Posts tagged kitchen

(image by abi porter)

 “One of the true hazards of writing is that you yearn to write deeply honest things that rise up from lessons learned the hard way… then you have to learn those lessons the hard way.”

~ Shauna Neiquist in Cold Tangerines

This week I have been unpacking. A little early perhaps, as Firwood Cottage is not move-in ready just yet, but life does not wait and I’ve got things to accomplish. And so I pad about in stocking feet on a floor still hardening, trying to figure what to do with Too-Much-Stuff.

Way too-much-stuff. 

Which leads me to worrying. Where will I put it all? What should I get rid of? Those dishes I’ve had since our early years that I still like but don’t need? That pine hutch that takes up so much space and sticks out so far into a room too small but would be perfect for our too-big TV.?

I ask Phil.

Eyeing my too-big stack of pie pans waiting on the kitchen counter for a place to live, he answers honestly, “You don’t need pie pans. You don’t bake pies, Di.”

And just that fast I’m ruffled and annoyed and ready for combat. Because, you see, Phil’s mom made pies, and so did mine. Delicious, memory-making, mouth-watering pies: rhubarb, French apple, Boston cream, cherry- with real, straight-from-the-tree, pitted-one-at-a-time cherries.

Real women make pies. 

And now I’m not worrying about my too-much-stuff anymore, now I’m feeling my identity crumble the way my once-upon-a-time pie crusts did. Before I stopped making pies.

I live with an image of who I wish I were, of the woman I want to be: The woman with a perfectly ironed apron tied around her perfectly tiny waist, pulling a perfect pie out of her perfectly clean oven to feed her perfect family in her perfectly tidy-all-the-time house.

And then I look at me. Covered in dust from pulling boxes out of a disastrously dirty garage. Disheveled and discombobulated over too much stuff with a mind that can’t stop writing words when really I should be figuring this out.

And I don’t make pies.

Which I could excuse away if I could just keep my house perfect, but I can’t… or at least I don’t.

I want to, you see, but I live with two big men who live big lives.

My son, saving for his future, rushing off each morning, returning late every night, building, dreaming, doing, working… and messing up my tidy little house.

And Phil, that man I love, the one who reminds me that I don’t make pies— whose list is always too long and whose life is always too full. The one who dreams big dreams and packs life tight and invites me to join him in his journey.

How in the world am I going to live in this little house with two big men… and their piles of Too-Much-Stuff?  Too not-very-tidy men whose image of who they are is not in the least tied to how perfectly kept this house is. 

I go to sleep under the itchy wool of all my worries, waking up wound tight, uptight. It is dark, rain washing the coming day like those German hausfraus of my growing up years, who scrubbed the front step first thing every single morning, their own beauty all caught up in the cracked concrete.

Is that me?

Do I really believe this house is too small? Or is it just right? In our budget, with room to spare— for being generous, for living free. Just the right size for doing life different, the way God is calling us, the way we are longing to live in this fun, no-pie-baking chapter of our lives together.

For this former ugly-house to become home, our home— home for my two messy men and me— a woman learning to be who I am, learning to let go of who I am not— I am going to have to do more than unpack a few boxes. In fact, in order for Firwood cottage to become a place of rest and refuge, a place for refreshment and fun and good times, I am going to need to hang on to truths I know, but too soon forget.

  1. That real women aren’t perfect.
  2. That real women don’t expect perfection from themselves or those they love.
  3. That real women aren’t afraid to let go of the past because they’re so excited about future hope, they hardly notice old glories.
  4. That real women always make room for more life.

And that, my dear girls, is what living my life “hid in Christ” is looking like right now.

Messy, confusing, satisfying, exhilarating, daring, unconventional, and clinging close to the One who promises to finish this project of remaking me into a real woman.

And so, I ask you the questions that woke me up this morning:

Can we… women fitting ourselves tight in the Shadow of the Almighty (Psalm 91), learn to be who we are by simply coming in close to who He is?

Can we… women of such worth, such intrinsic value, (Matthew 6:19-34) stop trying to be perfect in order to learn to be holy? Wholly His, caught up in Him? Lost in His perfection?

Can we... women set free, (Galatians 5:13-15) give others room to become who they are? Letting go of tidy theories, those expectations that tie them tight and choke the life out of every one of us?

Can we live large and small at the same time?

From my heart,


P.S. Are you like me? Do you cling to an image of who you wish you were but in honest moments, realize you’re not? And that, indeed, you’re not meant to be? 

Please grace us with your stories, your wisdom, your struggles… we learn from each other…

P.S.S. I gave my pile of pie pans to a friend who makes pies…



When my daughter Elizabeth was a little girl she loved to play beside me in the kitchen. Wrapped in a too-large apron, standing on a chair, my little Beth stirred and created and chattered joy beside me.

As she grew older she ignored my closely followed recipes and experimented with ideas of her own. Beetza’s Pizzas were a favorite of her brother’s friends who crowded into our kitchen for more.

Overtime, Elizabeth began to discover both the benefits and the beauty of pure, whole foods. She developed a passion for feeding her own family delicious meals, searching for recipes and inventing her own.

What fun we’ve all had tasting her creations-in-process!

Elizabeth has led the way in our family towards a more God-honoring way of feeding our bodies. She’s helped us to see, in that hope-filled way of hers, the importance of choosing to cook and gather and eat the way we were meant to.

