Kindergarten Graduate!

Now that it’s almost time to go back to school, I’m playing catch up! And I’d like to present to you our Kindergarten graduate! Ben’s school did the sweetest graduation for all of the kindergarteners. It was so special.

It’s amazing how much he’s changed in the two months since his last day of Kindergarten. I’m really looking forward to his upcoming year as a first grader!

Ben is SEVEN!

Ben is really, really growing up! It feels like seven is such a turning point for a kiddo to transition from a little kid to a big kid. Gosh, he is getting so big and has become so capable. It’s been suuuuch a fun year with Ben!

Ben’s stats:

  • Weight: around 46 pounds
  • Height: about 49 inches
  • Clothing size: kids small (6/7)
  • Shoe size: kids 13
  • Number of teeth lost: 2!!
  • Favorite foods: crackers, pizza from school lunch, tacos, mac & cheese from The Old Mill
  • Favorite activities: playing outside, climbing, running, riding his bike, doing art projects, skiing, spending time with friends/family, jumping on the trampoline

Ben’s personality is certainly evolving as he gets a bit older. He is wildly inquisitive and curious – the depth of his inquisitions is honestly a bit mind boggling, as are the connections he makes. He is incredibly thoughtful and caring, so friendly, confident yet cautious, loving, cuddly and just so funny.

Ben has always been extremely independent. He really appreciates being able to do all the things for himself and on his own, and he also likes to make his own decisions. He craves autonomy in every way imaginable.

Ever since Ben was in utero he just didn’t stop moving. That continues to hold true for the most part. Ben is incredibly active and has impressive endurance. That said, if he’s interested in creating something or working on a project, he’s content to be still and focused.

This year Ben was on the Nordic ski team and played soccer in the spring. He took Spanish and swimming lessons in the fall. He’s certainly starting to refine what he loves and doesn’t really enjoy. I’m quite curious what this next year will look like for him in terms of the activities he chooses to pursue.

Some of my core memories of Ben are watching him ride his bike at the Leavenworth pump track – even as early as a two-year old. He is an impressive and confident biker. He has some remarkable goals on his mountain bike this summer.

Skiing with Ben is a sheer delight, I think for anyone. He is so much fun to ski with. If you can keep up with him, that is. He loves ducking off into the trees, finding the wildest bump sections to cruise through. It is simply a blast skiing with him.

Ben and his sister are the very best of friends. Sure, they argue and fight like siblings, but their love for each other gives me all the warm fuzzies. One of my absolute favorite things is to watch the two of them play pretend together.

Ben is at the tail end of his second year in kindergarten. We are SO happy with our decision to have him move into the school in town and begin with kindergarten. He is learning things that he wasn’t taught last year and his reading and writing foundation is incredibly solid now. He’s made some really lovely friends and he got to have another year where play was a part of the school day. He’s almost a first grader!

It sure seems like we have a lot of big kid changes on the horizon. I am really, really enjoying this phase of life with Ben and am also really looking forward to seeing how he continues to grow and change. What a guy he is!

Ben is six

Ben is five

Ben is four

Ben is three

Ben is two

Ben is one

Spring 2023

Our spring is flying by this year, and gosh it’s been a nice one! The transition from winter to spring was very slow – it took quite a while for the snow to melt and for it to really warm up. For the last three or four weeks we’ve been enjoying the absolute best spring weather!

The wildflowers this spring have been absolutely spectacular this spring. The hillsides are exploding with bright yellow balsamroot and purple lupine. I’ve started to see the orangey red Indian paintbrush popping up here and there, too.

We’ve been getting out to hike, run and ride bikes as often as possible to enjoy the wildflowers and sunshine.

Ben has been playing soccer this spring, though his season has already wrapped up. As with every soccer season he’s progressed tremendously from the start to the end. It seems like he’s enjoyed this season and probably made the greatest transformation. He scored his first goal ever during his last game! It was an absolutely incredible shot and I really hope I always remember that moment. It was a big one.

Hannah started doing ballet in January and absolutely loves it. Her recital is coming up tomorrow!

Alex has been getting out on weekly trail runs with the local trail running group. They’ve covered a lot of ground so far – this was a major highlight of his summer last year and I have a feeling that will be the case this year, too. He has also been mountain biking regularly and has been loving riding with friends and exploring new trails.

So far I’ve only gotten out on my mountain bike once, but have been hiking or running most days. It’s been so fun getting out exploring. It’s even better when Alex or a friend joins me.

We’re days away from planting the garden, though with the warm spring we’ve had, it seems we could have put everything in the ground several weeks ago. You just never know! Our strawberries are bursting with flowers – I am so excited to see how much they produce in their second year.

Our property is just over three acres, so there is a lot to do to maintain it year-round. We always have a very long spring clean-up list, and this year was no different. We’ve made really terrific progress, though it seems like there will always be projects. My car survived the long winter and mud season and has been staying pretty clean, thanks to regular maintenance touch-ups.

The grandparent parade has begun! My mom came for a visit a few weeks ago and she brought the gorgeous weather with her. We enjoyed a lot of time outside together.

Alex’s parents arrived recently and are spending several weeks with us this spring. My dad will come visit next month, as well. The kids are loving having grandparents here! It’s been so fun.

