The calendar of time has yet again flipped over, ushering in a New Year. Instead of making resolutions, I’m setting realistic goals. They’re not so much physical ones, but those that will hopefully give me peace of mind. Continue reading…
I think we’re all trying to eat healthier. We’ve all had it drilled in to our heads about the importance of nutrition. From early childhood, we were taught to eat from the food pyramid. Over the years, there’s been an onslaught of diet books and breaking news about certain foods being good or bad for us. What are we to believe? Here’s my take.Continue reading…
Easter and Spring are a cause for celebration. It’s a birth to a new season of offerings in this thing called life. We awaken from the dormancy of winter past with an energized spirit. Stirrings of change are taking place that can’t be denied. Even here at The Log Home Kitchen.
Since 2016 rolled in, I’ve been busy in The Log Home Kitchen whipping up a storm. And it’s not food! Sans the fat, sugar, and calories, I’ve become passionate about making handmade soap. It’s good for me and my family, and good for you and yours as well.
As we begin to celebrate the holiday season in the days ahead, let’s be sure to extend kindness to others and give thanks for all of the blessings that have been bestowed upon us. Continue reading…
I’d never been to The Emerald City before except for airport layovers. For all of the travelling I’ve done, this is one metropolis I never had the opportunity to visit. This past weekend I attended the International Food Blogger Conference (IFBC), and ended up having a love affair with Seattle.
Have you ever wanted to just check out from the daily grind? To chuck all routine and responsibility, if just for a few days? We did! Hubs and I took a maiden voyage with our new-to-us travel trailer and headed to beautiful northern Idaho.
I usually have the patience of Job. This past week really put me to the test. Sometimes best laid plans just aren’t meant to be. Being a perfectionist by nature, my world can get rattled pretty easy. Can you relate?Continue reading…
Professional development can play an integral part to one’s success in any business platform or area of interest. After an extended stay in southern California, I’ve returned home to tell you all about the incredible experience I had networking with, learning from, and drinking with (yep, that too!) a fabulous group of like minded and extremely talented foodies over this past weekend.
Enter in Camp Blogaway 2015. Camp what, you say?
I was in serious need of a mental health break. Spending hours upon hours in isolation baking, cooking, creating, photographing, and writing was starting to make me a little cuckoo. Luckily, I was able to attend the perfect venue to expand my food blogging horizons.
People often ask, “Can you really make money food blogging?” The short answer is, yes. Any venture worthy of a decent payday takes a lot of time, hard work, commitment, and perseverance. Success doesn’t just happen overnight. If you think it does, think again. It’s certainly not handed out on a silver platter. And so it is with food blogging.
An intimate group of approximately 80 attendees gathered in a picturesque setting of the Angeles National Forest for a bootcamp specifically designed for active food and recipe bloggers. Public relations agents, name brand food product sponsors, media specialists, accomplished bloggers, and newbies such as myself made up the A-list.
From mid-afternoon Friday to noon on Sunday, the schedule was jam-packed with activities and learning. We talked about social media strategies, do’s and don’ts, working with brands, SEO (it’s okay, I didn’t know what it was at one time either), and the personal side of blogging. Christina Peters held a work session on using natural light for food photography. It was awesome!
Here, Don Odiorne, aka Dr. Potato of the Idaho Potato Commission, leads a panel discussion about working with brands, and the things they are looking for to partner with bloggers.
Imagine, sitting out on a sun-filled deck in the crisp cool air of the mountains learning from experts in the food world. I had to keep pinching myself!
The schedule was set up so that not a single session could be missed. At larger conferences, they pack in thousands of people in a huge hotel. There are so many tracks of information running simultaneously that it’s practically impossible to soak in all there is to learn. The chances of striking up meaningful relationships and networking opportunities is overshadowed by the shear numbers in attendance.
Camp Blogaway 2015 clicked along at a steady beat from sunrise to sundown and beyond. The sessions were paced so there wasn’t a bunch of lag time, as in standing around waiting for the next track to scatter off to. Everyone remained in one large meeting room at the lodge for most of the day. There were decks and walking trails to take breaks and breathe in the fresh mountain air.
At the end of the day, we retreated to our assigned cabins and bunk beds. It had been a long time since I’d slept in a sleeping bag. I was so tired each evening I really didn’t care what I slept in.
The sky was bright blue each day, the birds sang, and the chipmunks chattered. It was a great place to unplug from the world (literally) and focus on the purpose of being there. To learn. To network. To forge new relationships.
I don’t feel so alone anymore. The camaraderie and support will continue on after everyone has gone back to their respective cocoons. I left feeling validated that I’m on the right track in my chosen new venture. I feel like I belong, and that I have many talents and insights to offer.
