a week

DSC_2385This little space on the internet has been lonely lately. I know. The thing is, it’s hotter then hades outside which means it’s even hotter inside. Every year I scold myself for being a typical Seattleite and declining the AC option when we built our house. Around here you generally deal with about five unbearable days a year then it’s over, you lived and your house returns to it’s standard perfectly perfect 68ish degrees. So far this year, it’s been over 90 more days then I can remember most summers having total and although I adore the heat, I have also been declining the option of sitting in front of a computer roasting. (excuses, I know…just bear with me)

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So, to catch up…..last weekend we spent four days on a little cross-Washington road trip. We took off for Walla Walla for a friends wedding, made an overnight stop in Yakima  and drove for what seemed like days even though it was only about four and a half hours each way. We survived the car ride in one piece and Ky was such a good sport letting me play tourist at some fun stops like the run down convenience store above. The only rough patch was on the way home where I was sick combined with the effects of maybe a little too much wedding fun (oops). We had to make a few stops for mama to pull it together but home we came to enjoy the last week bouncing from park to park and beach to beach trying to stay cool. Summa’….I love you!

DSC_2378And another thing, you know the whole not having AC in the house thing…I’m totally not complaining. We decided a few months ago that it’s time for us to sell our home and move on to a community with an easier commute for Ky. This is the summer we move and make our way to our perfect preschool land, the place where we can walk to dinners out and a lifestyle that involves less car and more time together. So, I called up my BFF, an exceptional realtor, and forward motion started. They came and photographed our house, we decided on an asking price and all was well. Then, I left to the store on Wednesday and the sale sign appeared in my front lawn while I was gone. You know, the ominous white post, flyers showing every nook and cranny of the house you made a home and a stupid little banner teasing you with each sway it takes in the wind.

I immediately freaked.

insert photo of sign here. i have one all ready but I can’t actually post it because I just don’t want to look at it. you know what it looks like. 

You guys, I just could not stop crying. I came inside, tried reading M a book and gulped and gasped so much I had to put it down. I sat on the sofa in sorrow for M’s entire nap. I have no idea what is wrong is with me but I was paralyzed by the thought of selling this house. Anyway, I was such a crazy that we postponed putting the house on the market until next week when hopefully I can suck it up and not act like such a weeping fool.

It’s time to move forward towards a smaller home with a better lifestlye for the Lipe family.

 

Enjoy! Melissa

clean produce

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A few weeks ago, I went to visit my aunt in Arizona. I had no idea that she was in fact the Martha Stewart of summer entertaining. Over the course of a weekend, I learned so much from her about sharing your home with a group of people. First was that she had classy plastic utensils for everything. Wine glasses, plates, beer glasses….all plastic. No broken glass and easy clean up. Smart move. The second has changed the way I prep for my own family to eat over the course of the summer.

After a trip to the store, she took all the produce out, threw it into a bowl, washed it with produce wash then did the prep for eating (cut the strawberries, watermelon, etc) and put the produce in tupperware to grab at will from the fridge. Why have I never thought of this? Since then, I’ve been prepping all of our produce as soon as I get home from the store and we have been wasting less. The ease of grabbing it ready to eat means we reach for it more often.

The other thing I took in from all this was the way she washed her fruits and vegetables. I’ve always rinsed my produce in water before I ate anything but produce wash was new to  me. I was skeptable until she rinsed her strawberries then threw them in produce wash. Even after they had been rinsed off, the bowl had a layer of dirt on the bottom at the end of the soak session. I was so sick that I had been eating this and feeding it to my family. Makes total sense. It’s been in the ground, handled by who knows how many hands then placed in the store for you to go after. Anyway, I was totally convinced and have been using produce wash since. I also bought several bottles for friends and handed them out like candy.

It’s the easiest thing. Rinse your produce, add a squirt (or one tbs) of  wash to a bowl, drop in your produce, fill with water. Let it soak for about 2 minutes then give it another good rinse.

Try it!

 

Enjoy! Melissa

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26/52 || lessons from the garden

DSC_2319“M, once a week, every week, in 2014″

Finally! We are seeing some fruits of our labor (hehe!) in our backyard. The vegetable garden  is growing nicely but our potted strawberry plant is the real champ so far. Every year the garden is real labor of love. We don’t expect much out of it but we faithfully weed and water daily hoping that the five little plants we placed in the ground produce something. That’s why it’s SO EXCITING to walk out each morning and find there is a small tidbit you can dig your teeth into. M has been very good about waiting until each berry is ‘wed’ before plucking it off the branches and eating it. It’s a slow process, one little berry at a time but it’s been so gratifying for both her and I to be able to check our plant each day and see the tiny red fruit ready to become our afternoon treat. This one little pot has become such a good teacher in patience and tenderness.

