack's school.  We then headed over to our friends' house for some pizza and trick or treating!

Like I said, Jack picked out his costume this year.  I figured we would have a little Darth Vader, but he wanted to be Harry Potter.  I promise, I didn't give him this idea!

And Harry needed his owl, Hedwig.

Hedwig was not a huge fan of his hat or of taking pictures.

Both outfits were pretty easy.  I found an outfit on pinterest for Hedwig and copied it using felt, buttons, a shirt, and a needle and thread (I did sew the hat with a machine but I could easily have hand sewn it).  For Jack, we spray painted his hair black, drew a lightning bolt shaped scar, and threw in a Gryffindor scarf and Harry Potter glasses.

I love my little Harry Potter characters!


Friday, October 16, 2015

5 on Friday

3 posts in one week?  Crazy!

But you know I love a good list, so here are 5 things going on around here.

O     N     E

Gil is officially weaned!  I last nursed him on Wednesday morning.

I weaned him the same way I weaned Jack.  Around 11 1/2 months, I started switching out one feeding a day for a bottle of whole milk.  I did this for a week, and then the next week I switched out another feeding.  For the past two weeks, I have only been nursing Gil in the morning.  I haven't dropped it yet because he's been waking up at 5, nursing, then going back to sleep until 6:30 or 7.  But two days ago, we did a little cry it out and dropped that nursing session.  So we are done!

I am a little sad, but mostly glad.  Nursing is tough!  Plus, I needed him to be completely weaned because...

T     W     O

I am going to Texas next weekend!  I haven't traveled without kids since having kids, and I have yet to spend a night away from Gil.  And both of those things desperately need to happen.  

I found a super cheap ticket from Boston to Dallas (and was able to use miles to pay for it!).  I am headed to Texas for 4 days next week to visit my little sister at Baylor.  And it just so happens to be Baylor's homecoming.

We have lots of plans:  the homecoming game, Pig Skin, Chuy's happy hour, Common Grounds, maybe some Mary Kate and Ashley movie watching...

And honestly, I am so excited about spending 6 total hours in a plane BY MYSELF that I could just burst!

T     H     R     E     E

I am actually writing this post on Thursday, because currently, we are taking a little leaf peeping drive through Vermont.

You know, because this is what it currently looks like outside...

I didn't take this picture.  But it was taken in Vermont.  And it does look like this.  

I've got a free drink at Starbucks calling my name (yay for my Gold membership), so we will grab some coffee and hit the road bright and early.  We are going to drive up to Cambridge, Vermont, and then down through Smuggler's Notch.  We will pass right by Waterbury, Vermont, on the way home, so we probably need to stop at Ben & Jerry's for the factory tour, right?

F     O     U     R

Our friends, Rob, Ashley, and Theo, were in town last weekend so we showed them around Burlington some.  And no trip to Burlington is complete without going to Church Street.

Church Street is this four or 5 block section of bricked pedestrians only road with shops and restaurants, as well as food carts and street entertainers.  Gil loved this one singer who had a banjo.  He danced and clapped the whole time we listened to him.

Gil is really hilarious and fun.  He's also super clingy and shy, so most people don't get to see that side of him.  But around us, he is a total ham.

F     I     V     E

The new Andrew Peterson cd is out!

I think it's been three years since a new Andrew Peterson cd came out.  I would say, right now, Andrew is my favorite musician.  He is such a storyteller (actually, he writes fiction too, so he really is a storyteller) and his songs are so meaningful to me.

I've been listening to this cd a bunch this week and it's really, really good!  

Well, that's 5 things, so I'm done.  Have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Bella's Visit

My mom just spent a little over a week here in Vermont visiting us.  One of the great things about Bella visiting is that she takes LOTS of photos.  So I actually have documentation!  I am so bad about taking pictures, especially of fun little day trips.  But I sent all of her phone pics to me, so I actually have pictures for this post.

This is one of the best visits we've ever had.  Both my mom and I usually have little tasks we are planning, like sew Jack's bed skirt or make pillows.  But this trip, the only task was to have fun and enjoy fall and the boys.  Accomplished!  Here's what we did:  played at some of our favorite parks, went shopping, walked down Church Street, got drinks at El Gato and Citizen Cider (my mom is cider fan now!), had day trips to Middlebury and Montreal, went to the Harvest Festival at Sam Mazzas, and went apple picking at Shelburne Orchards.  She got to visit our new church and see Jack's school.

It's a running joke in our family how much Bella loves a covered bridge.  I found a bridge that was just a couple of minutes out of our way down to Middlebury.

Bella with two of her favorites--covered bridges and Jack.

Jack loved looking at Otter Creek.

About four years ago, we came to Middlebury with Bech's parents and his little brother.  We ate at this cute little cafe, Storm Cafe, right by Otter Creek.  I looked it up and it's still there, so we went to lunch there.  It is really good!

Another shot of Otter Creek.

This little boy is such a wild man!

Jack got a new treat while Bella was here.  We haven't taken off the training wheels yet, but he loves his new bike!

The Saturday that my mom was here, we got in the car bright and early to head to Montreal.  Counting time at the border, it takes little less than 2 hours to get to Montreal from Burlington.  We headed first to Old Montreal and walked the streets, looking in shops and stopping for a tour of the Notre Dame Basilica.

It warmed up, but the morning was chilly!

I can't remember the name of the building behind us.  But I think it was important?

We went to a Portuguese rotisserie restaurant for lunch (on the recommendation of a friend).  It was yummy!  While there, a man told us about the Marche Jean-Talon, so we headed there next.  It's a huge indoor/outdoor market with all sorts of vendors.  There were beautiful fresh fruits and vegetables, local honey, mushrooms, macaroons, meat, cheeses, flowers...everything!  My mom wanted a picture with the mums to send to her parents (who are avid gardeners).

It looks so funny now that Gil is walking around.  He is really tiny, so people stop and ask his age a lot.  This outfit is a 12 month sweater onesie from Gap.  Look how big it is on him!

Our last stop was Mont Royal, a mountain in the middle of the city with incredible views.

Look at that!

Our ride home took an extra hour.  There was a teacher union strike at the foot of the Mont Royal so we hit traffic there.  Then the Pont Champlain (Champlain Bridge) was closed for some reason.  But we finally made it home, tired but happy.
My mom wanted some pictures of her with the boys with a pretty view in the background.  I drove down by Lake Champlain and found a new (to us) park, Battlefront.  The park itself is good, but not amazing, but it's the view that is incredible!  Jack enjoyed the playground though.

This little munchkin thinks he is a big guy, just like his brother.  He loves to climb (supervised, of course!) up play sets and slide down the slides.  I have trouble on my hands...

I think the shot turned out pretty cute, don't you?  And that pose of Jack's?  All his own idea!

We had a great trip with Bella and are already missing her!