For now, the real work begins.
To pull something like this together takes a very special, spirited, and organized leader. Kudos to our fearless leader, Patti Londre, who spearheaded the gathering. She has an infectious energy, and managed to shush the crowd when things got a bit on the noisy side.
Camp Blogaway couldn’t happen without the support of these incredible sponsors that shared their products and knowledge with us. Sincere thanks to Wilton, Wente Vinyards, Klondike Brands/Potandon, Canadian Lentils, North Carolina Sweet Potatoes, Mann Produce, Cabot Cheese, California Almonds and the Almond Board, Sanguinetti Red Walnuts, Arianna Trading Company, and Davidson’s Safest Choice Eggs. I hope I haven’t left anyone out. There were a lot of brands.
Many thanks to the cooks who fed us well, and the caretakers who made sure our accommodations were clean and comfortable.
A great time was had by all. There were miles of smiles and a terrific sense of passion for what we all love and do. Here’s the group photo of everyone who was there, including me where the arrow points. Were my eyes closed?
Hopefully, I’ll get the chance to attend this awesome event again next year. Same place. Same time. Until then, I have many notes and information to take in from this wonderful experience.
Do you have the opportunity to go to conferences for your profession? If so, are they worth it? Do you walk away feeling like you learned something?
It’s back to the kitchen I go. Please stop back in to see what I’m stirring up.
Have a great weekend, and Happy Mother’s Day to all of you great Moms out there!
Early Spring brings renewed vitality in all living things. Can you feel it? Look around. The signs are everywhere. Nature has a way of ushering in the new seasons, evident by the behavior of the weather, plants and animal life.
It’s with utter fascination to watch the unfolding of God’s gifts. Everything waits it’s turn to reveal it’s full splendor in a perfect time and space sequence that only a higher power could perfectly orchestrate.
The apricot tree blossoms are the first to reveal themselves in our yard, giving us an idea as to how much fruit will be growing through to the early Summer.
Easing into the New Year can be bittersweet. It can also be exciting. Though it’s time to move on with new goals, and for many of us, resolutions, I tend to sit back and savor the moments, challenges and accomplishments of the outgoing year. Reflecting on what has been prepares and energizes me as to how I will plan for the months to come.
The biggest highlight of 2014 was launching The Log Home Kitchen. New Beginnings represented a culmination of my journey into foodmaking, writing, and photography at a time that represented enormous personal challenges.
There’s a curiosity and utter fondness I have for the indoor houseplant known as Christmas Cactus. Mysteriously they bloom at the same time each year, usually in December right around Christmas time. Hence the name, I suppose. It’s highly probable that they flower at this time due to cooler temperatures and shorter days. I like to think of it as a wonderment of nature.
Special care can be taken to make certain of a prolific showing just in time for the holidays.
Often times these beautiful creatures are overlooked, as are many forms of cacti due to the fact they can look pretty rough when they’re not showing off their shoots of glory. Given the right amount of tender loving care, they can always look great and be enjoyed for many, many years.
The holidays are rapidly approaching. Stores have already filled their shelves and aisles with Christmas displays. What happened to Thanksgiving? It’s still three weeks before many of us will be making the celebratory carving of the turkey. Yet I can’t find any placements for the table. Did I miss something?
Maybe it’s because I paused to enjoy the beauty of the Fall season.
Everyone is in such a rush. Oh, I know. The early bird catches the worm. Johnny wants the latest mega bucks electronic gadget. Becky wants the latest in fashion. Gotta get it now before it’s gone. What happened to the bird? Sharing our thanks with family and friends? The attitude of gratitude? The reason for the season? It’s utter madness. I digress.
Have you noticed the beauty of nature recently? The changing of the guards from one season to the next. It’s an impressive, spirit-stirring spectacle.
On days like this, I enjoy a walkabout. I have to remind myself to be observant, to take in the splendor of the warm autumn colors. The falling leaves. The rushing of the creek. The prelude to old man winter. It’s so peaceful.
A Wellness and Writing Retreat was just what the doctor ordered. Nestled in a secluded valley of southern Idaho, twelve remarkable women gathered for the weekend to breathe in fresh mountain air, eat nutritious food, exercise, share personal stories, and to write. It was nothing short of a rendezvous with fate.
Besides, my dietary habits had been teetering on sugar load. Protein-filled power breakfasts of green smoothies, fruit salads, and yogurt cups filled with chia seeds, blueberries and nuts were a welcomed change. I think my body appreciated it. In fact, I know it did.
I had no idea what I was getting in to. Nor do I believe any of the others did either. Sometimes these types of affairs can leave one with the feeling of “How on earth did I end up here?” In this particular case, I felt like I belonged.
