Friday, November 4, 2011


Below is a link to a recent newsletter from Maureen Campion the "Marriage Geek", it is a great reminder about what marriage is and the commitment that we each make to each other before witnesses about our intentions for the future.  Marriage is not something that any of us should enter into or leave casually, and sometimes we need to step back and remember what it was that made us say "I do" all those years before.  If you haven't done so in awhile or even if you just did, take a moment to tell your spouse, significant other, partner, etc. why you love them and what made you fall in love with them.  The words can be just as powerful for ourselves as they can be for our partner.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Quick and Easy Recipe Wednesday

Last night we were in charge of bringing the snack to our birthing class and the focus of our snack was whole grains.  I knew that I wanted to make a quinoa salad with cranberries and walnuts, so I searched the internet for a recipe that looked tasty and easy and here is what I ended up making.

Serves 6 as a starter or side dish or 4 as a main course
1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste
3/4 cup dried cranberries
1 cup frozen green beans or peas, thawed
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup sliced green onion (optional)
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1-2 cloves of garlic (to taste) minced
freshly ground pepper

1. Rinse the quinoa in several changes of water. Combine the 2 cups water and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a
medium saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to simmer, cover, and continue
cooking until all water is absorbed, about 20 minutes. Remove from the heat, uncover, and allow
to cool for 15 minutes.

2. In a medium bowl, combine the cooked quinoa, dried cranberries, green beans or peas, walnuts,
and green onion (if using) until well mixed.

3. In a small bowl, whisk the balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and garlic until well blended. Pour over the
quinoa mixture. Toss until well blended.

4. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before

I doubled the recipe and used frozen peas and orange flavored dried cranberries, and there was no need to add any salt or pepper. It was a huge hit!  I was hoping we would come home with some leftovers but it was devoured in no time.

Saturday, October 22, 2011


This post is just a little way for me to show the amazing awe, pride, and gratitude I have for my husband, Pete.

Yesterday we received the current issue of Architecture Minnesota magazine in the mail and we opened it to discover my husband's first published piece of work in architectural photography as an individual.  The work of the collaborative group he is a part (IDE[A]) of has been published in the magazine previously, but not his own individual work.

I am so proud of him and all that he has worked so hard to accomplish in the last two years as he has immersed himself in the world of architectural photography with the help of amazing colleagues and mentors.

A big thank you to everyone who has supported us on this journey and who continues to support us as we grow and evolve and continue to find out paths in life and our true calling that fuels the passion in our souls.

I would share a picture of Pete's first published piece of work, but he decided to take the magazine with him on his business trip this weekend.  I'll share that when he gets back!

Hope your weekend is off to a wonderful start!!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Egg Recall

My mom texted me this morning to let me know that Larry Schultz eggs have issued a voluntary recall on some of their products due to a salmonella outbreak.  Of course I didn't check my text messages until after I had already made myself 2 eggs (full of protein) for breakfast.  

I was a little nervous especially since pregnant women are supposed to only consume fully cooked eggs, and quite frankly I don't like me eggs fully cooked, so sometimes I cheat a little and eat my eggs the way I like them.  That's what I did this morning.  So I immediately made Pete check on the recall while I was driving him to school.  It appeared that our bulk eggs that we purchased at the coop were not included in the recall.

That wasn't enough for me though, I had to double check when I got home.  So I went to both coops websites that we have recently bought eggs from to check and see if the eggs they sell were included in the recall.  Turns out they are not.  Thank goodness!

