Acme Farms + Kitchen

The Summer of Local Food.

Every other week since May, Morgan and I have received a box of local, fresh food from Acme Farms + Kitchen. This isn’t your typical CSA with an overabundance of kale and beet greens. It has those fresh local veggies that grow great around here AND local cheese AND grass fed beef AND organic flour AND lots more. Each box comes with recipes based on the week’s ingredients, just add a few items from your pantry and you have 5 local, organic meals!

My favorite meals so far: Skewered Greek Meatballs, Savory Crepes with Asparagus, and Shiitake Mushroom Soup. (Can you tell I like savory foods??)

I love that I’m learning new skills and ingredients all while eating local. And, I have to admit, I love the feeling of adding a prepped meal to my freezer for those busy September days I know are coming. Feels good to put money in the bank!



birthday traditions

For the past five years, Morgan’s spoiled me with a homemade birthday cake.

It’s always different. It’s always a surprise. It always makes me feel special.


Pistachio cake with chocolate ganache,

topped with pistachios and a handcrafted marzipan flower


Chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting covered in chocolate ganache


New York cheesecake with strawberry rhubarb topping


Almond cake layered with lemon curd and almond meringue


This year, she surprised me by recreating the amazing coconut creme cake from our Sister Trip to Charleston! When she cut a slice out, I started jumping up and down because the layers were orange and pink ombre!! {The layers of the cake were dark pink at the top and gradually became lighter towards the bottom. Amazing!} Only in my wildest Pinterest dreams did I imagine being spoiled with an ombre cake!

Thanks for making me feel so special! Love you, Mo!

{I’m hoping some close up photos of the cake come my way so you can see the layers better. I was just too excited to wait any longer!}

xo, jess

Cross Country Skiing 101

Over President’s Day weekend, I set out on my first cross country skiing adventure. In fact, it was my first skiing adventure of any kind! Lucky for me I was with a very patient and kind group who didn’t mind a slower pace (even though we figured out later they had 72 years combined skiing experience!)

With some coaching (and quite a few falls), I finally found my rhythm.

During lunch, we enjoyed the gushing Nooksack River and Anna’s poetry reading.

A day of fun and new adventures!

Thanks to Charlotte for the photos!

Sister Trip: Asheville

After eating our way through Charleston, Morgan and I headed to Asheville.

Straight away, we settled into our cozy quarters at Hotel Indigo.

The duvets! The stump night stand!

We lounged around for a bit and literally ran out the door after seeing an ad for Pies in Disguise at the local market. (Which later inspired Morgan to disguise her own pies.)

Photo from Pies in Disguise

Turns out the Pies in Disguise booth wasn’t there that week, BUT we did meet blogging idol Ashley of Small Measure.

Ashley of Small Measure

So fun to meet her after following her blog for years! We chatted about pickling and cheese making and referenced Grace from Design Sponge like an old friend. Sigh.

We couldn’t get enough of Asheville’s fresh, local food. Especially when paired with cute pint glasses, decadent chocolates, or fun music like The Yellow Kites.

Cutest Pint Glass Ever from Tupelo Honey Cafe

Market Peaches

Recapping the day at French Broad Chocolates

All in all, an amazing trip.

2011 Book List

I’ve kept a book journal of some sort for most of my life. Sometimes in commercial book journals, sometimes in regular notebooks.

I found my middle school book journal while at my mom’s house over Christmas. I loved seeing how my handwriting changed, how my choice of books became more sophisticated (from R.L. Stine to J.D. Salinger), and my dedicated record keeping (a summary and recommendation for every book).

These quotes are too good not to share {circa 1995}:

“I would recommend this book because I think the whole world would want to live in a house full of the March’s love.” {Little Women}

“There was a lot of jibber-jabber that didn’t have to be in the book” {The Babysitter}

“I hated to part company with Scarlett because she was so real to me.” {Gone with the Wind}

I’m still keeping a book journal, but this year, I decided to keep a ‘visual bookshelf’ with images of book covers in a simple powerpoint.

My 2011 Visual Bookshelf


xo, jess

Sister Trip: Charleston

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Way back in August, Morgan and I took a Sister Trip to the South. Our first stop was Charleston, South Carolina.

I fell in love with the palmetto-lined streets, rich history, and general grandeur. Luckily, we had the Design*Sponge Charleston Guide to help us narrow our choices.

Waterfront Park

What would YOU do if you found a random door on the beach? The answer was obvious to us: Photoshoot!

Fort Moultrie Beach

Fort Moultrie Beach

Four months later, I’m still thinking about all the delicious food we enjoyed:

fried green tomatoes with bacon jam from Husk

10 layer coconut cake from Peninsula Grill

peach bellinis at FIG

coffee and treats at Baked

Fried Green Tomatoes with Bacon Jam

St. Michael’s Episcopal Church

Next Stop: Asheville, North Carolina!

Lives Worth Living

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This new documentary about the disability rights movement is on my ‘must-see’ list.

The more I learn about disability history, the more I’m shocked.

By the conditions.

By the mistreatment.

By the fact that kids I care deeply about would have been institutionalized 40 years ago.

I’m eager to see what the next 40 years bring…

And how I’ll be a part of it.

September Kiva Loan

The start of school left little time for blogging, but I did manage to find time to make my September Kiva loan.

Akouavi lives in Togo with her young son. My loan will help her buy four jugs of oil, two bags of rice, two bags of beans, one box of tomatoes, two boxes of sugar, one box of toilet paper, three boxes of chicken, and two boxes of fish. I love her specificity!

Image from Kiva