Can you believe I was 24 years old before I ever tried asparagus?  I know, me either.  I don’t think it was on the most popular vegetable list at the grocery store in my hometown.  Because believe me, we ate lots of veggies at my house  growing up.  Asparagus just didn’t happen to be one of them.

I was visiting a friend and her new husband in Minneapolis when she made it as part of our dinner.  It was simply steamed with a bit of salt and pepper.  Delicious.  I couldn’t get over how I had missed out on such a tasty veggie. I’ve been finding all kinds of ways to make it ever since.

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A couple of years ago I had an unfortunate allergic reaction to some MSG in a bottle brand of ranch dressing.  It was a lesson in reading ingredient lists and why I now make my own dressings.  It was easy to put together good vinaigrettes, but I also wanted a ranch recipe for variety (and because my husband loves it).  It took awhile to find just the right one.  We had a few disasters and a couple that were…okay.  My boys weren’t really ranch fanatics, but I thought if I could get the right recipe they would like it for dipping their veggies and maybe, just maybe they would eat more veggies because of it.

Well, over the summer I finally found just the right one.  My boys refer to it as “The Best Ranch Dressing Ever” recipe.

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You never know when or where inspiration will strike.  For me, on Friday, it was the produce isle, bakery and the soft light in my kitchen.

What inspires you?  Feel free to share…I’d love to know.





Things that are homemade almost always taste better. I’ve always known this, but somewhere along the line, a few years ago, I forgot.  I was so overwhelmed with 3 small children (all 4 and under) that I shifted to survival mode.  That meant putting whatever was easy and affordable on our table.  Nutrition and taste fell to the wayside.  I see now it was the season of my life and sometimes you just have to do the best you can.  As the boys have gotten older and a bit easier I have had the time, energy and clarity to think more about what I feed them. Several health crisis of loved ones, almost 3 years ago, brought the issue of what we ate front and center.  I started looking for better ways to feed my family.  It took baby steps, but soon we had more fresh fruits and vegetables filling our produce bins.  We stopped eating meat and drinking dairy.  I noticed differences in how we felt and behaved….more energy, less irritability, improved allergies.

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Yesterday we celebrated Samuel’s 7th birthday.  He chose a robot theme and asked for a bike.  Happily, he got both.

We are in the midst of a garden project tackling a huge pile of dirt in our driveway.  Last night after the birthday feast and cupcakes we headed outside to continue our shoveling and dirt hauling.  Samuel and I were in charge of filling a wheel barrow with the dirt Bret was hauling to fill our raised beds.  As we worked away I said to him, “Sam, you can remember your 7th birthday as the day you shoveled dirt with your mom.”  He laughed and said, “Yea, Mom.  You should write that down somewhere.”

It got me thinking.  What will he remember of being 7?  I have memories of being seven and in first grade.  Aside from a few very vivid moments those memories are more impressions than anything else.  So, I decided to write here for Samuel my thoughts on what he looks like at 7.

Samuel at 7…

You are creative and love to build with your hands.  I am amazed at the inventions you come up with and how you can see something in your mind even before you build it.

You love math and ask me to quiz you on your facts, just to show me how well you know them.

Your favorite food is spaghetti.

Your favorite colors are red, black and white.

Every night you think of some way to negotiate “5 more minutes” before bedtime.

The freckles across your nose are spreading to your cheeks.  I love that.

You don’t like to tie your shoes.

You tell me you love me everyday and thank me for being your mom.

You love that for the first time ever you are “busy” going to both baseball and soccer.

Every morning for breakfast you eat oatmeal with pears, cinnamon and a little maple syrup.

When you talk about growing up you tell me not to worry, because you’ll always live with me.

You love playing baseball and soccer with your brothers and half the neighborhood everyday after school.

Yesterday, while we shoveled dirt, you told me it was your best birthday ever.



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