Here are the statements from Mississippi Market:


Schultz Egg Recall

Larry Schultz Organic Farm has voluntarily issued a recall for some varieties of Schultz organic eggs. There have been 6 cases of salmonella poisoning in people who have reported eating Schultz eggs between August 12 and September 24. A piece of farm equipment in one of the barns on the Schultz farm did test positive for salmonella. While that equipment never comes into contact with any eggs, Larry Schultz is voluntarily recalling the lot codes of eggs that are produced in that facility.  We’ve worked with Larry Schultz for decades, and we know that he is doing everything necessary to correct this problem.
Please note that our bulk eggs and the eggs are deli uses are not affected by this recall (these are produced in a separate facility).  This issue was confined to only one part of the Schultz farm, so we will continue selling eggs from the facilities that remain safe, inspected and free of salmonella.
For the full report and a list of the lot codes of recalled eggs, visit the MN Department of Agriculture’s news release.
We’ve removed the recalled eggs from our shelves and welcome returns of any recalled cartons of eggs.
While we never want to see one of our local farmers affected by as issue such as this, we take comfort in knowing that Larry himself was on the phone with us as soon as possible to communicate this news directly.  Small scale farms are able to react quickly and their recalls are confined to relatively small areas- Just one of many reasons we love working with our local farms- even when something goes wrong.

Current Egg Recall 
Valley Natural Foods is in direct contact with Larry Schultz and is fully cooperating with the egg recall. The Schultz eggs currently on our shelves have not been impacted.

To avoid getting sick, consumers should thoroughly cook all eggs before eating. Consumers who believe they have purchased the recalled eggs are advised not to eat them, but return them.

The only eggs impacted at Valley Natural Foods were shipment of WHITE, BULK eggs.

Looks like I can continue to enjoy my Larry Schultz eggs, I'll just be sure to scramble them next time just to be safe!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Distructo Morgie

We came home from our childbirth class tonight (after leaving the dogs alone for 5 hours) to this...

Morgan's version of reading the New York Times

Guess she is just preparing us for the toddler stage!! 

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Only Miracle I Need

Today I was reminded twice before 10:30am about the importance of just being in and accepting the present.

The first time I was reminded was this morning as I opened the Sunday Times and read this article about a mother who has an 18 month old son who has Tay-Sachs.  The rules of parenting look different to her.  She talks about how parenting is always so forward/future focused.  I can attest to that just being pregnant and from my experience as a parent educator, we are always thinking about what we are doing today that will offer the most benefit for tomorrow.

But this mother lives with the knowledge that her son probably will not live past the age of three and that much of what parents worry about and plan for are not really relevant to her parenting.  In a way being able to be in the present with her son and not so future focused is a kind of gift.  For sure it is a lesson that we can all learn from, because all any of us really has is the present, the here and now.  I want to ask you, how can we enjoy the present if our minds are always consumed by the past or the future?  I would argue that we can't, at least not fully.

The second time I was reminded of the importance of being in and reveling in the present was at Unity Unitarian this morning during Janne Eller-Isaacs' sermon on miracles.  Janne talked about how love is the greatest, most powerful, and truthfully the only miracle she needs.  She talked about her son and his reality of living with melanoma, where the odds are stacked against him.  And while everyday she prays for a miracle cure, the true miracle is in fact his life, the present, who he is.  Out of Love came the miracle of his life.  Again all any of us really has is the present, the here and now.  We can fret about the past, worry about the future, but if we do only that, we risk losing sight of what is most important, most miraculous...the present moment we find ourselves in now.

Miracles abound everywhere around us, but it is only when we keep ourselves fully aware and embracing of the present that we are able to truly witness and acknowledge the miracles that abound everyday.  Albert Einstein said, “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”   Like Janne I believe the choice is ours to make and I want to live as if everything is a miracle, in the present, and filled to the brim with the only miracle I need: LOVE!

Friday, October 14, 2011

An Amusing Friday

Pete and I had an amusing day today!  After having an enjoyable breakfast at Pardon My French with my aunt we decided to take a quick gander at the mall for some skinny maternity jeans for me.  My current maternity bottoms wardrobe consists of one pair of black leggings and one pair of jeans.  With winter fast approaching I was hoping to find a reasonably priced pair of skinny jeans that I will be able to tuck into my boots.

Our first stop was Gap (we had looked their previously and the jeans didn't fit well, but it has been a couple months so I thought maybe things had changed), apparently the Gap Maternity Jeans are not designed for petite women who gain weight only where their baby is (i.e. not in the hips, butt, or thighs).  I ended up having so much extra fabric in the butt that I felt like I should be wearing a diaper.