I’m just thrilled!

Enjoy! Melissa

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eating portland

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Last weekend, we set out on a 24 hour journey to Portland. Our friends Bryan and Natalie moved to SouthWest Portland about a month ago and we were anxious to be their first visitors. We took off on Saturday at M’s nap time hoping for a quiet trip down I5 and walked in their front door almost exactly 3 hours later.

Let’s talk about Portland for a minute. EVERY stereotype you have heard about it is true. When I traveled for work, people used to snarl at what a liberal city Seattle was. It never failed that they would mention our tendency to be green. We recycle (like that’s bad? working on the environment here people) and they always ALWAYS commented on the rain. The thing is, if you think Seattle is too liberal, maybe NEVER go to Portland. It’s a city after my heart in some ways. It’s fairly small for a major city so a car is almost unnecessary (we got in ours once all weekend), the Willamette River runs right through the city making it easy to watch boats, wet suit sporting swimmers and we even saw a submarine , plus, it’s almost crazy relaxed. Oh, and they have good donuts.

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DSC_2312 DSC_2303DSC_2300We walked and ate our way through this town. In one short trip, we had Voodoo Doughnuts, Salt and Straw Ice Cream  and one of my favorite coffee’s ever, Stumptown. I got a small feeling for what I would be like as a New Yorker…fat. Each step I took was almost an excuse to eat more junk food. Plus, once you were already standing in front of the hour long line for donuts, it seemed like no big deal to jump right in. Never can I live in a walkable city. Apparently, I would eat my way through it.

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Enjoy!

trust || guest post by Linda Emma

Linda

Today is an exciting first for Pretty Wednesday. A true blue print author is guest posting for us today! Needless to say, I am thrilled! Linda Emma is a mom of two twenty-somethings, lives in Boston, wrote an amazing novel ,works at Endicott College as a teacher/tutor and is a Content Creator for Effective Student Marketing at an agency. (Did you get all that?) She brings a little of her school experience as well as her own kids to her blog kidssuck.net. A blog with a funny title and some seriously thought provoking content. When I asked her to guest post for us, I left the topic up to her. I knew that anything she came up with would be better without my nosing around in it and, sure enough, her article on trust has had me thinking for days about the best lessons for my M. Can’t wait to hear what you guys think. Thanks Linda!

 

We are wired for trust.

Out of the womb and into the world, as a species, we possess a dearth of protective instincts. Anyone who’s ever seen a startled infant flail his arms and legs has to get that humans are ill-equipped to make it long-term on their own. The Moro Reflex hearkens back to an evolutionary day of falling primates desperately grasping to illusive clutches of fur. But its modern day display makes it pretty clear that babies truly believe that someone will be there to catch them if they fall.

Fast-forward to 21st century maternal instincts and those Neanderthal kiddos couldn’t have gotten it more right. As a protective breed, modern day moms are even better (or worse) than their forebears. They don’t just protect defenseless babies; they follow those babies through developmental stages much further than any of the predecessors. Moms are catching falling children when they stumble in grade school, high school, and even college.

And their kids trust them to do so, to be there, to take care of things, to clean up after them.

Too bad it isn’t made crystal clear to those kids, though, that not everyone is in their corner like mom and dad. That trust isn’t necessarily the natural order of things out in the big bad world and that it may need to be earned and deserved. That flailing about waiting for someone to catch them is a pretty wrong way to wade through life.

After one of my students felt betrayed by her friends, she told me, “I don’t trust anyone.”

An extreme response.

She had been lucky to find a college group where she fit in. It guaranteed her a lot of fun nights and gave her a sense of security wherever she roamed on campus. After the mind-changing incident, though, she reconsidered whom she should call friend. I also suggested that such a large circle of “friends” might be unsustainable.

She came to believe that never again trusting anyone wasn’t the way to go, but a measure of caution might be a good idea.

Ah, lessons learned.

Michael isn’t as quick to trust as his sister is. He’s also more likely to cut someone off when he feels he’s been betrayed. He doesn’t forgive easily. Or perhaps, he’s like his grandmother who claims she’s willing to forgive, but never forgets. Hmmm.