The only other times this has happened is when I have gotten together with my Allrecipeeps, a fond word we use to refer to one another that make up the wonderful, caring Allrecipes community.
Since I’ve been spending so much time in the kitchen lately, I decided it was high time to get into a routine of venturing out for an hour or so on these gorgeous days. It’s so nice to breathe. Fresh air calms the head chatter and fills the soul with renewed vitality.
I’m extremely fortunate to have a vast choice of walking paths in close proximity, many of which have yet to be explored. One of my favorites winds along one of the main rivers that flows nearby.
No matter the day, each time I walk along this path there’s something new to experience. As the path blindly curves, there could be a deer that’s foraging on bushes. Or a raptor gliding over the river in search of prey. Or perhaps just the rustling of leaves, the breeze cutting through the tall grasses, the rush of the water, the silence.
Welcome to the all new The Log Home Kitchen website! Today marks a very important day in my world. It’s all about new beginnings. I’m so excited and I hope you will share in the excitement with me!
In December of last year I started dabbling in the world of blogging, not really knowing if it was something that I would find gratifying, or if it might serve some form of purpose to others. The main thrust was to have an outlet to share my love for cooking and baking, and the photographs I take of all the scrumptious delights.
In doing so I realized it was much, much more than just about the food and photos. It was about connecting with the outside world, to share my story, my journey in life, the ups and downs, and the solutions I have discovered that give me peace of mind and clarity as to who I am. This is not meant to be self-indulgent by any means, yet I am very proud of my accomplishments, talents, and wisdom that I have garnered over the years.
I spent much time procrastinating about taking a leap of faith into this vast ocean of critics in hopes that many of you out there will find something you can relate to and find something that I impart to be of interest. Maybe you love to get new recipe ideas, or share in the thrill of treasure hunting and landing that great find. Or maybe you love chickens, dogs and cats as much as I do. Or maybe you just like to read about someone else’s viewpoint on life and the many gifts that it reveals to us if we just give it the chance when we stop to observe, listen, learn and love.
See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil. Isn’t it so much easier?
These three frogs were obviously inspired by the original three wise monkeys who depicted that proverbial principle. They sit in the center of a flower patch I have growing in my garden, radiating a humorous spin to “turning the other cheek.” Aren’t they cute? They make me smile.
A sensitive conversation developed the other day while visiting a friend. We were talking about how numb society has become, and how self-absorbed people can be. So much so that many don’t take action to help those in need. Maybe it’s always been this way. I think so. I told her I thought it’s just that we are at an age where we take notice of what really matters in life.
Whatever the case may be, we all have to follow our own instincts. And yes, I think age and life experience has a lot to do with how we respond to others. Everyone has to go through their own stages and develop their own belief systems. That’s what makes for an exciting, diverse culture. It’s what makes the world go around!
One could go on for days dwelling about everything that’s wrong. I prefer to focus on the positive. It’s such a better place to be. Sometimes it takes life threatening challenges or tragedy to realize how important it is to live life to the fullest and find that happy place each and every day. That’s one reason why I have reminders such as signs with sayings dotted about the gardens, keeping me in check with joy and happiness.
Today I noticed the delphiniums are starting to take off, with their spires of colorful blooms reaching for the sky.
They are usually one of the first flowers to burst on to the scene this time of year. The plants get more profound as they mature. I suppose, like us.
The herb garden started to take off as well. It’s such a treat to walk outside to pick fresh herbs when cooking. I love herb-infused foods. The aromas are intoxicating!
I got ambitious this year and planted hollyhock seeds. I’ve longed for the heirloom giants in colors of crimsons and white. The seedlings went in the ground yesterday. With some regular watering and TLC, they should come along just fine.
So how does your garden grow? What do you do to make it special, or are you still thinking about it?
Enough questions for today. Happy Monday!
He came to me with his hand cupped tightly as if what he held might get away if he opened it. He was protecting it. A treasure hubs found out in the yard.
It was perfectly intact. It had fallen from it’s nest. It had landed onto the soft grass. A beautiful little blue Robin egg.
A rarity indeed. Usually they’re cracked or only the shell remains because varments have gotten in to them.
For some reason, there have been several families of various types of birds that have set up nesting quarters on our property this Spring. Two sets of dove have made nests in the blue spruce trees. Sparrows have taken shelter under the eves of the house and workshop. The robins have made their nests in some unusual places, like the knots in the log siding. The kill deer have nested in the driveway (why do they always do that?) but luckily we’ve never run over their eggs, nor has anyone else coming to and fro.
Mother Nature never fails to amaze me. There’s a mystique in which animals behave as each season passes. Their instincts are keen to their environment. Sometimes I wonder why we don’t have a similar genetic coding built in to us that is as “psychic” as they seem to be. Or do we?