Next stop was Motherhood Maternity.  I had never looked there before because the store is so uninviting, but I decided it was worth a shot.  I found 2 pairs of skinny jeans to try on, and they didn't look promising, but into the fitting room I went.  I started laughing the instant I put the jeans on, they were the most hideous jeans I have even put on my body, so hideous that I just had to show Pete exactly how bad a pair of jeans can make even the cutest of butts look.  So, I emerged from the fitting rooms and Pete broke out in an immediate giggle and just shook his head.  On to the next pair...even worse, the back pockets were literally on my hips and were so large that they covered an enormous amount of space on the back larger than my actual bottom. 

If you are a small/petite woman looking for maternity jeans I am sorry to say that the only place I have had any luck at is A Pea in the Pod, and with jeans around $200 a pop you aren't going to be buying an extensive wardrobe.  Here are two I tried on and loved at A Pea in the Pod:
Image source A Pea in the Pod
Image source A Pea in the Pod

Looks like I am going to be sticking with my Hudson maternity jeans that I purchased from A Pea in the Pod at the beginning of my pregnancy.  All of you will just have to get used to seeing me in either my Hudsons or my leggings (this is hard for a girl who used to own upwards of 20 pairs of jeans). 

If you see me out and about please tell me how fabulous my outfit is, because wearing the same three shirts I have in black, white, and gray and the same 2 pairs of pants is getting old.

Tonight I will be dreaming of starting my own maternity line with fashionable and affordable pieces showcased in a store that is light and inviting.  I really wish Hot Mama didn't decide to discontinue carrying maternity the instant I got pregnant, but ah well, such is life.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Autumn Harvest Dinner

Back on September 23rd we hosted our first annual Autumn Harvest Dinner to celebrate the changing seasons and to welcome fall.  We invited our family and friends to join us at our home for an evening of good food and even better company!

Over the next few weeks I will share some of the recipes that I made for the dinner as well as talk about our plans for next year's harvest dinner.  Yes!  We enjoyed doing it so much that we want to make it an annual tradition to celebrate the harvest, and hopefully our harvest will grow and evolve every year.

Autumn Harvest Dinner Menu


Beef or Turkey Harvest Chipotle Chili

Homemade Mac-N-Cheese

Squash Gratin

Crumb-top Apple Pie with Ice Cream

Pumpkin Spice Latte Cupcakes

Caramel Apples

The tomatos used to make the chili were fresh from our garden as was the butternut squash in the squash gratin.  The other ingredients were all organic and local whenever possible.  We enjoy nourishing ourselves and our friends and family with good, healthy, organic,  and local food! (apple pie is healthy right!?)

The only thing we asked our guests to bring (and only if they wanted to, of course) was a cloth diaper or cover in exchange for dinner.  If you are expecting a bundle of joy now or anytime in the future and are wanting to use cloth diapers hosting a diapers for dinner event is one way to let friends and family know of your choice and to get them involved from the beginning.  (I am still trying to warm my parents up to the idea of using cloth instead of disposables and I still have 4 more months to butter them up!  As of now they are willing to meet me half way with using the g diapers disposable/compostable/flushable inserts.)

Do you have any rituals that help you welcome or celebrate the changing seasons?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Quick and Easy Recipe Wednesday

It is a gray and dreary day here, perfect for cozying up with a good book and a steaming cup of peppermint tea.  If you need some inspiration for a quick dinner tonight look no further.  Each and every Wednesday I plan on sharing a quick and easy recipe with you that you can make that night.

So what is today's dinner?

Sautéed Apple, Shallots, and Brie Sandwich (Makes enough for 4 sandwiches)
Prep time: 5 min
Cook time: 10 min


  • 3 medium apples (whatever you have on hand, I used Honeycrisp in mine) - sliced thin
  • 2-3 shallots (or other sweet onion) - sliced thin
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 lb Brie cheese - sliced for sandwiches
  • 8 slices of bread (I used whole wheat, but use whatever you like or have on hand)
  • Butter for the bread

Slice apples and shallots.  Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil over medium heat in large fry pan.  Add apples and shallots and cook for about 5 minutes until soft and slightly golden in color.  Pour cooked apples and shallots into a bowl or onto a plate.