I am proud to learn from my daughter. And I’m thrilled that she’s taking time from her busy life as a wife and mom and ministry leader to share her research and recipes with all of us.

Every Friday Elizabeth will bring us something new. A meal, a treat, a fresh way of preparing what’s in season. She’ll add to our ideas and motivate us to love in the Kitchen.

Now it is my turn to learn at my daughter’s side. Join us, will you?

From my heart,


VITAMIX: by michele fordice

  At Christmas time I was gifted the money to buy something I had been wanting to purchase for a long time but just didn't have the chunk of change to make the splurge. What, you might ask? A Vitamix blender. I know, I know, who would dream of buying a blender?! Well, it is much more then just a blender. It can pulverize anything and everything you put inside of it and will literally last you the rest of your life. Our whole family is kind of obsessed with it and we use it a minimum of 3-4 times a day.

I've been wanting to shout it from the roof tops and tell everyone I know to go buy one... however a commercial grade blender is not exactly in everyone's monthly budget.

When I heard how my dear friend, Michele, saved up to by a Vitamix for her family I begged her to share it on the blog.



VITAMIX: by michele fordice


On most days I have about 5 new ideas.

To be honest, very few of my genius ideas actually come to fruition.  Some just weren’t good to begin with.  But most of the time, I just don’t follow through and implement.  I am a constant visionary.  I currently have two entrepreneurial ideas circling my prayer life right now.  And who knows where they’ll go.  My biggest problem -- when I start one project, 5 others seem to appear in the process.  It goes a little something like this:

“Hey, babe!  Let’s paint our room!” (That’s code for, “Jay, will YOU please paint our room?”).

That quickly leads to:

“Honey, should we paint the study too?”

Which, of course, leads to:

“Gee, let’s sell our couch and get a new one. Oh, and we need some new pillows here….”

And so it begins.  Sound familiar?

That’s why I shouldn’t have been surprised when our entire house was thrown in upheaval the second Elizabeth made a small, extremely generous offer.  Preparing for a family trip, Elizabeth offered to let me borrow her Vitamix.  I was beyond thrilled…and a bit surprised.  I mean, really?  Not only is Elizabeth gorgeous and sweet hearted, but she’s kind.  Who lets a neighbor borrow a crazy expensive kitchen appliance?

I had heard a ton of things about this little miracle machine.  But, I needed to see first-hand what all the ridiculous chatter was about. (And my own mediocre blender had just gone belly up.)  A week passed and the only problem I was facing was the fact that the Mossers were on their way home and my kale in my garden wasn’t keeping up with the demands of our smoothie obsession…

…Oh, and that meant my new favorite toy was going to have to be returned.  Visions of us living without the most amazing smoothies and homemade peanut butter and pesto and anything else I could think to blend turned to nightmares.  How was I going to make my post workout green drink or hide kale in the boy’s afternoon smoothies (and not have chunks floating around)?  There was no way we had money budgeted to splurge on an expensive kitchen appliance.

(Elliot finishing my smoothie after drinking his)

And so, my visionary brain kicked in.  And this time I had the nightmares of life without a Vitamix to motivate me.

So, with my husband’s encouragement, I started a “FUN fund.”  I took a long look at our house and began a list of all the things we really didn’t need.  I purged my kitchen, bedrooms, garage and anything that wasn’t functional in our house and decided it was time they needed to find a new home to dwell.  Two months later, thanks to Craigslist, I had sold $800 worth items.

From our “FUN fund,” we were able to buy our beloved Vitamix and put an end to my nightmares of life without kale smoothies.  And, in true Michele fashion, we added a new couch and several new pillows to the mix.  Oh yeah, and a little paint for the bedroom and a bedspread.  (I told you, my ideas always multiply.)  It was like Christmas in July. 

If you are anything like me, the decision to buy something expensive, like a Vitamix, isn’t easy.  Money is tight.  I want to stick to my budget.  I want to honor the Lord with my resources.  But, like you, my heart is also to feed my boys GOOD tasting, GOOD for you foods on a budget.  Foods that we call “GO” foods, not “slow” foods that are going to bring us down.  I saw a Vitamix as a way to help me accomplish that, whipping up smoothies, sauces, peanut butter, jams…and I can’t wait to try some winter squash soup this fall!  And my summer purge helped me make it happen.

(homemade peach and strawberry jam)

Eating healthy and providing a diverse cuisine doesn’t ALWAYS have to be spendy.  It just might take some creativity.  Bringing value to our home and marriage is a personal priority to me.  To show my husband respect and that I appreciate his hard work.  To not spend money flippantly on items that don’t provide a function or purpose in our home.

How do you bring value to your kitchen or create space for a “FUN fund”?  Buying in bulk with a friend and splitting the goods.  Use coupons.  Have a side business.  Do meal swaps with groups of like minded foodies.  Make homemade baby food.  Purchase portions of cows, pigs, etc.  Buy into a co op.  Preserve summer’s fruits and veggies.

The ideas are endless.

Will you please share your creative ideas?  We can learn so much from one another to be more industrious, creative and frugal!



  • Costco carries them for a discounted price whenever they are having a live demo. Click here to see demo schedules.
  • Bed Bath and Beyond also carries them and often has 20% coupons.
  • They can also be found on Craigslist!