The Small Things

I hold that while the big things are nice, it’s the little things that really matter in a relationship. I don’t mean a romantic relationship either. Have you ever had a friend who just got it? The ones who don’t care if your house is messy, they just love having a warm cup of tea with you. The ones who don’t care what you look like, just as long as you can laugh together. These are the people I keep around me in my personal life, and it means the world to me. It never ceases to totally surprise me though when one of these awesome people does something that seems so small to some, but is so meaningful. Recently one of my friends, Meg, did this for me.

When Meg and her husband showed up a few weeks ago to visit with Andy and I, and another couple we love hanging out with, she came with a beautiful old basket in hand. It was stunning. She then handed it to me. I didn’t know why. Her answer was simple: she thought of me when she saw it. That alone meant so much to my heart. Then she told me the story behind it. An elderly woman had passed away on the small island where her family has a home. Meg walked by as the woman’s family was cleaning out the house and spotted the basket. They were getting rid of it. She thought of me and saved it. It was a little mildewy too so she cleaned it, and then painted the outside of it. Simply because she thought I would like it. My heart melted a little bit.

DSC_8147After melting at the little details on it from the hand painting on top (original) to the rusted nails and hinges, I opened it to find something else.

DSC_8137Not only had Meg saved this beautiful basket for me, she then also filled it with other treasures she found along her way that made her think of me…

…sweet vintage napkins…

DSC_8138…a beautiful recipe box…

DSC_8141…with recipe separators still inside…

DSC_8142….she even remembered one my favorite tea, Rooibos.  When I said it was one of my favorites she smiled and said “I know, I remembered.”

DSC_8139Once I got to the bottom I realized it wasn’t a normal basket – it was a pie basket. I had been casually looking for a pie basket that I loved for a while. This basket is going to be something I take good care of so I can hopefully be carrying pies and other yummy things in it for a long time to come. It’s so beautiful, but the meaning behind it is even more beautiful to me.

DSC_8143 DSC_8145 DSC_8144I’m an extremely sentimental person, but it’s something that’s hard for me to admit and express sometimes in person, though I’m never shy of saying a very genuine thank you. Spilling my sentimental guts is where it gets hard for me, so it’s easier for me to write.

The point is, sometimes it’s the smallest thing in life that mean the most to people and I’m one of those people. Then again, I guess that’s why I have the friends I do. We care about each other in the small ways. The ways that we’ll do something just because it made us think of the other and we know they would appreciate it. It’s not about being lovey dovey, it’s not about looking for a “thank you”, it’s simply about expressing appreciation for who the person is. I hope I return this to my friends enough, because they make my life so colorful and wonderful and beautiful.

I’m so thankful for friends. Also, I’m thankful for friends who love salvaging and saving beautiful pieces, and picking the free tables at the dump as much as I do.

Do small things mean a lot to you too? Are you sentimental also?


2013: A New Years Recap

I hope you all enjoyed a New Year’s Eve fueled by too much wine and too much food, with those you love or those you love getting in trouble with. To ring in this new wonderful year, I thought I’d take a look back at each month of 2013 and pick my favorite post from that month.


Low Tunnel Hoop Bender
My favorite post of January was most definitely, hands down my homemade hoop bender . It’s no surprise to any long term reader that I really take pride in being able to grow my own food. Part of this is knowing you don’t know and actively learning, researching and experimenting. In January I attempted to build a homemade hoop bender because I’m too damn stubborn to spend the money on one if I decided I didn’t like have low tunnels. This summer I found out I really do enjoy having them, but that I likely have enough hoops to keep me satisfied. This means I don’t need to buy a hoop bender after all. They aren’t perfect, but they’re mine.

IMG_4136Runner Up: Huxtawesome – because who doesn’t love The Cosby’s?


A Paint Color Choice Method Which Is Going to Sweep the Nation Like Those Shamwow Things Which, By The Way, Are Actually Awesome
Some of my favorite posts are the ones I sarcastically write out of my own realization that I’m utterly ridiculous. This is where this behemoth comes into play. It also might be the longest post title on this blog ever.

DSC_1635-01Runner up: Support Local Farmers & The Food Movement. This topic is close to my heart and important to me. In the moments I’m not being sarcastic, and making fun of myself, sincere posts like this are written.


