Fleeting Moments

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img_6246img_6382img_6402img_6501img_6563img_6963img_7145img_7230img_7249-800x533img_7252-800x533I feel it–the summer season is beginning to fade. Masses of flowers are staying bloomed a bit longer, now that they aren’t so quickly baked in the sun. There’s a cool morning breeze that teases us, only making way to warm midday temps. The occasional wind gusts whip through and scatter petals all over like confetti. This is when I begin to beckon the sweater weather by baking everything with pumpkin and cloves and leaving an apple cider candle lit all day. This is when I eat entirely too much bread. And yes, I break a sweat waiting for a pie to finish baking. Completely worth it.

In spite of my baked-sweets Fall summoning, it comes in it’s own slow-as-molasses timing. As soon as it’s here, it’s gone. The seemingly shortest, most beautiful season. As soon as it passes I feel like I spend the whole year waiting for next fall.  Here in the Southwest, I feel like the Dog Days of Summer last soooo much longer than in other regions.

Though the trees have yet to turn golden, I’ll take my time and enjoy the rest of what the warm sunshine has to offer in this last week of summer–no matter that it feels like an eternity. Besides, as the seasons grow and change, so do my kids. And I’d be okay if that would slow down.

Here’s a few things we’ve been working on, eaten, or enjoyed looking at while the weather hasn’t complied with our desires. If you’d like to see some more of those adorable rattles, view them here.

Thanks for following.

Hugs, Rhonda

 

 

 

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Back in Session.

When school’s out you’re elated that the kids choose to sleep in their swimsuits, helping to lighten your laundry load a bit. You’re happy that you don’t have to stand in 100-degree temps in that un-Godly pick-up line when school is out for the day. There’s no re-teaching yourself how to graph linear equations just so you can help your child with their homework.

Thank God we aren’t there yet.

But then summer sets in and you’ve got bubble containers and squirt guns and Hot Wheels strewn about your backyard, not to mention your clusters of crepe myrtle and Mexican petunias blowing around the patio because they were rejected from the little ones’ picture-perfect bouquets. And then you have a handful of nieces and nephews staying over for a while, and they love playing with Playdoh and clomping around in your heels (which is when you decide that the entire upstairs needs area rugs). Your daughter even decided to scoot around wearing your sister’s heels. You have nieces who just love baking so you all make lemon loaf and distribute it to the six kids currently in your house, and all those kids get a major sugar rush and run in circles for an hour and finally crash into piles on the living room floor surrounded by every pillow in the entire house. Then there’s arguments and wresting and uncontrollable laughter and hearing your TV the loudest it has ever been. You try not to break your neck bringing in groceries while climbing the mountain of scooters and bikes in front of the door (at one time there were four scooters and three bikes!). After the girls wash mud from their feet, you run a bath and the handshower is on full-blast, spraying your walls, ceiling and floor uncontrollably like a crazy snake you can’t grasp on to. You keep thinking about all of those half-painted walls that you can’t do anything about while there are so.. many.. hands around. At the end of the day you do not one, but two, loads of dishes and wonder when you had gotten so many kid cups. You go through a loaf of bread in the blink of an eye. You willingly wake up at 5:30 to squeeze in some quiet coffee-time, though you stayed up ’til 11:30 knitting the night before–and what truly jolts you awake is stepping on that Lego that was camouflaged on the carpet. And in those early twilight hours, you know you should be getting to work on something, but you get distracted while staring at all of your blooms that are bowing down in the wind and watching the clouds roll in. You feel like you haven’t blinked in a couple of hours. After the annual summer vacation, you feel like you are still cleaning up residual sand weeks later and wondering how long that sunburn is gonna take to heal. You hope that you all don’t look like tomatoes for your first family photos in like 6 years. Then, you go school shopping with every other parent who gives you the look of “Hang in there. The finish line is close. We only have a few more days left of summer break.”

And then, school starts.

That first day, it’s so quiet. You can actually hear your ceiling fan. And it kind of drives you nuts, so you turn on some music and try to get back into the mode of work. then you find yourself staring out the window again, thinking about and missing your kids. You’re wondering if they are making new friends and like their teacher, hoping that they eat all of their carrots, and praying that there’s no homework on day one. You’re thankful for teachers who have the patience of Saints. Then you think of your AP English teacher and hope that she doesn’t read your blog post that is full of incomplete sentences and run-ons and hope that she doesn’t feel like a failure for my grammatical short-comings. Then you think of everything you did this summer and all the fun that was had–all the fun that outweighed the gobs of laundry and dishes. In the thick of all that chaos were a lot of lovely little moments. You realize that all those mishaps were quite entertaining, and you’re just really grateful to not live a dull life. And you are actually looking forward to the next summer break, but you are thankful that it is ten months away.

 

 

 

 

A well-rounded week.

This week has been a full one.

We picked about 200 plums from our tree. About 70 were gifted, another 100 were used in homemade plum chutney, and a few dozen were plucked by the kids and inhaled right where they stood. And I’ll be the first to tell you that canning is no joke. Chopping and pitting all those plums was, well, the pits. However, I can’t wait to pass around this chutney and enjoy a spread of it on crostini with some brie. The plums that are still on the tree are being thoroughly enjoyed by a dozen birds daily.

Though it was extremely hot down here in the Southwest, we enjoyed some of our time outside letting loose a few thousand lady bugs. The kids were in heaven. They squealed and let the bugs climb all over them, carefully picking them up and placing them on rose petals. It was really sweet and entertaining.

