this year i hosted my first thanksgiving. as i sit here on my bed, eating left over sweet potato casserole with gooey mallows on top, i feel pretty good about how it all went. i was supposed to host thanksgiving two years ago, but our kitchen was being remodeled and then last year wolfgang was a brand new pup ... but this year it finally happened. at first, i must say i was completely overwhelmed ... i mean, how on earth do you cook a turkey for hours and all of your side dishes in the same oven? at the same time?! it seemed impossible. well, i managed and in fact, all of the food was ready to eat before most of our guests arrived. phew.

i made:

turkey with sage, orange peels, rosemary, butter and peppercorn
mashed potatoes
green beans with almonds
sweet potato casserole

i asked my parents to bring the corn because they grow their own and it is delicious. my mother n law brought the pies and my sister n law brought the rolls.

the night before, i sat on the couch, watched some TV and cut my potatoes and snipped green beans. i am so happy that i got that out of the way the night before. the day of i woke up at 6:00AM and we ate at noon. sigh. thanksgiving.

eleanor made wreaths for the door and napkin rings for the kid's table. she was thrilled to help and was hopping around the house singing songs and holding up her master pieces high in the air yelling, "isn't it beautiful, mama? what do you think?!" wolfgang crashed her creating party many, many times and i would see him walk as wobbly and fast as he could holding one of her crayons and she would be chasing after him. oh, i promise you ... it was as precious as it sounds.

anyway, now let's get to the sentimental, gushy stuff ... for this is my diary after all...

i woke up at 6:00AM like i said. it was still dark and everyone was sound asleep. everyone, but me. i didn't dread the sound of that alarm clock like i thought i would. i sat up immediately when i heard the ringing. it was almost as if it was my voice i heard. whispering, "let's be together" in my ear. "it's okay, they ARE fine." but of course, i still woke up arick and told him to make sure wolfgang didn't roll off the bed. i walked downstairs and left almost every light off. i wanted it to be dark. i wanted it to feel like i was the only thing around. i began to prepare food right away, but i have no recollection of it. i was lost in thought the whole time. thinking about nothing, really, but so much, too. you know what i mean? it felt good not to be interrupted. silence IS golden. i could almost hear myself think. standing in my dark kitchen, the aromas of sliced oranges and chopped herbs filling my nose that led right to the depths of my soul. it was everything. i didn't even need coffee. i was awake.

i heard the cries of wolfgang at 7:05AM. i walked upstairs, sat in bed and nursed my sweet boy. still in the dark, still in my thoughts ... listening to his snorty breaths and feeling his tiny hand play with my hair. i thought how thankful i am for this simple life of mine. thankful for the family that would be coming over. thankful that we can afford to feed everyone. thankful that we have the choice to have the lights on or off. thankful for our warm beds. thankful for my husband, for he is the reason for my happiness. thankful for my babies. oh, man. but what i felt most thankful for is that hour and five minutes i had to myself. that hour and five minutes alone in the dark being still and quiet. i guess i didn't know much i needed it, but i did. i really did.

i hope you all had a wonderful thanksgiving. do not forget to be thankful for YOU and all the good YOU bring to the others you say you're thankful for. xo.


giving thanks in my kitchen

this morning as i sat down at the bar to enjoy cherry preserves on sourdough and a hot cup of orange spice tea, i began to look around and appreciate this life of mine. the sun was shining, wolfgang was crawling around at my feet and i could hear curious george in the background and a little eleanor bouncing up and down on the couch. we have a daddy who is out in the world working hard so that our bellies are fed, our bodies are clothed and sheltered from the cold. i thought to myself, "cherish today." let all of those annoying, worrying thoughts go and just be happy and thankful. we spend so much time in negative thought, don't we? 

i know i already did a tour of our kitchen, but here are some more photos because it is thanksiving time and i am grateful for this room. it is where i spend most of my days ... cooking for the people i love. what are you thankful for today? 

  meanwhile, on the floor ... a little wolfgang is having a moment.


joy // a milestone

 wolfgang started walking on his birthday. watching him waddle around and plop on his bottom over and over again has brought us so much joy. the first time he walked across the room it was like someone declared war was over. daddy, eleanor and i cheered and clapped and jumped up and down. nothing else in the world mattered. we were the only people on the planet. we had witnessed something so new and magical. wolfgang was ever so pleased with himself and loves the praise that comes with walking. he walks and grins, walks and grins. all. day. long. with this new milestone comes new explorations around our house. we cannot let this boy out of our sight! he is pulling plugs from sockets, climbing in the bathtub, playing in the toilet, taking trash out of the trashcan and putting toys in or trying to find a way to make it up the steps. it has been exhausting and i haven't been able to get much done around the house. today when he went down for his second nap i had a pile of laundry to put away, but instead i fell over on my bed. i exhaled and laid flat on my back. i looked around my room and let my mind wander. i thought about the holidays and preparing for thanksgiving and how i haven't purchased a single christmas gift yet. i thought about how awful i must look and how i do not have the energy to do anything about it. i thought about how much i miss my husband because he has been gone a lot lately. but mostly i just thought about laying there. soaking in that few minutes i could just exist and be still and quiet. after his cat nap he sat up and gave me this cheeky smile. gosh ... so much joy. so. much. joy.