Our Dyed Concrete Hearth, and Lessons Learned
In March we were full steam ahead to laying our reclaimed pine floors, but my favorite post of this month was the  concrete hearth we put in. It was brand new to me, and I think it was the first concrete hearth Andy had ever laid either. He had worked with concrete a ton before, but it was nice to be into something for the first time together. That, and this thing is awesome.

DSC_2073-01Runner Up: Who Needs The Gym When You Can Paint? Paint colors going on the wall after a renovation, if you’ve been there, you get why this was a close second.


With April being such an awesome month I’ve decided instead of a runner up, there’s a straight-up tie.

A New Addition to the Family
A new (to us) Suburban we had been discussing for years, and a new (actually new) chainsaw. I sort of made you guys think I was pregnant though with this one. I’m kind of an ass sometimes.


That One Time We Ate Maple Syrup Over Snow And It Was Delicious
Just go look at the photos and you’ll see why this was one of my favorite weekends of the year. Hanging out in the mountains, in snow, with family, and dogs, roasting meat and boiling sap and then eating the syrup off the snow. Done and done.



Getting The Garden Going
May is a glorious month in my mind. May is the month the soil becomes malleable in my hands. The month I can start planting early harvest items that might withstand a freak frost. It’s the month my whole body lets out a big sigh as my fingers sink into the dirt. It’s also normally the month I fight with that bastard of a tiller Troy. Last May though my favorite post was about getting my garden back in place, putting my new row covers up, and in general letting the growing process begin.

PotatoBox (39)Runner Up: This month was filled with runners up, from another sarcastic post on building a Potato Box, to Easy Homemade Ravioli Filling, to the First Asparagus Harvest.


Beach. Sand. Burn. Dammit
I would be remiss to put together a “best of” post without ridiculing myself for getting a nasty as heck sunburn this summer. I am nothing if not a piece of work.

DSC_4914-01Runner Up: Like a dog post wasn’t going to make it into this recap. Primrose is a master of being all up in our space when we’re renovating. Renovation Photobombs showed that side of this cheeky, loving, helper of a sneaky lab.


A Vacationland Roadtrip: Home Sweet Home” 
Combine the North Woods, our honeymoon spot, a triple goat birth, our dogs, my husband, the suburban, moose, the mountains, and good food and you have officially have my favorite post of July, and in my top favorite moments of the year.

DSC_5617-01Runner Up: The Moose Truth, a very short photo-documentary on the grooming habits of moose.


Locking It Up” 
The moment that the renovation was real and we were about to move into our new room. Also, I got genuinely excited about the new door knobs. Judge me all you’d like, this was still one of my favorite August posts.

image2Runner Up: Limeade, Lemonade, First-Aid: A recipe, and a reminder that I’m constantly hurting myself on nothing.


Braiding Hard Neck Garlic” 
I had never braided garlic before, so this process was a new one for me. Last summer I remember thinking Andy was growing too much garlic, and we would have plenty. Lo and behold, I was way off. We’re planting almost triple what we grew last year, and truth be told it probably still won’t be enough. I see a lot of garlic braiding in my future.

IMG_6556Runner Up: Basil Cashew Cream Sauce, also known as a delicious and healthy vegan alternative to regular pesto and a delicious dip in it’s own right.


The Tasty ‘Tatoe Harvest” 
It may not have happened in October, but I wrote about it in October. Harvesting potatoes from our potato box was pretty great. It was the first year we had tried a box versus rows for potatoes.

PotatoHarvest (9)Runner Up: Wood Stove Maintenance – Gasket Replacement – it’s not the sexiest post, but it’s useful


Vegan Gluten-Free Creamy Tomato Soup {I Swear It’s Delicious}
It’s delicious and you’ll never know it’s vegan.

DSC_7546-01Runner Up: Wheat-Free Dog Treats– a great recipe for pooches at a fraction of the cost of wheat-free treats at the store. Also, I barely wrote in November soo….


Reclaimed Shoe Rack
Reusing an old item for it’s old purpose? What a novel idea! Also, it would have been a shoe rack regardless of what the original use had been, so really, I’m not that clever.

