christmas tree adventure

We ventured out to the Uinta forest again this year to find ourselves a little Christmas tree. The ground was covered with just enough snow to make it really feel like Christmas, but not enough to get stuck while walking through the woods without snowshoes or skis (like previous years.) Right after we stopped to get our tree permit the snow started falling and it felt magical. We had planned on River napping during the drive but that did not happen, so our time spent searching was shorter than we had hoped. But, luckily, my sister in law found the perfect tree not too long after we pulled off the road. The appeal to eat snow is pretty strong for a two year old, so River's hands got cold fast. After we cut our tree down the snow started to really come down so we headed back to the van for our leftover turkey sandwiches and hot chocolate.

Once we got home (and after we put River down for a long awaited nap) we set up the tree and waited for him to wake up so he could place the star at the top. We spent the rest of the evening making hot chocolate and eating yummy cheeses and making new cocktails. This is the start of such a beautiful season and I am so excited to

"Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love."
Hamilton Wright Mabie

welcoming baby finn

Earlier this year we welcomed our little baby boy, Whitman Finn Wade, into the world. To merely say that our lives changed would be an understatement. Colby, River, (even Hank), and I were waiting anxiously to meet our babe and find out if it was a boy or a girl. When Colby told me the news as he entered into his arms all I could say was, "My sweet boy, my sweet baby boy..."
It's funny how you can paint a picture of the future in your mind and think you are headed for a certain path -- Colby and I were both convinced we were having a girl -- and then when that picture turns out to be different, you realize it was in your heart that way all along. I am excited beyond words to spend my life raising two beautiful, caring, strong, loving boys.

So, with that said, I'll leave you photos of the beginning of this new adventure...

If one feels the need of something grand, something infinite, something that makes one feel aware of God, one need not go far to find it. I think that I see something deeper, more infinite, more eternal than the ocean, in the expression of the eyes of a little baby when it wakes in the morning and coos or laughs because it sees the sun shining on its cradle.
  - Vincent van Gogh

The afternoon that we were able to introduce Finn to River will be one of the happiest days of my life. Finn presented River with a couple small gifts and River was able to give Finn his FiFi (a little giraffe lovey similar to his puppy). Their journey thus far has been challenging but awesome. River is learning what it means to be gentle and Finn is learning not to pull hair, but regardless they are on this adventure together and I am so excited to help them and watch them cultivate a relationship with each other.

Finn has been such a joy and every day I am reminded of the beautiful, breathtaking, heartbreaking, exhausting, and rewarding role that is motherhood.

Thank you to my friend Hannah for taking these beautiful photos.

playtime in the sink

I love being a mom. It has been such an amazing feeling to experience and I regret none of it. There are so many moments where all the stars align and we are all getting a long and everyone is behaving and happy. And then there are those moments when I am pulling out my hair, trying not well up with tears, and wondering how I'm going to make it through the rest of the day. Luckily, these moments are fewer and farther between. But, they do happen. And in those moments I am always scrambling to think of something fun for River to do to redirect him from whatever might be setting off his two year old emotions.

I try to think of one planned activity a day that we can do at home to take up a little time. Sometimes River isn't super interested in whatever I've planned and sometimes he is. This was one of the days where he was and I was stoked. After breakfast I did the dishes (so it was already destined to be a good day) and I walked passed the empty sink and thought to myself, "Hmmm, this might work..." I've made morning baths for River before so he could splash around and play and he enjoyed them but I had to go check on him every couple of minutes to make sure he was playing safely. So it didn't really create any time for me to accomplish things around the house. I decided to throw him in the sink because it was right in the middle of the kitchen and I could work at the table while he played. I brought in some of his favorite bath toys and left some of my pumping bottles in there and he loved filling them up with water and dumping them out again and again and again. I turned the sink on really low, let it fill up and we'd empty it every few minutes and start it over again.