And as we usually do, we spent entirely too much time taking photos of our flowers and ate too many sweets. It was a good week.

On the business side, my mom finished a few little bears and had them photographed, patiently waiting for their debut. Keep an eye out for these 100% wool, crocheted-then-shrunken, creamy-hued cuties on Ebay. Also be sure to check back soon with some new and not-usual products from us! we’ll also be making visual changes as well!

Thanks for following!

Hugs, Rhonda

Good-bye October.

Goodness, is October really ending? It has been a full one, though. A glorious, gourd-filled month with all of it’s vibrant leafy loveliness. This, the month when coziness moves into every corner of the house, giving everything a golden glow. We’re gonna slow down tomorrow, collect candy with our little ones, and savor these moments. We hope you all do the same. Happy Halloween!

Goodbye October, Out of the Thistle®

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Feeling Fall.

A long weekend was spent in a cabin, cozied around a campfire with family in the cool mountain air. With the crackling mesquite and changing canopy, it finally felt like Fall. We bundled up in woolen blankets, roasted marshmallows, and collected a variety of colorful acorns and oak leaves. Elk ate from the palm of our hands, and we even spotted a fox! The kids were covered in dirt from head to toe, but they climbed trees and rocks and made race tracks and hiked and had a great time. We woke up to rain and had coconut banana pancakes and still managed to make some frothy coffee. We ate cupcakes and celebrated the little lady’s birthday! Hopefully some of these snapshots of our adventures leave you feeling inspired!

Fall15 Out of the Thistle® Blog

Fall15 Out of the Thistle® Blog

Fall15 Out of the Thistle® Blog

Fall15 Out of the Thistle® Blog

Fall15 Out of the Thistle® Blog

Fall15 Out of the Thistle® Blog

Fall15 Out of the Thistle® Blog

Fall15 Out of the Thistle® Blog

Fall15 Out of the Thistle® Blog

Fall15 Out of the Thistle® Blog

Fall15 Out of the Thistle® Blog

Fall15 Out of the Thistle® Blog         Fall15 Out of the Thistle® Blog Fall15 Out of the Thistle® Blog

 

 

 

Good cookies.

There’s so much to be thankful for during Christmastime. One thing we are certainly in thanks of: cookies. Cookies are good any time of year. Though, they seem to reign supreme during the holidays for parties and gift-giving. Whether you are going to a cookie swap or just whipping up a batch for some of your favorites, we have a few recipes to recommend. These are a few of the cookie collection from our holiday season:

Linzers, by Thread Bears®A returning favorite: the Linzer cookie. Crisp and light cookies, generously dusted with confectioner’s sugar and filled with strawberry jam. This is the recipe we used.

Easy fudge, by Thread Bears®Though fudge is not cookies, we think it deserves a place in the cookie category. This simple fudge with a sprinkling of sea salt is the perfect addition. This is the recipe we used. Best part: it’s made in the slow cooker!

Cherry shortbread cookies, by Thread Bears®These simple and subtly sweet cookies have the perfect white chocolate to cherry ratio. This is the recipe we used.

Speculaas by Thread Bears®These Speculaas (or Speculoos) are beautiful, but do require the molds to shape them in. If you have the time (and patience!) these cookies are a lovely addition to any cookie tin. These biscuits are crisp with just the right amount of spice. You can find the recipe here.

Palmiers, by Thread Bears®These delicious chocolate palmiers are nutty, chewy, and have such a fun appearance! A friend’s daughter has decided to name these ‘the mustache cookies.’ The recipe can be found here.

chewy molasses cookies, by Thread Bears®A traditional in our cookie repertoire: the chewy molasses. These are the perfect texture and flavor combination. A chewy and spicy inside, a sweet and crunchy exterior. This is the recipe we used.

thumbprints cookies, by Thread Bears®The thumbprint cookie. If done correctly, in our opinion, a thick and chewy base with just the right amount of filling to compliment. We found this recipe, which is going in the favorites. The base has the perfect amount of lemon zest and is the perfect amount of chewy and crisp, while the dark chocolate filling is a perfect accent to the lemon and is sprinkled with just a dash of sea salt. Delicious little morsels.

Gingerpread people by Thread Bears®This recipe was a little tricky. The one solid recommendation we have: freeze and freeze and freeze in-between rolling out and cutting. This dough gets very tacky after handling for a short time, however, the end result is worth it. The gingerbread people are slightly firm on the outside with a chewy and delicious interior.

traditional chocolate chip cookies by Thread Bears®The pinnacle of the cookie tin is the good ol’ chocolate chip. We have tried many, many versions. In our belief, you really can’t get it just right without the shortening. We use mostly organic ingredients and try to stick to eating things that can only be found in nature. However, when it comes to this family favorite, there’s no messing with these. Here’s our recipe:

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Yield: 4 dozen cookies

INGREDIENTS

12 ounces Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
2 3/4 – 3 cups unsifted flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup shortening, softened
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat oven to 375ºF.
Whisk flour with baking soda and salt; set aside.
In large mixing bowl, beat butter, shortening and sugars on medium speed until creamy.
Add eggs in, one at a time, then add vanilla. Mix on low speed until incorporated.
Gradually add dry ingredients into butter mixture.
Stir in chocolate chips.
Using a 1 1/4″ cookie scoop, or a rounded tablespoon, drop onto ungreased cookie sheets.
Bake for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown on edges. Let cool on cookie sheet for about 5 minutes, then remove and let cool on wire rack completely.

We hope your holiday season is full of good times and good cookies!

Merry Christmas!

-The Thread Bears® Family