once around the sun

all photos by tony irons of irons international

Last year was filled to the brim with planning and excitement and anticipation.  It was timelines and schedules and calendars.  It was regular life and a wedding all packed into one.  All of that has left this year a little....different.  I won't say it's been a less important year, just a different one.  This year has been calm, cozy, and full of adjusting.  It has been contented in so many ways.  It has brought over a feeling of calm and security I don't know that I've ever experienced.  It has found us nestling into each other, creating new routines and starting our life together.

It's crazy to think that one year has already gone by.  That last year was the year we got married.  It feels like millions of years ago, and that we've been together for lifetimes already.  This year has been good to us, it has seen us grow into each other and learn from each other.  It has shown us how to set up our foundation so that years from now we'll still be strong.  It has allowed us to shift and move with each other.  It has taught us.

I'm so grateful for Justin being in my life.  I'm grateful for the love he shows me and for the possibility in our lives.  Being married means different things to different people, and I'm pretty sure we've both learned a lot about what it means to us this past year.  I'm so excited about the changes each year will bring to us.

To celebrate our anniversary we're going away the weekend and I couldn't be happier.  The past few weeks have been quiet on here for good reason; we've been really busy!  Life has added up and we've been trying to make balance happen.  I hope to be back next week with pictures from our weekend.

I hope everyone is having a great day!  Thanks for stopping by!


history in jars

I have so many vivid memories of foods from my childhood.  My maternal grandma was a canner.  My grandpa had a huge garden (they lived on a double lot in St. Louis) and it included peach trees.  Every year, my grandma would can peaches and pickles and applesauce along with other things I don't remember quite so well.  I remember getting furry hands from helping to pick peaches.  I remember the sweetness of her sweet pickles.  She was a stern woman, methodical, exacting, German, and not very affectionate.  Looking back on it, canning is probably the best thing she could have done--it was everything she was.  I don't remember her being a great cook, but her pickles were one of my favorite things.  She'd can these amazingly small gherkin pickles.  They'd be covered in sweet juice and she would bring them out for holidays.

Learning to can has been on my to do list for a long time now.  Who doesn't love the look of food in jars?  Seductive colors reaching out to you from clean glass; the shine of the lids.  Maybe it's just me?  I've read countless articles on canning and decided this year I'd make it a priority to can something.  I got a great deal on a lot of organic peaches a few weeks ago and I decided to peel and freeze them.  My friend Kelly came for a visit last week and had canned before.  For some reason I felt more confident having a friend nearby.  We put up a batch of peach butter and the rest is history.

In the past two weeks I've made peach butter, triple berry butter and sweet pickles.  I found a recipe for refrigerator sweet pickles a few years ago that tastes almost exactly like my grandmas.  This year I decided to try water bathing it so that they last a little longer.  I'm hoping for the best.

Canning not only makes me feel like we're getting more out of our garden, but it makes me feel connected to the past.  It's a beautiful way to do something ancient, to feel connected to so many women chefs who have gone before me.  I often think back to the women in my family and what they must have been like.  I try to find ways to honor their traditions in my daily life.  I try to find ways to connect to them and continue their legacy.  I've done this in other ways (my wedding quilt is a great example) and I'm happy to add canning to the list.

If you are new to canning, I've found these websites immensely helpful.  Click here and here.



I'm taking a cue from my girl Nicole today to stop and be thankful for the things in my life and share some of them with you.  Celebrations don't need to be big to be important and I think we could all use a little more celebration in our daily lives.  So, without further ado, here are a few things I've been celebrating lately:

--learning to can.  This has been on my to learn list for years (really that long!) and I finally learned this past weekend when my friend Kelly came to visit me.  In just two days I made peach butter and a triple berry fruit butter...I think I'm hooked!  Today I'm planning to put up some bread and butter pickles!

--taking walks with Justin.  I know it's small, but Justin and I have started going for walks a few times a week.  Well...he walks, I run....and then circle back for him.  It's nice to exercise together, get outside together and know we're both doing something for our health.

--planning our trip to chicago for our one year anniversary.  I'm at once shocked and not shocked at the fact that we've already been married for one year.  This year has been awesome (more on that later) and I'm so excited to celebrate it when a little weekend getaway!

--our sunflowers are finally blooming!  We've been watching these guys all summer and they're finally showing us some love!

--that I have amazing friends who come to visit me.  My friend Kelly and her baby Ione came to visit me this past week and while the visit was pretty short it was so nice to see them.  I haven't seen Kelly since the wedding and this was the first time I got to spend time with her daughter.  The visit was full of ups and downs as any baby visit is, but I'm so thankful she chose to spend her time with me.

--that we're in a place where we can afford to save money.  I've been thinking about this a lot lately and I'm so grateful that we can afford to save money for things like home renovations and vacations.  I've been reading about Italy and Europe in general for a few weeks now and I feel so fortunate that we have the financial ability to even think about trips like that.

--the fact that it hasn't reached 100 degrees yet this summer!  I'm not so sure my tomato plants like the cooler weather, but this summer has been a dream!

--that I still have this space.  I know my blogging has been way more sporadic this year, but I am still so happy that I have this space to come to when I feel like sharing thoughts and moments in my life.  And because there are still some people out there who come here to see those thoughts.  Thanks for celebrating with me!

So there you have it.  What are you celebrating today?  If you do a post, leave a link in the comments so I can see!