Kev always says this to me. “What is now, will not always be, Mel.” “But Kev, I’m serious,” I say, “I’m never moving from this house.” I hate it when he says it. It’s like he knows me better than I know myself, like he sees something I can’t see yet. It’s like he’s trying the shake the unsteady ground I built for myself with a pile of permanent claims that might not be so permanent. The longer I’ve lived with Kev, the more space I’ve given myself to be unsure about it, sometimes, about it all. Read more
He puts his roots down in the dirt and calls it home, starting out short and nubby and ending up long and curvy, nutrient-rich and sweet. She scoops out hunks of the dirt, handfuls of sand, and calls it fun, with fingernails and fingertips as confirmation. She makes park pies from carefully picked weeds, fallen leaves, a sprinkle of grass, and a handful of dirt, stirred together with a short stick. The dirt for the long skinny carrot, well, I’d like that dirt to be organic, I decided after having Hal. The dirt and the fields and the parks Hal plays in, well, I never really thought about it until last summer while visiting Stonyfield, makers of our favorite plain whole milk yogurt. You can read more about that trip here, the trip that convinced me to cancel our synthetic fertilizer for our small patch of grass. Read more
The last couple of years, we’ve gotten by with pumpkins for fall decorations and an annual leaf wreath, too. At the age of six, with ideas growing as tall as her height, Hal wanted to take our decorations closer to spooktacular. Her word, not mine. “Spooky like bats, Mom.” Thank goodness the bats are out on Instagram. I knew just what to do— make fall fireplace bats. Read more
I got the dreaded letter in the mail but deferred for 6 months because Hal was in preschool. And, like clockwork, as promised, the dreaded parcel came again, 6 months later. Jury duty. Duty. My duty, despite needing to be available to get Hal on the bus in the morning and off in the afternoon. Despite being self-employed with previously scheduled deadlines. Despite, despite, despite. So, I made muffins outta jury duty—wholesome make ahead banana coco carrot muffins made entirely from pantry staples, including Happy Egg Organic Free-Range Eggs™ to stock the freezer for breakfast this week. Because jury duty starts today. Read more
Ahh, it’s reveal day for Tara’s Pantry Makeover. I wish I could have captured the excitement in the air and the long exhale out we felt during this process. But maybe you can feel it by looking through the pictures? Pantry Peace. You can see everything at once, retrieve something easily, and put it back without having to dig or think. We’ve handled Tara’s pantry, so she has the bandwidth to handle the bigger, more uncontrollable parts of life. It’s one of the best gifts you can give yourself, in my opinion. And all the people said amen. Amen. To Tara, thank you for having me in your home and being willing to share it here.
There’s nothing quite as intimate as opening your pantry doors to a group of strangers on the internet. When I first shared the before of mine a couple of years ago, I would have preferred to open my underwear drawer instead. Today, another brave soul is opening wide her pantry doors to the internet. I’d like to introduce you to Tara and her pantry. It’s a very familiar pantry to me, a whole lot like the one I grew up with and the one I created as an adult. Most of us think the pantry is a problem exclusive to our home. Well, maybe we shouldn’t think too highly of ourselves; it’s a pretty universal problem. Pantry items look great on the shelf at the grocery store and not so great at home. It’s to be expected. It’s also to be expected that the little cardboard flap on the top of the box won’t keep your items as fresh as promised after opening. So we say, “Why bother?” This is a mindset that carries over to the pantry. It’s a beast too crazy to control. Or maybe it’s not? Read more
We’re back to the rhythm of the school year, a rhythm I’ve come to crave. We really let things go this summer—from cleaning to meal planning to using a calendar. I’m itchy to get things back into normal working order, mostly so life works. Maybe you’re rowing down the same stream? If so, it may be a good time to take a look at the pantry, whether you need a little tidying up or some major help. My mantra: Handle the things within your control so you have the bandwidth for the rest. Let’s handle the pantry. Over the next two weeks, I’m focusing specfically on the pantry, answering some great common questions that came out of The Minimalist Kitchen Course earlier this year. First up (today)—how to add a pantry to your kitchen without a remodel. Next—how to make an organizational plan for your pantry, working with a real-life pantry. Finally—a real-life pantry makeover and reveal. Read more