My grandmother’s date bars // Archiving with HP Sprout

my grandmother's date bars // a thousand threads
There was a time when I thought we led a pretty minimalist existence — the little voice that told me I could live in a tiny house was strong.

Then I moved.

In moving spaces, it suddenly occurs to a person just how much stuff they’ve managed to accumulate over the years. Clothes, linens, props, 40 place settings for the occasional gathering.

… okay those last two might be unique.

But whatever you might keep stuffed in your own closets and corners, there is one thing we all share — we all have a lot of stuff we don’t really need.

The truly precious items, the ones we’d mourn if they were somehow misplaced in the move, are fewer and farther between. And that’s all the more reason to do whatever we can to make sure they’re protected.

… as we settle into our new home and I settle into a new job, a lot of feelings seem to sneak up and overwhelm me on a daily basis. Worry, excitement, general terror, elation… okay mostly just the two. But life and the people we love somehow feel more precious in these times of increased intensity, and the lost connection to those we’ve held dear more stark.

I have only a few items to remember my grandmother, who, growing up, lived just through a trail in the woods… and some of the most precious items I own are her handwritten recipes.

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Shakshuka with sausage and kale

shakshuka with sausage and kale // a thousand threads
How do you like your eggs? I feel like this all-important question has haunted me since Runaway Bride. Because as much as I’d like to pick just one… I’m sorry, I like them all, and I like them pretty much every way.

Hard boiled on a salad or alone, fried on top of a sweet potato hash, scrambled on my toast, poached and smothered in hollandaise, or bathed in a beautiful red sauce with sausage and kale.

You might’ve seen shakshuka around – but you might not realize just how creative you can be with the dish. Since my vegetarian days have long fallen off the wagon, I couldn’t help but crave a little local sausage with my eggs.

… and since everything we’re eating is pretty easy these days – as in off a box (until Sunday!) and limited to those tools we can actually find – this dish fit the bill.

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52 self portraits // 13

52 self portraits // a thousand threads
We bought a fixer upper. And everything about the idea seemed fun.

Carpeted bathrooms, purple toilets, and gardens full of weeds were all just opportunities to put our own spin on the perfect home we knew it could be. After all, most of the updates in the newer homes we could afford weren’t our style — this was the best way to make it ours.

… then came the move.

Dust, dirt, stained walls, wrinkled carpets, broken attempts to dry our clothes, and an ant colony (not just ants) in the mailbox all serve as daily reminders that we’ve only just begun.

Add a new job to the mix and everything seems suspended in space — or, more accurately, in boxes. I feel myself becoming a terrible friend, a cut-rate blogger, and a hack of a wife as I unpack my life in more ways than one… tallying the hours, days, months, in my head it will take until we’re settled back into a normal routine.

But slowly, when I’m able to step back from it all, I’ll admit that with every day that goes by, it feels a little more like home.

Our counters are ever so slightly cleaner, our bedrooms have beds… we even have a thing or two put away.

… and hey, the carpets in two out of three of the bathrooms are gone.

The summer sun is beginning to beat down and, because I can’t help being me, I feel the pull to make things happen now. All of the things… so I can run off and treat my white legs to some warmth.

But I have to remember that it will all happen in time. The dream house we know we’ll love is hiding under a few deep breaths and a little bit of time.

For now, I’ll just have to work on enjoying the ride.

… and breaking up that ant colony so I can pick up my mail.

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52 self portraits // 12

52 self portraits // a thousand threads
The boxes are piling up and we’re down to the wire. I’d hoped it would feel more certain than this, but because of last minute repairs we might not have a final green light on closing until we’ve loaded all our worldly possessions into a 28′ truck and hit the road.

To say the last couple of weeks have been stressful would be an understatement – uncertainty isn’t quite my favorite thing – but we’re almost there! We can count the days and hours now until it’s all said and done, and that’s certainly something to celebrate.

Especially since the boxes are piling up.

… 28′ is enough room to move into in a pinch, right? Because at this point if it all falls through, that’s about all the plan we have.