The wind has been gusting over the last several days. It must have tossled this one out with it’s thrust. I sit in the house worrying about the safety of all of the nests and their occupants. Some have eggs, some have already hatched. I can hear the high pitched chirping. Hard as I try, I’ve not been able to get a glimpse of the little ones because they’re secluded and high up where nothing can get to them (at least I hope). I’ve had to keep an eye on our mousers to make sure they don’t try to climb up and cause any disturbances. So far the felines are minding my warnings. Good kitties.
With the abundance of water and mature trees, it’s no wonder it’s become a haven for these feathered creatures. It’s a bird watchers paradise. Several bird feeders hang full of seed for them to feast on. Typically it’s like a drive-thru. They fill up and move on. Obviously they felt like their needs could be met if they called it a day and decided to stay for awhile to grow their little families here.
I’m glad they stayed. I just feel bad that one got away.
Are you a steward to the birds where you live? If so, I’d love to hear about it.
I know. I know. I’ve broken all of the cardinal rules of blogging. Write every day. Even if you don’t have something to say, just write. Really? That’s hard. But not that hard if you’re not even trying.
The fact is, I’ve been in a funk. A terrible one. Maybe you can relate. The kind of funk that takes over your entire physical being and leaves you listless and borderline brain dead. It’s been that kind of funk. For almost a month now.
The onset of the spring season has set me into a tailspin. The snow melts, the rain comes, and with all of the beautiful greenery and new growth comes…weeds, broken water lines, home repairs that can’t be done when the outside temperature is in the single digits. And it all has to be done NOW! Do you have any idea how hard it is to get handymen and specialty contractors once the sun comes out and the ground is thawed enough to dig in? It can be very difficult in a one-horse town. You have to strike fast. Get in line first. Otherwise you’ll be the last one they get to, probably not until the late fall before the snow flies again. These guys are waiting on the big jobs. Certainly my list of “honey-do’s” is not at the top of their food chain. But if I round them up early enough before they can begin much larger (and profitable) projects, all is good. For both parties.
It’s like when the orchestra begins in an almost baroque tone. Duh duh duh dummm. Then the music crescendos as the violins spiral into a frenzy that makes one dizzy (Can someone PLEASE help me recall the name of that piece? I must be on information overload). Get the picture? Welcome to my world as of late.
I was talking to my sister Judith yesterday. We were commiserating about the woes of home ownership. Maybe it’s cyclical, but lately it’s becoming a money pit. Yet what else is one to do? Rent? Not if I don’t have to. I’m a nester. I like a sense of security and permanency of my domain. Sometimes the thought of hooking up a travel trailer sounds like a really good idea. But they break down and need repairs too. Besides, where does one put all of their stuff? This chick isn’t willing to part with coveted treasures. At least not for a long while.
So after a good dose of Super Soul Sunday and a pep talk from big sister, I decided to pick up where I left off. The list is long, sitting in front of me as I write. I’m hopeful you’ll find something you can relate to, or pick up on some new ideas. Or simply have a view in to the world of a city girl who has adjusted to country life. Most importantly, she is learning to live through authenticity, and not one dictated by others expectations.
So with that, a mixing bowl awaits. Happy Tuesday all!
As I sat in the kitchen watching the sun come up this morning, I noticed the outside temperature starting to rise. With all of the snow that had accumulated over the past several days, that only meant one thing.
Water. Lots of water.
Icicles along the edges of the eves started to drip as snow started to melt off the rooftop. The long, gnarly daggers sculpted by Mother Nature will soon be nourishing the ground below. They can be daunting at times, if not outright lethal!
There’s something therapeutic about hearing the droplets hit the puddles that have formed beneath them. As the day progresses, the soft dancing of water will become a heavy rhythm of kloppity-klop.
As I started to go about my day, I had to stop and listen to the silence. I thought I was hearing things. Then I heard what I thought I had heard. It was melodic to my ears. And it’s only the middle of February!
This has been an unusual winter. January, which is usually the coldest month, was mild and actually enjoyable to be outdoors. Sunny days are a godsend this time of year. I was starting to believe that by all indications we were going to have an early spring. Garden plans were even dancing in my head. Yeah, the salsa garden, the pumpkin and gourd patch, all of the perennials that I look forward to see grow again. There was a color burst of flowers floating through my state of delirium.
Then came February. And this is what came along with it.
Yesterday we hit the fourteen inch mark of snow. For here, that’s A LOT. To make matters worse, the cable that holds the snow blade to the four wheeler and the winch, or whatever all those ATV parts are, had broken. Dear Hubs isn’t in the shape he once was to fix these types of malfunctions. It frustrated him to no end that there wasn’t a thing he could do about it.