happy birthday, wolfgang

this week has been spent celebrating our Wolfgang Kalman Mittler. he turned one year old on thursday, november 6. on his actual birthday we plopped him down in his crib filled with white balloons and put a party hat atop his blonde haired head.  sister led us in the happy birthday song right away. well, it turns out that we took our sweet boy by surprise, but not in a good way. he was terrified of those balloons and wanted out right away! at first, he wouldn't even go into his room out of fear the balloons were still in there, but by the end of the week he was chasing them around and giggling at the sight of them. thank, goodness.

today we had a little party for him. it was simple and sweet and full of love. my parents, brothers and nieces came, along with my grandparents. my husband's parents also came, along with his brother and brother's fiancee. we snacked on fresh bread with homemade butter, fancy cheese, olives, apple smoked sausage and fruit. we all sat around our dining room table drinking pot after pot of coffee while the kids ran about chasing balloons and playing with wolfgang's new blocks and wooden cars.

for wolfgang i made a simple white cake with a yellow candle on top. he was so darling as he watched sister blow out his candle and he immediately dove into his cake. i really do not think he ate much of it, he was having too much fun playing with it and rubbing it all over the high chair. for everyone else i made a lavender cake with vanilla bean frosting. i garnished the cakes with pine needles from our yard. i must admit, my favorite part of birthdays is trying a new cake recipe. you can find the recipe here. mine didn't turn out as pretty, but boy, oh boy it was delicious!

my favorite photo from the party is the one of him and my grandma. i will have it printed and cherish it always. my grandma actually made his trousers and bow tie. they were originally worn by my older brother many years ago.

i am feeling rather emotional about his first birthday. i know this is a normal thing for a mama, but honestly i did not expect it. once everyone left and i scooped up my boy, this overwhelming feeling of gratitude washed over me. like i felt so full of love for him and his sister and my husband that i could have collapsed. like it would all come pouring out of me and everyone could see what love looked like. literally. here is to our first year with wolfgang and looking forward to another year of watching him grow, keeping him close and holding him tight. happy birthday, beautiful boy.


a book review // Uni the Unicorn

every once in a while eleanor and i stumble upon a book we love. one that is so beautifully written and illustrated that we try to read it as many times as possible before returning it to the library the following week. as part of her home school curriculum, eleanor has to practice typing on the computer. i decided to begin a new series here that allows eleanor to express her love for a book while working on her typing skills and reading comprehension. what will happen is whenever we discover a children's book that we fall madly in love with, eleanor will type a short summary of why she loved it in her own words and also paint a picture or create something of her choosing about the story. i am hoping that in the future the books will be more gender neutral, although boys CAN love unicorns too. we had so much fun with this project today and hope you all enjoy it, too! also, have you stumbled upon any really great children's book lately? we would love if you shared in the comments. xo.

I like Uni the Unicorn because I love unicorns. The story was about a little girl and a unicorn dreaming to play with each other. Uni was pretty. She is white with sparkly eyes.
Love, Eleanor


make // pear butter

being a mother who has always pureed fruit and vegetables to make baby food, i figured making pear butter could not be too difficult ... really all ya need to do is add some sugar and spice to regular ole pureed pears. i was right! i started small since i have never made it before and didn't want to risk throwing away pears. i would have made homemade biscuits to go along with it, but i had to get my girl to ballet and did not have time! but you better believe i will soon ... pair it with a hot tea or coffee and it will make a wonderful breakfast. i suggest making this butter while the babies are sleeping or occupied. turn on your favorite tunes and get to it!

you will need:

about twelve small pears or about eight large pears.

1 tsp cinnamon and a little extra set aside for sprinkling

 1/2 tsp ground ginger

2 pinches of nutmeg

1 pinch of ground cloves

1/4 tsp salt (i used 2 grinds of sea salt)

1/4 tsp pumpkin spice

3 tablespoons of your favorite honey (i used orange blossom)

juice from half of a lemon

step one: gather some pears from a pear tree (mine are from my father's tree) if you do not have access to a tree, get some from the grocery store. i used twelve pears. if you are using store bought, you may not need as many for they are much larger.

step two: peel and core your pears and cut them into small cubes.

step three: steam pears until soft. about fifteen minutes. stir on occasion. while pears are steaming, cut a lemon in half and give it a good squeeze over the pears. if you do not have a steaming basket, boiling the pears will also work. if this is the case, squeeze lemon juice on pears after done cooking and water is drained.

step three: throw the pears in the food processor. add spices and honey. puree until it reaches your desired consistency. i prefer my butter smooth, while others prefer chunky.

step four: pour your butter into two small ball jars. sprinkle cinnamon on top and give it a gentle stir. since i only made enough for two small jars, i did not seal the lids. if you wish to double or triple this recipe and want to store the pear butter in the cupboard for a long period of time, you will need to seal the lids.

i hope you enjoy this recipe! i will definitely be making more for it makes the sweetest homemade gift and the holiday season is right around the corner! xo