Valentine’s Day Dessert

My dear friend and Reiki Master, Libby Barnett put together a lavish birthday basket for my husband Lee, full of all things healthy including our favorite protein bars, organic jelly beans, almonds, coconut water and pomegranates!  It ended up being a gift to us all and the pomegranates inspired our new favorite dessert – Pomegranate seeds over vanilla ice cream!

Simple and delicious and the vibrant red makes it a perfect dessert for Valentine’s Day!

Andie and I disagreed about how to cut open the pomegranates.  She was a fan of the method recommended on this site www.thekitchn.com while I chose the immersion in water method recommended on this site www.simplyrecipes.com.  We’d love to know if you have a favorite way!

Perhaps the photographic evidence will help you decide which method you’d prefer!

Andie’s method.
My method.

Despite our disagreement about approach, we both agree that the result is delicious! I hope you get a chance to try it!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let us know if you do!

Any favorite Valentine’s Day recipes to share from your end? Tucker would be extremely grateful for something involving less fruit and more sugar and flour!

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Birds, Trees, and Memories

I just took our tree down this morning!  It was so beautiful and up until now, had barely lost a needle.  I felt like it was a special bonus for all the organizing I had done.

This year I’d purchased the tree from our favorite local farm stand.  “They’re all grown right here in New Hampshire,” the woman had said.  “Most of them big places cut ’em down in August, cover ’em in burlap and keep hosing down ’til December when they load ’em up on eighteen wheelers.”

Fa-la-la-la-la…

Walking among the trees I knew right away which one was meant to be ours.  How?   Birds were flitting in and out of the branches!  At first I worried there might be a nest, but I checked.  No, it was just a special tree.  Watching the birds, Uncle Remus’ song from Song of the South rang through my head.  Remember that one?

The best part of leaving the tree up for so long, was that after all the hustle and business of the holidays had settled down, I could truly enjoy the beauty and magic of having a real tree in our home.

Just a couple of days ago, I once again tugged on a few branches only to find  that the needles were still not falling off.  In that moment, I took pause and really noticed all the beautiful ornaments hanging from the evergreen branches.  I thought about the stories behind every one and decided to grab my camera and share a few of my favorites with you before I pack them away until next year.

A friend gave us this as an engagement gift. I love to give a big box of beautiful ornaments as a wedding gift.

A gift from my dear friend, Shandy. Seems a perfect expression of the simplicity I’m seeking. How do you always know, Shans?

One of the many ornaments from my classroom days. The Kindergarten boy who gave me this is now in his mid-20s!

Andie’s teeny-tiny preemie hat. We hung it on the tree the year she lived in the NICU and have every year since.

I love school-made ornaments. Is that the cutest picture ever or what?

Another one of Andie’s “at-home” haircuts!

My mother-in-law made this ornament out of two promotional postcards! What a treasure!

Cardinals always remind me of Gramp, who I dearly miss.

Angels always welcome!

So now our tree is back outside, just outside the kitchen window, where the birds can once again flit and flirt among its branches. And when the branches turn brown and no longer hold any needles, we’ll drag that tree into the woods where it can return to the soil from which it emerged.

Birdies Welcome!

What about you? Packed up from the holidays yet? Any favorite memories to share?

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A New Year

I just returned from a glorious snowshoe with my dear friend, Eleanor.

What a wonderful way to begin the New Year.

For days now I’ve been thinking about this coming year and what I hope it will bring.  I’m not one for making resolutions, but I do like setting intentions.  One thing I know for sure is that in 2013, I want to slow down.  I move pretty slowly to begin with, but with the release of my book and the introduction of so many new social media avenues, I’ve found myself far too scattered.  I hope that within the process of slowing down I’ll become more present in everything I do, whether it’s folding laundry, reading and responding to other people’s blogs, or preparing evening meals.  I hope to light more candles, listen to more music and invite time to languish and linger within the walls of our home.

And as you know, I hope to get organized.

And on that front I actually have some exciting news!  For the past week I have decluttered and decluttered and decluttered some more, tackling one book shelf and closet after another, and by golly, I think I’ve actually made some progress.

This photo shows what I’ve removed and will donate from our home so far.

And that huge jumbled mess you saw in my pre-Christmas photo?

It has been paired down to just this!

Can you believe it?  I can hardly believe it myself.  I know it really helped admitting to you that I was so deeply disorganized.  Saying it out loud seemed to set me free.  I also found another book that really helped.  Tammy Strobel, the author of You Can Buy Happiness (and It’s Cheap)is part of the tiny house movement and is pretty extreme in her own lifestyle choices, but her suggestions and recommendations in the book are incredibly wise and profound.  The tip that allowed me to remove two contractor bags full of clothes from my closet was the idea that we hold on to things simply because at some point we paid good money for them, and even though we’ll never wear, use or whatever them, we can’t let them go.  After reading that, I looked into my closet with a new set of eyes and began mercilessly purging everything I didn’t love, including several items that still had tags on them.  With the holiday decorations, for the first time ever, it occurred to me that I didn’t have to keep all those same decorations that every year I pull out, and every year I put away, even those that we don’t use.

So a huge thanks to you for being there for me. I hope to do the same for you.  And a special thanks to all those who commented on my blog post about getting organized. I wish I could choose you all, but the winners for the giveaway (chosen by www.random.org) are Andrea and Dawn.  Andrea, you won the book, It’s Hard to Make a Difference When You Can’t Find Your Keys by Marilyn Paul and Dawn, you won the glass storage set!  I hope you find these tools helpful on your organizational quest.  Please email me your addresses atprematurejourney@gmail.com and I’ll get those gifts in the mail.

I so look forward to spending time with all of you in the New Year and would love to hear from you!  Please leave a comment and let me know…

Do you make resolutions? Set intentions? Do you intend to? What are your hopes and dreams for 2013?

I’ll leave you with this afternoon’s view out my back door.

Happy New Year!

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