Thursday, December 19, 2013

On becoming an Auntie~

I was 16 when I became an Aunt.  My sister and I were not getting along.  Quite frankly, I was judging my sister on becoming a mother at a young age and, looking back I think I was  jealous of all the attention she was getting through her pregnancy and the baby on the way.  The baby was due on Christmas eve.

  My sister went into labor a week early and on Dec. 19th Holly Marie was born.  I did not go to the Hospital, I avoided the topic and went along with normal Christmas activities.  On Christmas eve I was visiting my other sister in Missoula when a Christmas song came on the radio…It hit me so hard I cried uncontrollably…it was a song about the innocent, the pure,  A song about forgiveness and respect and above all…a song about love.  I knew at that moment that I needed to open my heart to what I was missing out on.   I called my Grandmothers house and my sister answered and I said “ what does she look like, does she have hair?”.  Through my tears I told my sister I loved her, that I looked forward to seeing the baby.  The next day…Christmas Day, Dad and I drove back to Sandpoint and straight to my grandmothers.  I went into the house, and held for the first time…my Niece.  It was a long time before I put that baby down, so pink, so sweet and so perfect.

 My world changed when I became an Auntie.  I now had a forever friend , I had a little person to teach things to, to love unconditionally.   I sang to her the Song “Return to Pooh Corner” every chance I got, hoping that she knew that I would be a forever fixture in her life.  I vowed to be her “house at pooh corner”, always there, always welcoming and always true.

As the years have gone by It has not always been easy, we have fought over homework and manners.  We have argued on facts and friends.   But,  we have also cried with one another during the loss of loved ones.  We have laughed harder than humanly possible.  She has grown to be my friend that I can go on road trips with, share mascara with, visit with, have a latte and watch movies with.   I for one have enjoyed every second of it.

Holly brings with her a strange sense of calm.  In fact she was one of the few people I wanted next to me in the Hospital as I labored through having my son.  When she couldn’t be in the surgery room, she stayed as close as she could…just because I had mentioned how much I wanted her there. 

  Today My Holly Dolly turns 18, marking a milestone that has made me a bit sad to think about since the days when I would hold her little hand on a walk. Remembering her words, "Love you Auntie.  Best Friends. Forever.".

 I want to say here and now to my Sister, Errin “Thank You” for Her amazing Christmas gift 18 years ago…the gift of my title “Auntie”.  I love you and I love that sweet pink bundle that has become such an amazing young woman.  ~Jennifer

Monday, September 23, 2013

More than a recipe box...

On this first week of Fall I wanted to make a batch of Pumpkin bread.  My friend Shelley had printed a recipe for me years ago that I love.  As I flipped through my recipe box I couldn't help but laugh at myself.  Such a Hodge podg mess of folded up papers, scribbled notes and cut-outs of recipes.  Then I came across my no-bake cookie recipe, on a very worn piece of old envelope.
 Without knowing what hit me I had to sit for a moment as a wave of memories came over me.  …I was transported to the little kitchen in the desert that I had when I was a new bride and Nathan was serving in the Marine Corps.  I had called Grandma up on a Fall day, for this recipe.  I jotted it down on any old piece of paper I could find (a torn piece of envelope) and then went on to discuss other things, the weather at home, the changing color of the trees, the news on my niece Holly on her first year at school, the ladies at St. Joseph’s... home stuff.   As we spoke I doodled on that piece of paper…simple things like hearts and pumpkins, and my signature with my newly attained last name.  I put in my recipe box for safe keeping…

As the years have gone by I have had many recipes make it in there on their original scraps of paper.
The biscuits and gravy recipe my mom gave me.  I jotted it down on a sticky note for Nathan’s welcome home breakfast.
Then there is the cardboard cut-out of Oatmeal raisin cookies.   I needed to make a batch to send to my 90 year old snowbird friend Bill, he was wintering in Arizona and I wanted to send a care package of his favorite cookie.  I looked high and low for an old fashioned recipe that was so simple and basic.  After trying 3 different ones from cookbooks and online, I saw this on the back of the oatmeal box.  He said it was just like his wife Barb used to make, So I had to save it.

