Hello? Hi! Is this thing on? It’s me. Melissa. I’m still here, over on the other side of the screen. I just haven’t been here, at my desk, pecking away at the old dirty keyboard like usual. I’ve been everywhere else—up and down the north shore and back again, to the doctors, to the vintage store, back to the doctors, to Target and Target and Target. I wish I could write that we’ve been living our best summer, tending to the tiny garden, relaxing and splashing, and going on summer adventures, but… Read more
When I take Hal to swimming lessons, Mr. Noah always asks, “What’s your favorite ice cream.” (He teaches them to swim by scooping ice cream through the water.) Hal always responds with, “Vanilla.” And Mr. Noah always waits, even after the vanilla proclamation, expecting a new ice cream flavor. A less, you know, vanilla flavor. No, not from this family. We love a good old-fashioned homemade vanilla ice cream. One that’s creamy and super scoopable straight out of the freezer with no trace of ice. That’s this recipe. Read more
I have a page permanently bookmarked in a book with a title more provocative than its contents, which are great by the way. The book is called Steal Like an Artist. And the bookmarked page is titled “The Life of a Project.” And on that page is a line graph with a point way up high called “This is the best idea ever.” Have you ever been there? (I’m always way up there.) The line steadily drops lower and lower into the “dark night of the soul.” They are to be expected yet always show up completely by surprise when working on a new project, especially something you’ve never done before. We are currently in one, a dark night. But one thing we know to be true in Minnesota—the dark days always get shorter and brighter and longer. In fact, light hangs in the sky this far north into the 10:00 hour. Read more
I can’t think about one thing, without thinking about everything. My brain is wired for systems, which makes things super efficient once a system is in place and ultra inefficient when not (which is most of life). So naturally, while designing The Minne Stuga, I’ve been thinking about a packable pancake mix that you can prep ahead of time so that you don’t have to lug a bag of flour in your suitcase. Naturally. Ha. Those two are not mutually exclusive in a normal brain. But alas, I don’t have one of those. So I give you a fluffy multigrain pancake mix that’s packable, cakey, filling, and so delicious. They’re best on vacation. Or at home. Or around the campfire. Read more
I haven’t been posting much lately, but I’ve been working like crazy, at a pace that’s not sustainable, into the night and on into the weekends. Designing a cabin and building a new tiny company (a cabin rental) sounds so simple and easy when you tuck it into a sentence like so. But it’s taken every last resource to pull off something like this during a pandemic, with a baby, school at home for most of that time, plus a postpartum mushy brain. I keep saying, “We did it, we’re doing it!” I even said it while talking to the bank last week. That was awkward. I’m not sure if I’m willing it to happen or looking for something to celebrate. Probably a little bit of both. So in the spirit of celebrating, I’d love to show you what I’ve been working on—the cabin interior mood boards. To read more about the what and the why of The Minne Stuga, head this way. (Note: I’ve often sounded like the antagonist in Thomas the Tank Engine, saying things like “I think I can’t.” It’s not all roses over here.) Read more
There are tick marks on the wall in our painted black bathroom made from chalked lines and scribbled dates, memorializing the passing of time and the changing of heights. We measured Hal on that wall, thinking it had been a while. It had. Three inches of growth, yet no mention of 2020 on the wall. Everything stopped last year, from the chalk lines to The Minne Stuga cabin, a special project that we announced almost exactly a year ago, a project we thought we were just about to begin. And then the pandemic hit. With job cutbacks at Kev’s work and a maternity leave for me, unpaid because I work for myself, we weren’t sure we were going to be able to pull off this little cedar-clad getaway, for you and for me. Read more
A pack of muffin liners and permanently lemon-laced taste buds and a can of baking powder later, I think I’ve finally perfected these healthyish lemon poppy seed muffins that take me back to Saturday mornings and oversized t-shirts and freckled noses and boxed muffin mix. Mini lemon poppy seed muffins were our favorite growing up. These aren’t so mini, but I’ve made sure they’re composed of all of my favorite parts of those muffins—tender yet dense, bright in flavor, good out of the oven, and even better the next day.
How do you know what to register for and what to skip on a minimalist baby registry? On our first go around the parenting sun, we registered as minimally as possible, skipping an infant car seat and huge jumper toys. But this time around, with two kids and more experience and fewer hands, we made different decisions. We also had a different experience, needing different things. Looking at the registry, I still gasp at all the items. These babies require stuff. Though, I know this time around that it’s only for a short season. Below are my favorite baby items that serve multiple purposes, grow with the baby, and, dare I say, look beautiful.