Butter the outside of your bread.  To prepare you sandwich, place bread butter side down and top with a few slices of brie layer on apple/shallot mixture and top with a few more slices of brie, place other slice of bread butter side up on top. Repeat with remaining sandwiches.

Over medium heat in the fry pan that you cooked the apples and shallots in, place your sandwiches (2 will probably fit at a time) and cook for about 2 minutes on a side until golden brown.

Slice sandwiches and serves with a side salad or your favorite soup. Enjoy!

Hope you find peace in today and always!

I'm going to leave you with an inspirational quote that was shared in my prenatal yoga class today:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
----from A Return to Love, by Marianne Williamson.

What does this quote mean to you?

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Squash Curry, Tea, and Surprises!

Last night I made squash curry for dinner and today as promised I am sharing the recipe with you.  I found a similar recipe in the Sunset Magazine October issue and adapted it to fit our needs.  Below is my version of the recipe.

Squash Curry 
(adapted from Sunset Magazine Oct 2011)

Prep time: 30 min 
Cook time: 25 min

1 red kuri squash (about 3 lbs) – Cubed 
1⁄2 tsp salt 
2 Tbsp olive oil 
2 yellow onions – halved and sliced 
1 anaheim pepper – minced 
1 tsp cumin 
1 tsp curry powder 
1⁄2 tsp ground coriander 
6 dried bay leaves 
1 cinnamon stick (2-3” long) 
1 can light coconut milk (14.5 oz) 
1 cup raw cashews 
1 Tbsp lemon juice

Heat 2 Tbsp of olive oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add cubed squash, sliced onions, and 1⁄2 tsp salt. Cook for 10-12 minutes.

Add minced pepper, cumin, curry, coriander, bay leaves, and cinnamon stick. Cook 2 minutes or until fragrant.

Add coconut milk. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 5-10 minutes. Stir in cashews and lemon juice. 

Serve over rice. 

© 2011 Under the Linden Tree

If you decide to try this recipe please leave a comment below letting me know how it turned out.  Also remember to start cooking the rice in your rice cooker or whatever other method you use to cook your rice as soon as you are done prepping the squash, onions, and pepper (otherwise the curry will be ready before your rice, and once you smell the delicious curry you aren't going to want to wait for your rice!).

Hope you all had an enjoyable Tuesday!

My day started out great with a long fall walk around our neighborhood with my husband and our dogs. I even picked up a giant Maple and Oak leaf from our walk.  I was going to share a photo of them with you, but our Border Collie Morgan got to them before I could.  So alas no photos, all I have are memories and shredded leaves!

I dropped Pete off at class and headed over to my favorite coffee shop while I waited for my late afternoon yoga session to start.  If you like Iced Tea and you live in the St.Paul area you have to check out Bread & Chocolate on Grand ave.  They have the best blackberry iced tea!!

When we arrived home there were a few surprises waiting for us on the front step!!

Haley Bonar's new limited edition LP Golder.  Look at the fun creative packaging from Graveface Records .  We not only got the album we ordered, but also a pixie stick, sticker, puzzle pieces, book page, and coloring sheet!!  We felt like little kids, and Pete even offered to share the pixie stick with me, but I politely declined.

The other surprise waiting were the invitations we had ordered from Minted for our upcoming baby shower that my mom, aunt, and mother-in-law are hosting for me.  Here's a sneak peak...

Tomorrow I will be sharing the first of my Wednesday Quick & Easy recipes.  If you are in a pinch to make a mid-week dinner I may just have your solution!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Monday Morning Ritual

Do you have a Monday ritual?