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Rhubarb breakfast bowl

rhubarb breakfast bowl // a thousand threads
During the week, I’m guilty of repeating often that I should pack my lunch, or should eat a good breakfast, but rarely getting it done.

As we count down the days to our move, though, to a slightly smaller town without so much as a coffee shop, it’s beginning to dawn on me that I might not have a choice.

Enter the breakfast bowl — quick, delicious, and hands-down healthier than what I usually wolf down on the run.

… now if I could just talk the husband into that espresso machine, we’d be set.

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52 self portraits // 11

52 self portraits // a thousand threads
I’m going to miss this little house of ours. Five years go by so quickly…

When we moved in, Austin was just a little bug  — it’s hard to even believe now just how little — and Mark and I were just beginning to plan the beautiful wedding we’d eventually have.

We spent hours in those first weeks and months painting, putting down our own floors, installing a backsplash… and years transforming it into our home.

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Spring vegetable ramen

spring vegetable ramen // a thousand threads
So, buying a house is maybe the biggest roller coaster ever… we’ve been so spoiled.

Our first experience, in buying our current home, was probably the dumbest, but also the easiest ever. We didn’t have a realtor, we didn’t look for days or months or get our hopes up only to have them dashed… not at all. In fact, we did nothing more than walk into a really awesome model home, dream about how we could ever afford to live there and then figure out how we could.

We put in a totally improvised offer (because it was just us, no realtor, and I’m sure we were royally screwed… though in looking back I’m pretty glad we bargained at all…) and then there we were — we were on our way to owning a totally customized, brand new first home… it was boring, but at least there weren’t any dirty little surprises waiting for an inspector to find.

… or, at least there were fewer dirty little surprises. Let’s not pretend that nothing went wrong. The sump pump would disagree.

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52 self portraits // 10

52 self portraits // a thousand threads
Okay you guys, it’s been busy. But there are so many updates to share!

First — and I’m so scared to jinx this because so much could still go wrong, but here goes — our house is under contract! We have an inspection and appraisal to get through (Any recommendations for super sly appraisal bribes? just kidding… sort of.) and then we’re out by the end of the month. SO soon…

The good news is (and again, fingers crossed!) we already have a contract on a new house!!

It’s a little bit closer to the city, but still in a rural community we love, and more perfect than I ever thought we’d find. There’s still some work to be done, but that’s just the way we like it, since eventually we’ll be able to personalize all of the details that will make it our home for what we hope will be years to come. I’m just dying to show you around, but I suppose we should probably get through what will now be two appraisals and two inspections…

Let’s just hope my sanity holds out until May.

The big life events all seem to be coming at once.

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Easter salad with avocado, sweet peas, and lemon vinaigrette

easter salad with avocado, sweet peas, and lemon vinaigrette // a thousand threads
April so far…

5:40am: First alarm, groan and dig deeper under the covers. Hope Mark gets up first and makes it stop. He does.

5:50am: Second alarm, sleep right through – bless that man.

6:00am: Mark is up, radio is on… dig deeper under the covers and hope it all goes away.

6:10am: It doesn’t. I’m already running 10 minutes late. Debate whether to wash hair, grease vs. 10 more minutes in bed. Bless that dry shampoo.

6:20am: Turn circles in the shower to distribute warmth.

6:40am: Agonize over what to wear… what’s comfortable is unfortunately not what’s professional…

6:50am: Try to strike a balance somewhere in between, end up looking like I hang out in Spicoli’s van at lunch.

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Hot cross bun bread pudding

hot cross bun bread pudding // a thousand threads
I’m terrible at winning contests. Can a person be terrible at winning contests? Put my name in a hat and 999 times of 1000 you won’t see it again.

Such is my sad story every Easter. I’m a sucker for the White House Easter Egg Roll… it’s just the cutest thing. And especially when Austin was small I just knew it would make his day if I could get us in. At 9, I’m fairly certain he’d kick the First Lady in the shins and challenge one of the poor secret service agents guarding the fence to a karate chop duel… but still I try.

… and every time, I’m unceremoniously rejected, forcing me to speculate that maybe it’s because I live in Maryland, or they just don’t like the letter H. There must be a conspiracy somewhere, right?

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