These sweet, quiet moments are so special and I love finding activities that are calming and fun--for both of us.

oven-baked potatoes hasselbacken

I love potatoes. But, not just because I grew up in Idaho. (And, by the way, I don't think I've ever even seen a potato field.) When I was little mashed potatoes were my favorite thing. I remember my uncle making the best mashed potatoes for Thanksgiving every year. And for my birthday meal I always requested them. I also obviously love french fries, tater tots, and baked potatoes. There really isn't any question why I would love potatoes--they're so versatile. So many different uses and ways to prepare them--potato pancakes, hash browns, stews, the list goes on and on. I'm going to start sounding like this...

That's probably why I was so intrigued by this recipe I came across in the February issue of Food and Wine. Enter Potatoes Hasselbacken. Not only was this article on Scandinavian cooking super interesting and full of beautiful photos, but the recipes were really simple and looked delicious. Taco pie anyone? Yes, please. (made it. delicious.) I had never seen potatoes prepared this way and I loved the way they looked. They were super tasty and perfect with a little dollop of crème fraîche on top.

You're gonna need...

1 1/2 pounds small white potatoes, such as Yukon Golds, peeled
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
Kosher salt
2 tablespoons plain dry breadcrumbs

Oven-Baked Potatoes Hasselbacken

Preheat the oven to 425°. Using a sharp paring knife, slice each potato crosswise at 1/4-inch intervals, cutting straight down but not all the way through the potato. Transfer the potatoes to a large cast-iron skillet.

Add the butter to the skillet and set over moderate heat; as the butter melts, spoon it over the potatoes. Season the potatoes with salt and transfer to the oven. Roast for about 40 minutes, basting occasionally, until golden and tender. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs over the potatoes and roast for 10 minutes longer, until golden and crisp. Serve hot.

I added some crème fraîche on top with some chives from garden. Also, I didn't add the breadcrumbs because I forgot and didn't want to wait any longer to eat them...


upside down pear olive oil cake

A couple days ago my neighbor gave me a bag of pears. She said that they were ready to eat right now and she already had too many. Well, lucky me. I was thinking of what I could do with them -- besides just slicing them and eating them by themselves. I recently came across some recipes for pear grilled cheese, or pear pizza. They sounded good, but a little too heavy for these hot summer days.

Lately, I've noticed a lot of delicious olive oil cakes on the dessert menus at some of our favorite local restaurants. They're always delicious and I've been wanting to make one at home for awhile. So, I thought I'd kill two birds with one stone. I found this recipe here and added and took away a few ingredients. It turned out pretty delicious and was simple to make. So light, but rich, and the perfect amount of sweetness. Even Colby thought it was good. So good, in fact, that when I asked for a bite of his later (which he paired with some peach and goat cheese ice cream he made earlier this week...amazing) he almost said no. Almost.

Upside Down Pear Olive Oil Cake

You're gonna need...

2 pears, I used Bosc, cored and sliced
2 cups of flour
1 3/4 cups of brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons of salt
1/2 teaspoons of baking powder
1/2 teaspoons of baking soda
1 1/3 cups of olive oil
1 cup of milk
1/2 cup of heavy cream
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon of almond extract
1 tablespoon of lemon zest
2 tablespoon of lemon juice

Preheat your oven to 350.

Line a 10 inch spring form pan with parchment paper and then spray with non-stick spray. I cut out a large circle of parchment paper (about the size of the bottom of the pan) and used that. Evenly layer the sliced pears on the bottom of the pan.

Whisk together all of the dry ingredients in a medium bowl. In another bowl, whisk together all of the wet ingredients. Add the dry ingredients and whisk until combined.

Pour the batter into the pan over the pears. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Stick a toothpick or knife into the center and make sure it comes out clean.

Let the cake cool in the pan and then separate the cake from the side of the pan by inserting a knife and running it along the edge. Open the spring form pan and invert the cake onto a cooling rack or cake stand. Remove the bottom of the spring form pan and then peel the paper of the layer of pears.

Serve plain, with ice cream, or freshly whipped cream.

Recipe adapted from here.