23 May, 2016  |   Comment

100 Graces

Hello! If you follow me on Instagram, you know I’m taking part in the 100 Days project from Elle Luna. Thanks to a trip to Green Bay, Mom 2.0 and a new job (!!!) I got a little behind.

No matter! Instead of clogging your Insta-feed with pre-meal graces, I’m catching up here.
Thanks for indulging me!

23_blessings
23/100

24_universe
24/100

25_negativity
25/100

26_clap 27_strong
26/100

28_earth
27/100

22 March, 2016  |   3 Comments

Crownberry Day

01_crownberry

Tuffenbee woke early. It was crownberry day – she would need the extra time.

Every six weeks, Tuffenbee needed to get the berries on her head refreshed in a long process.

That’s how it was in Beepaland. For as long as anyone could remember, every egg-laying Beepa kept 15 crownberries on her head at all time.

02_tuffenbee

The berries had to be fresh.
The berries had to be placed just so.
The berries had to be in perfect condition.

Every six weeks, Tuffenbee woke early to get to the salon. The salon was where the Pincerpaws replaced crownberries.

03_pincerpaws

Beepas didn’t have hands like the Pincerpaws. Beepas paid the Pincerpaws to replace their crownberries. It cost nearly two hundred dollars for fifteen berries!
Can you imagine?

Tuffenbee was trying to save her money for a vacation at the beach. She was saving four hundred dollars for a vacation just by herself.

Every six weeks, Tuffenbee walked to the berry salon. She put the five dollars she would have spent on the bus in a jar. She couldn’t wait to save enough money for that vacation.

05_money-jar

When she got to the salon, Tuffenbee paid $200 to the Pincerpaws, sat down on the log and prepared for several hours of boredom.

It’s not that replacing her crownberries hurt, it was just boring. Tuffenbee had a lot of things she’d rather be doing.

06_tuffenbee-salon

Tuffenbee just wanted to put her feet up and relax for the night. Being an egg-laying Beepa meant that sometimes, you needed some extra rest.

01_crownberry

Six weeks later Tuffenbee woke early.

in-jar

Tuffenbee put the five dollars she would have spent on the bus in a jar.

tuffenbee-rounds-corner

Tuffenbee walked to the berry salon.

After rounding her first corner, Tuffenbee came face to face with a group of Beepas. These were the kind of Beepas that didn’t have to get crownberries replaced every six weeks. These were the kind of Beepas that didn’t lay eggs every month.

beepa_assault

This group of Beepas yelled at Tuffenbee,

“HEY YOU, YOU! YOU SHOULD SMILE YOU KNOW,
YOU WOULD LOOK EVEN BETTER IF YOU SMILED!
SMILE!”

Before Tuffenbee knew what she was doing, she yelled back at the Beepas, “HEY YOU! YOU SHOULD STOP YELLING AT ME TO SMILE! MAYBE I DON’T WANT TO SMILE”

after-beepa

Tuffenbee felt so confused and scared, she ran for several blocks before she could sit down and take many big breaths to calm herself.

By the time she’d slowed her heart, she realized she’d missed her appointment.

tuffenbee-on-bench

In that moment she said to herself,

“Just wait a minute! Just because I lay the eggs doesn’t mean I have to get crownberries on my head. Who cares if my berries look like everyone else’s? I’m going to let them fall out on their own and see what happens. “

Tuffenbee went home, put her two-hundred dollars in a jar and felt happier than she had in years.

05_money-jar

Yes, it’s true, over the next six weeks, the berries rotted and fell off her head.  Tuffenbee worked hard to keep her head clean and berry-free.

Six weeks later, she put another two hundred dollars in a jar.

She laid her egg, put her feet up for the night and planned her vacation at the beach for next month.

04_tuffenbee-walks

9 February, 2016  |   Comment

Today I researched my passion

 

This community college adult education food class was marvelous. They all are.
(Pro-tip for your next wine country trip, pop in a cooking class at our community college.)

Secrets of Archetype class

We learned all about some of Archetype restaurant’s best dishes. I learned about making chicken and gnocchi, tandoori cauliflower and brussels sprouts with chinese mustard sauce and now I feel I can win your reality show.

17 November, 2015  |   3 Comments

Make Paper Bag Popcorn – with me, Nora Lea

IMG_2399

This weekend Nora Lea worked on a project with me. She wanted to show kids how to make popcorn in the microwave. She organized the steps, set up the script and the different shots and didn’t even need any second takes!

Back when I was a kid, I could never comprehend that this was a thing I could do — much less with my daughter. I’m a-goggle at the many forms of communication and connection our kids will intuitively know how to use.

On with the show!

30 October, 2015  |   Comment

Helen Jane’s Apple Crisp Sipper

My first apartment.
Winter in Wisconsin.
Homesick.

(This is me back in the mid-nineties, all film camera and apple crisp.)
Helen Jane, mid nineties

During a particularly brutal winter, in those early grown-up years, I learned to bake apple crisp.

The ingredients?
Inexpensive staples.
The outcome?
Warm and loving.

Now that I’m in sunny Napa Valley, November temperatures can reach the nineties. So when I’m craving something cold and cozy, spiced and sweet, fresh yet comforting, I make this Apple Crisp Sipper.

Turns out, this autumn-inspired cocktail is the perfect pre-Thanksgiving cocktail. Pair with gently spiced nuts to keep guests cheerful when the turkey roasts.

Helen Jane's Apple Crisp Sipper recipe

Ingredients
2 ounces apple juice
2 ounces cranberry juice
1 ounce amaretto
2 ounces rum
2 ounces hard apple cider

Directions
Add the first four ingredients to a shaker and fill with ice. Shake and strain into an pre-iced old-fashioned glass. Fill the rest of the glass with hard apple cider. Garnish with a cinnamon-sugar crusted apple slices if you’re feeling ambitious or a cinnamon stick if you’re not.

Helen Jane's Apple Crisp Sipper recipe

Three cheers for cozy, icy drinks!

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