Michael and I have been dissecting the nature of trust recently. He’s young to be in business for himself, young to be learning some of the harsh lessons to which he’s recently been exposed. He’s trying to decide whom to trust and who may—or may not—deserve a second chance. For now, he seems willing to align himself with “partners” while looking to a future as independent contractor. No surprise. Even in preschool, Michael was a bit of an independent contractor.

My kiddos from college, though, aren’t necessarily set up for such independence. Some of them have gotten used to sturdy safety nets stretched below them and have become adept cliff jumpers. It’s hard to blame their behavior; past evidence supports their death-defying exploits. Someone has always been there, able to catch them just before they hit rock-bottom.

The thing is, I want my students to take chances, to believe, to trust –in others, but especially in themselves. I also want them to know, however, that flailing about with open arms into a plummeting abyss is no way to start their lives, and certainly could be one that ends it.

Trust can be ephemeral. It shouldn’t be. But too often, it is.

I don’t (usually) ask my students to trust me. Like my son, I believe trust needs to be deserved and earned. But if I were to posit an unearned entreaty to my students, I would plead, trust me: you need to be careful about whom you trust.

 

Enjoy!

25/52

DSC_2312“M, once a week, every week, in 2014″

M: Personality spills from every bone in her body. She can turn ordinary sidewalk items into a extraordinary playlands. Here, she ran through every rung on a bicycle rack and thought each was amazing as the last.

This trip picture was taken on our weekend adventure to Portland. More on that later because somehow that city just gets me. Have you heard anything about it or watched Portlandia? If so, it’s ALL true!

Enjoy! Melissa

wine weekend

10452693_10101346207725993_1887839498_oLast Saturday, 5 girlfriends and I headed to Yakima to visit one of my very best friends who calls Washington wine country home. Lets just say that when you put sunshine, girlfriends and wine tasting together, your cheeks will hurt from laughter for about the next week. The wine is a good plus for me on these trips but the best part is getting to catch up with my friends. As the years roll on (helloooo 30, you are staring me right in the face), marriages, kids and jobs have lessened the time we get to spend with each other. As they should really. It would be strange if I still lived on Greek Row rooming with my friends, and drinking from fish bowl sized containers we shamefully called cups. But, no matter how normal, it’s still so surreal to watch our lives branch out and take on new meaning. In the midst of all that, it’s refreshing to take a break and listen to each other, talk about silly things and maybe a few important topics and just laugh. We don’t take these trips nearly often enough but when we do I feel just a tad younger, energized  and, well, ill from the wine.

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I think that’s all I’ll share about girls weekend here. They call Yakima, ‘Yaka-Vegas’. It’s a joke really but we’ll just stick to the good ol’ Vegas montra. What happens in (Yaka-) Vegas, stays in (Yaka-) Vegas!

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Happy Friday and Enjoy!

vegan chocolate mousse

DSC_2217I can not tell you how excited I am that Lauren from sofreshNsogreen is guest posting for us today. In my house we eat meat but the photos that Lauren posts almost convince me to change my ways. I follow her blog as well as her Instagram and want to practically eat my phone every time a picture pops up. The bonus is that they don’t only look pretty, they are in fact amazing. So, I reached out to her and asked if she could come up with something that my M would eat as well. Let me tell you….she nailed it! I made this vegan chocolate mousse for a picnic about a week ago and have already made it twice since. Thanks Lauren!

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I’m Lauren, the vegan blogger of sofreshNsogreen and I make it my mission to come up with nutritious, plant-based recipes for my friends and followers that are anything but basic and boring. I think it’s important for people to realize that eating healthily can actually be super easy and super delicious, it just takes a bit of knowledge, preparation and some key go-to recipes in your arsenal….and this treat I whipped up for you would definitely be one of them.

Now I’m not gonna lie, when Melissa asked me to come up with a plant-based recipe that was not only delish by my standards but by her two-year-old daughter’s as well, I was honored but also intimidated. I’m not a parent (unless you count a dog parent?) and while I know quite a bit about food and an experienced palate, I know very little about the taste buds of a toddler. I racked my brain and my recipe book thinking of what a little one might like, and I finally came to the conclusion (which could totally be wrong) that every child has to like chocolate right?

Well by M’s standards I am, as Melissa relayed to me that M devoured the chocolate mousse recipe I decided upon (hallelujah)! So this recipe is now officially child-approved and MLB (that would be my meat-lovin’ boyfriend) approved, and I can certainly vouch for it’s awesomeness (I eat it at least once a week). It’s so awesome that it’s almost easy to forget how good it actually is for you too. Let me remind you-

1. It contains cacao powder, which is the darkest of dark chocolate, meaning it’s rich in flavor (so that a little goes a long way) and it’s also a top source of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals (the high levels have been shown to reduce your risk of cancer and amount of free radicals in the body).It’s also a much better alternative to conventional over-processed cocoa powder which usually contains sugar, fillers and have little to no nutritional value. I like Navitas Naturals, which you can find at most health food stores.