The Risotto recipe from My cousin Mary.  This one is incredibly special, it was from my trip to New York after we had lost my Cousin Kelly.  Mary was in a difficult place, having just lost her daughter.  This was a time of ache and mending.  One night Mary decided that we “needed this comfort food”, as she cooked and stirred the rice we talked about wonderful things, memories of Kelly and the food she liked, meals shared, and for a moment the world was a bit better, we drank wine and added a little more to the risotto with every story shared.  As the evening went on I documented what she was doing so I could recreate this meal when I got home.  To this day it has not… and (probably never will) tasted as amazing and as perfect as it did that October night, made with such heart…but to this day It remains a recipe that I bring out to heal the soul.

Each one of these, and many more Are folded up time and again and stuffed into my little recipe box, on their original paper, with splatter stains from so many meals cooked.
Whenever I pull out a recipe, I bring with it so much more, it is with this I bring the friend, the relative, the cook… the memory with me.
So as modern technology creates devises to put these things on our phones or The craft store creates ideal cards for transferring recipes to beautiful and organized designer cards, I just can’t do it. 

So, I put Grandma’s No-bake cookie recipe back in it’s file.  I smile at the memory of that Fall day 12 years ago.  Grandma is gone now, Nathan and I celebrated our 12th Anniversary,  Holly is starting her last year of School, the leaves are beginning to change again…life goes on, but for a moment I was able to go back…because of a stained piece of scrap paper.

Truth is, I prefer my hodge podge, and all the folks that come along with.  Happy Fall, Happy Cooking.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Come along with me, on a trip to “Wild Goose Chase”.
I have always had it on my  to do list, you know the list…the one you add to and check on, planning for a day when you have some “me time”.  I sadly have had this one on my list since…I am embarrassed to say, 2005.
  Linda Anderson walked into my shop one day when I had an Antique Store in Spokane, WA.  I was only 26 years old and did not know much about the world of Antiques, All I knew was that  I loved old things and was hoping that others did too.  Linda was a kindred spirit right off the bat!  She loved all the kitschy things I collected,  she appreciated my passion for the 40’s tablecloths and vintage aprons.  We visited every time she came to the shop.  The connection I had with Linda stemmed from the fact that she lived in my beloved Selle Valley, just a hop, skip and a jump from my family’s land where I grew up.  As the years went on Linda became a vendor at Funky Junk.  I promised myself that I would make it to her place one day and see this wonderful creation she had made at her home called “The Wild Goose Chase!
Linda and her husband, George started “Wild Goose Chase” in 2003.  They were looking for a way to make a little income from their land.  Coupled with Linda’s Passion for old things and an abundance of old things from her Mother in Law, Linda went to work.
They turned the original residence, an old wooden building into the Country Kitchen and went from there.  They built new buildings as they went along, including the Garden Shed, filed with pots and racks and vintage Garden items.  They built the “Best Western”, an amazing building resembling an old western town building filled up with everything from Pendleton Blankets to cowboy boots to an array of vintage camp supplies (my favorite this time of year!)!
Linda’s Passion came from her Grandmother, who had a love for antiques herself.  Linda said that she decorated her first homes and apartments with items from thrift stores, and even as a young woman she would always  “find myself down a street where they sold old things, thrift stores we fun!”.
And she has done a wonderful job bringing together her old things in her little vintage "town" deep in the woods of the Selle Valley.
This Summer I finally made it out to Linda's, and knew right away it was like no other, so I decided to come back with my camera and capture it for all of you to see!
So, sit back and enjoy the visit.  If you ever want to visit Linda in person, just give her a call ( 208-263-1543 )and set up a time to come out!  As she said, the people she has met and the friends she has made have become the best part!  Also, Linda will be a returning vendor at this year’s Funky Junk Show!  Come say hi to her and see many of her wonderful treasures! 

It is a long and winding driveway to get there, but that makes it all the better!

Lovely Metal, arch made by Linda's friend David Rafferty.

Anyone need a wheel barrel?

A green wagon, makes me smile.

I think I know two gals that may have to flip a quarter for that Poka-dot thermos, Michele & Penny!

Zinnias, My favorite, the happiest of flowers!


The Pack River, winding through her front yard.

This lovely gate is one of three that have come home with me!

Words to live by, leaning by a sweet old tree.

A Happy Linda indeed!  Following HER heart!