DSC_7677-01Runner Up: Supreme Vegan Nachos – delicious nachos that don’t make you feel gross afterwards

Here’s to seeing what the New Year brings with it! I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this year. I’ve enjoyed writing, even those months that I barely wrote. This next year will hopefully allow me more time, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned throughout the last couple years of blogging it’s that I’m not going to say I’ll do anything because frankly, life gets in the way and I like to manage expectations haha.




My Ode To Pinterest

Like all things in life, Pinterest requires moderation. It’s a great place to get ideas of things you might like or to try someday. I’m not on it a lot, but when I am I really like it a lot.

That said, it’s not good if it makes you feel like you need to live up to the ideals of someones snapshot of a moment in time of a life you have no idea about, or of a staged magazine photo, or an airbrushed photo. That shit’s just unrealistic. 

Ahem. Without further ado, my ode to Pinterest. (Please keep in mind this was written with humor; don’t take it, or me, too seriously.)

I do not have a Pinterest life
I do not try to be a Pinterest wife
I do not cook Pinterest meals
I do not meet Pinterest ideals
I do not pin the perfect light
I do not pin with all my might
I do not find my days with strife
For I love my non-Pinterest life



P.S.) Not a “wife”? Just replace that with “whateverelsetitleyoufeellikeputtingin”. It won’t rhyme, but who cares.

Wood Stove Maintenance – Gasket Replacement

I love heating our house with a wood stove. To me there are few things more calming than sitting in front of a crackling fire while it’s chilly outside. It’s the type of heat that reaches my bones, not in a way that oil heat ever could. Sure we wear socks a little more at certain times of the year, but overall I wouldn’t trade it for oil again as long as we’re still able to cut and split wood.

Just like any heating system though, it requires maintenance. From creosote in the chimney, to cleaning the glass front (at least in our case) there are things to do. After 6 winters of use it was time to replace the gasket in the top as it had become a little…er…less than ideal. 

WoodstoveMaintenance (3) WoodstoveMaintenance (2) WoodstoveMaintenance (1)To remove the gasket Andy ran a screw driver around it to loosen it, and then scraped to remove any left over bits.

WoodstoveMaintenance (6) WoodstoveMaintenance (9)For installation we needed a pair of scissors, a new gasket and gasket cement.

WoodstoveMaintenance (4)WoodstoveMaintenance (5)First Andy did a dry fit of the gasket to ensure the length we needed, and then cut it to size.

WoodstoveMaintenance (13) WoodstoveMaintenance (16)To finish it off Andy removed the test fitted gasket, put down some gasket cement, and then replaced the gasket. Overall the maintenance took about 15 minutes and will last years more to come. I call that a pretty good return on investment.

WoodstoveMaintenance (20)xo,


I Am Here…

…but I’m also over there.

And there.

And there.

And likely over there too.

In other words – we have a lot going on and my laptop has been a bit more like a good paperweight than it has been a blogging companion for a number of weeks now. So here’s what we’ve been up to, and hopefully I’ll get some posts up soon. For now, follow me on Instagram – @likeacupoftea (click where it says “Instagram” under my photo on the right), it’s the best way to see what’s going on in snippits. Here are some of the items we’ve been up to:

  • Renovations have started on the original house, finishing up some final things in the addition, and tying the two together
  • “New” appliances have been acquired
  • Garden harvesting
  • Garden preserving including dehydrating chili’s and making our own chili powder, dehydrating squash for the first time ever, and longingly looking at greenhouses
  • Baking things
  • Moving landscaping around, which of course I forgot to capture since I was using the backhoe at the time, I’ll figure something out to post about this.
  • Laundry
  • Laundry
  • Vacuuming
  • Giving the dogs love and exercising
  • Living family life
  • Watching the new season of “Alaska: The Last Frontier” at night and thinking how awesome Eve is

So that’s about it. In other words, the snow is coming and mother nature doesn’t wait for the garden to be harvested or the siding to be put on the house or the woodbox to be cleaned out and a preliminary set of logs brought in for when the time comes to use them. The blog and just about everything else outside of work and house land has taken a hit so bear with me. I’m still here. But not. You get it. Find me on instagram where I snap two second shots of the dogs or food most likely before we move onto the next set of necessary things!