2. Helllllllooooooo avocado. I’m pretty much addicted to these babies as they have a way to enhance almost any recipe with their creamy texture and delish taste (i.e. this recipe). Affectionately dubbed the alphabet fruit (because of all the vitamins it contains) one avocado provides your body with vitamins A, C, E, K and B6, along with an enormous amount of potassium and “healthy” fat (omega-3, the good kind that prevents against heart disease). They provide all 18 essential amino acids necessary for the body to form a complete protein (crucial for vegans) and help improve your absorption of nutrients when combined with other foods. Last but not least they help to reduce signs of aging, regulate blood sugar and improve eye health.

3. Unlike traditional mousses, you won’t find an ounce of dairy in this dish (which is difficult to digest and highly acidic, causing inflammation and potentially leading to wrinkles and breakouts). Instead it contains coconut milk which is completely dairy-free and rich in fiber, vitamins and minerals. Coconut milk is also high in lauric acid, which helps to destroy viruses and diseases and plays a fundamental role in building your body’s immune system, which is essential to help your kiddos ward off those pesky germs that can run rampant at daycare and on the playground.

Now I could probably go on and on about this mousse (like about how there’s no white sugar in this recipe and only natural sweeteners to enhance the taste and texture like dates) but instead I’ll let you get to it and see for yourself.

Oh yeah, and for more delicious & nutritious recipes, please check me out on sofreshNsogreen.com. Thanks lovelies and of course Pretty Wednesday for having me!

Ingredients

Serves 2

1 cup coconut milk, full fat from the can

1 small avocado,  ripe

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

sprinkle of sea salt

1 tbsp maple syrup

5 tbsp cacao

8 dates, chopped, pitted and soaked for 30 minutes in warm water

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1. Combine coconut milk and chopped dates in blender and blend. Then add additional ingredients and mix until well-combined.

2. Pour mixture into ramekins or small bowls and top with sea salt. Refrigerate for 4 hours or freeze for at least one hour.

 

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Enjoy!

small gift packaging

DSC_2255It seems like the season of summer, dinners and fabulously long days has hit. (Not to talk about the weather again but really, the weather…..) The truth is, it hasn’t been that nice here the past week or so. It’s rained a little, poured a little and we’ve had ‘sun breaks’ here and there. Doesn’t seem to have stopped us pacific north-westerners from wearing skirts with rain boots and celebrating that bbq season has arrived (everywhere else) though. I always like to bring a hostess gift when someone is gracious enough to have us but it can start to add up quickly so my trusty go-to gift this summer is stationary. It’s been a hit so far and I’ve enjoyed dressing up some small packaging to bring to the hostess. I love a small but easy present. Thought you might too!

DSC_2243All you need is a scrap piece of fabric, a gift tag, scissors and twine.

DSC_2260 DSC_2263 DSC_2266 DSC_2267Start by laying your gift tag on top of your scrap fabric. Then cut around it making your fabric piece as wide or as thin as you would like. After, I cut the bottom of my fabric into a flag shape and rounded the top but you can shape your fabric however you please. Then, make sure to cut a small slit in the top center of the fabric.

DSC_2273 DSC_2277Next, I wound my twine around the gift bag three times and put the strings through the hole I cut in the fabric. Next put both strings over the top of the gift tag and back through the fabric. Tie it off under the fabric piece.

DSC_2280 DSC_2291I like this idea for small gifts, favor bags or even to fancy up a snack bag. It’s so easy!

 

Enjoy! Melissa

Gift Tags, hi Cards and Bakers Twine can be found in the Pretty Wednesday Etsy Shop.

 

prints & pops 3 || be great

todogreat.jpg“To do great right do a little wrong.” I mean, who can’t relate to this? Hanging this made me feel a bit mischievous and I have a little laugh every time I pass by it. For me, it’s a tiny truth in the world of parenting. Just a little reminder that even if everything isn’t exactly ‘by the book’, it’s ok.

Maybe it speaks to something different for you? I would love to hear what that is. Work? Family? Not getting regular oil changes on your car? (you rebel you!)

 

Click HERE to download this print for free.

Enjoy! Melissa