I do, well, at least most Mondays I do.  On Monday mornings I head up to Blooma in Edina for prenatal yoga.  It is the prefect start to the week and always restores and inspires me.  Yoga gives me a chance to just be with myself and the growing baby inside of me and to connect with my body, mind, and spirit.  In my yoga practice each day is different and what I need from my practice changes.  Today I needed some peace and inner tranquility.  We were asked to think of a mantra for our practice, one word that symbolized what we needed, and today it was tranquility.  Tomorrow it will be something else.

What is it that you need today?  What is your mantra?

After my Monday morning yoga I usually head over to the Linden Hills Co-op a block away to pick up groceries for dinner that night or a few things for the week.  Tonight I am making a squash curry and will be sharing the recipe and photos tomorrow.

Happy Monday everyone, hope you are able to find peace and tranquility today and always!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Autumn at the Lake

Even though it is October it didn't feel like a crisp autumn day today at the lake.  I was hoping to be able to capture some beautiful fall colors at the lake and to share with you why autumn is my favorite season, but with the dry and warm weather it seems that all the leaves were muted in color or had already fallen to the ground.  I did manage to capture a few red sumac leaves that were just barley hanging on...

Why do I love autumn?
I love the crisp fall air, the sound of leaves crunching beneath my feet, and the smell of fallen leaves.  But the reason why I love fall the most is that it reminds me that it is time to slow down, savor, and enjoy.  The autumnal transition from summer to winter can be short in Minnesota, so I savor every crisp, sunny morning and delight in the changes around me.  Autumn is a time to re-evaluate what is important and who we are and to spend the winter months further defining these things, to emerge in the spring in a way reborn, anew.

This year the autumn transition is especially significant for me as I find myself 21 weeks pregnant today!  So I am slowing down, re-evaluating, and will spend the first part of winter further defining what it means to be a mother, and when spring comes I will emerge not just a woman but also a mother, forever changed.

I managed to capture my own pregnant shadow today at the lake while my parents and aunt were busy working on the final seasonal projects before battening down the hatches for winter.
Pregnancy changes us  not only physically, but also mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.  From the day I found out I was going to be a mother my thinking, motivations, goals, and outlook have undergone changes and they continue and will continue to change as I further define the role of mother for myself.  Today I am enjoying the transitional period and just soaking up the final rays of autumn before winter sets in around us.
Our border collie Morgan enjoyed spending the day at the lake as well, playing with anyone who would throw the frisbee for her!

Hope you all had a lovely weekend!!  I'm looking forward to my Monday morning yoga class to start the week off refreshed and focused.

Saturday, October 8, 2011


Today marks my entrance into the world of blogging.  I have been wanting to start a blog for years now, but I never managed to find the time to do it.  That is all changing today and I am going to start blogging about the daily rhythms of our family life.

So what is this blog going to be about?

Well, first and foremost, it is a place for me to record my ideas and inspirations.  It is also a way for me to connect and share with family and friends, old, new, and yet to be found. 

So what ideas and inspirations will I be sharing with you?

  • Our transition towards parenthood
  • Recipes I am trying or have recently made
  • Information and conversation about pregnancy and birth (especially for the next 5 months)
  • Projects I am currently working on
  • Thoughts and ideas about family and child activities
  • Parenting topics and parent development
  • Child development topics
  • And anything else that is weighing heavily on my mind

So who am I?

Well, I am an educator by training and passion, my background is in child development and family education with an emphasis on parent education.  After completing my masters degree I worked as a parent educator in the Early Childhood Family Education program in our area.  But, when my husband and I decided to start a family of our own we made the collective decision that I would transition to being a homemaker.  So for the next 20 weeks or so I will be a housewife, and upon the birth of our first child in February I will morph into a stay-at-home mom.

I am passionate about holistic living, all things family, food, creating, and learning.

This blog is partly a way for me to not totally lose myself in motherhood, which I know tends to happen, and is a way for me to continue my professional and personal development as our family transitions and as I transition from being not just a woman but also a mother.  The transition to mother is already happening, and I am reminded of it as I type my first blog post and our baby moves inside me, reminding me that my journey has already begun.

Thanks for visiting and I hope to share more soon!