I haven’t been writing lately, I’ve been cooking, we’ve been eating, but not much writing.  This summer we moved…finally after house hunting since I was pregnant with our first.  He is now 4 and his sister is 1 1/2.  After much searching, we left our house in the city and moved to a small town outside the metro.

We are missing all the things I knew we’d miss and loving all the things I hoped and knew we’d love.  That is, missing our old friends and neighbors, although we are still getting together as often as we can, and baguettes from the bakery down the street.  Loving our bigger yard and the freedom I see my kids have exploring it with the 5 neighbor kids next door.  Loving the fireplace and backyard fire pit, being closer to the grandparents, the quiet of less traffic and airport noise, and the calmness of a charming small town.

 

For Thanksgiving I made cranberry nut muffins (recipe below), and mashed sweet potatoes (recipe? 7lbs sweet potatoes, 1 stick of butter, salt and a little cream or milk).  I also brought lefse in honor of my Norwegian grandmother who served it every Thanksgiving.  I rolled some lefse tacos with turkey and mashed potatoes for my kids (and myself) just as I’ve been doing since I was little.

Since Thanksgiving I’ve been loving getting ready for Christmas.  As much as we hate winter by March, I really do love each distinct season in the midwest.  Our yard has a lot of evergreens and I’ve been making very non-fancy homemade wreaths and garlands, and bringing some mother nature inside.  We’ve cut off a wood round from the base of our tree to mark every year and I hung all our past Christmas cards as a decoration–nothing marks the passing of time like kids growing.  I’m trying to make the kids an ornament each year that they can have for their own trees someday.

Inspired by my favorite blog, my kids helped me make an advent calendar, with a daily winter activity tucked in envelopes and clothes pinned in our stairwell.  Day 1 was our first visit from an elf on the shelf, tomorrow they’ll hang the stockings I finally made, now that we have a mantle.

Life with two kids is still hectic with plenty of messes, whining, coughing, up all night with new teeth, and the usual kid stuff, but we are taking time to enjoy the changing seasons, exploring our new town and making new friends while keeping the old.  Watching my kids make this place home makes me pretty happy.  Sitting next to a crackling fire with the Christmas tree lit up, a leftover cranberry muffin, and both kids actually in bed early makes me pretty happy too.

Cranberry Muffins

Yield: 24

Ingredients

  • 3 c flour
  • 1 c oats
  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 1T baking powder
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/2 c maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 c orange juice
  • 4 T coconut oil, melted
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 c fresh cranberries
  • 1 c pecans, chopped

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, mix all dry ingredients with a whisk, add everything else and mix until blended (mix in half the nuts and save half for topping)
  2. Spray 24 muffin tins and evenly distribute batter with a portion scoop
  3. Bake at 350 for 22 minutes
https://www.sungrownkitchen.com/home-sweet-home-cranberry-muffins/

Home Sweet Home, and Cranberry Muffins
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