We are rounding the corner real fast towards the last day of school and a big birthday for Ben! We have so much to look forward to as we make the transition from spring to summer. More to come soon!

Winter Recap

You’ll have to excuse me from a two-plus month hiatus from blogging. Really, I’m not sure what I would have written about, aside from skiing, since that seems to be all we did this winter. And goodness was it fun!

Our winter started early this year – November 3rd, to be exact. We got our first snowfall that day and the Nordic trails opened just a few days later. The cards were stacked in my favor this year – it turned out I picked the right winter to embark on the challenge of skiing 100 days.

The beginning of winter is my absolute favorite time of the year. There is so much excitement and anticipation of snow, skiing, Christmas and all the joy that comes with the holidays.

This holiday season was no exception. We had such a snowy December and the kids are at such fun ages to really get into the Christmas spirit. It felt extra special.

Alex’s family came to join us a few days after Christmas. Ben and Hannah had the best time playing with their cousins. It is such a treasured relationship.

Alex’s parents stayed with us for most of the month of January. It was so fun having them for an extended period of time, and watching them get acquainted with winter in the mountains.

The prime winter days were largely spent skiing, unsurprisingly.

Ben participated in the local Nordic team again and absolutely loved his experience. He leaned into his competitive side during his first Nordic races – he did the 1K in both races.

A really fun non-skiing highlight of the winter was Ben *finally* losing his first tooth! He’s been eagerly awaiting that moment for years now. I wasn’t sure Ben could be any cuter, but it turns out, he is even more adorable with his little toothless smile. His first tooth came out the night before Valentine’s day, followed by the second one two weeks later.

Just after Christmas Hannah started ballet. She absolutely LOVES it.

Hannah’s downhill skiing ability took off in leaps and bounds this winter. She started the season completely unwilling to ski on her own and finished it as an independent skier, capable of skiing most blues at Stevens Pass, our local resort.

I had no idea how much fun you can have skiing with your children, but it turns out it’s one of the best parts of parenthood, at least in my experience. Both Ben and Hannah are just so much fun to ski with.

Hannah dances down the mountain and you can tell by looking at her that she’s having a blast. Ben is a completely different skier – he is so focused and so unbelievably fast. I really have to work hard to keep up! But he loves to check out new lines, find the best jumps and cruise through the trees.

Alex started a new job just before Christmas and he’s been hard at work during the day, which has left us little time to ski together this year. I’m holding out hope for next winter! We did manage to sneak in a few Nordic laps at lunch and one alpine day when the kids were in ski school.

Of my 100+ days, many of the weekday ski hurrahs were on my own. I really leaned into Nordic skiing, partly because I absolutely love it, and partly due to the convenience.

One of my favorite ski days of the whole season was the first time I took Brooks with me to the See ‘n Ski trail sort of near our house. I’m not sure exactly what made it so fun – was it Brooks? Or the variability in the trail? The sunshine? All of the above?

The kids had the week of Presidents’ Day off of school, so we made it an adventure week! It was a blast. And exhausting! We went rock climbing, skiing, to the gymnastics gym, and we took a day trip to Seattle.

This winter was a bit fickle for our ice rink. Christmas day marked the beginning of a six+ week warm stretch filled with rain, rain and more rain. The temps dropped just after Presidents’ Day and Alex resurrected the rink! He had the best curling night and the kids invited a bunch of their friends over and ended up essentially playing broomball without even realizing it.

I’m really into “challenges” this year I guess. Another challenge I’m in the middle of is cooking my way through the Half Baked Harvest Super Simple cookbook. It is SO GOOD. I have loved this delicious challenge and it has really helped pull me out of a seriously boring food rut.

I have so many highlights from this winter it’s really hard to narrow them down to not make this an entire novel. Skiing with friends and family, silent morning coffees with a book, watching my kids grow up, trying new things, chicken fingers at the ski lodge, volunteering in the lunchroom, watching the fire, Saturday date nights at home, watching the snow fall, listening to my kids laugh, getting hugs, ice skating in our yard, nearly finishing the guesthouse, and being home. All the little things made this winter what it was. Unforgettable.

Ski Season!

This is my absolute favorite time of the year. Bring on the snow!! And let’s go skiing! I’ve come to realize in adulthood that winter is the time I am often happiest. As a mother, some of the moments I feel most confident and joyful are when I am taking my kids skiing, either alpine or nordic. It’s such an important part of our lives.

This year we started out alpine skiing with one completely independently skiing kiddo. Three cheers for that!!

And our Hannah girl, true to form, hadn’t been ready to be skiing on her own. Physically she was there, and had been since last season, but she likes for us to somehow be connected. The least back-breaking way for that to happen is for Alex or me to hold one end of a ski pole with Hannah next to us, holding the other end, and skiing down together.

We could tell that she was at a breakthrough moment and managed to get her into a private ski lesson at Stevens Pass. The timing was perfect and by the end of her private lesson she was an independent skier! And now she is absolutely crushing it!!

Ben joined the local nordic team again, and Alex is coaching. We absolutely love that our community drops everything to support the ski team and rally around these kids. The spirit of our small rural, mountain community is filled with love, support and connection. We feel so fortunate to be a part of it.

This year Ben competed in two WA Nordic Cup races, classic skiing without poles in both. Especially at his first race he did exceptionally well. The lack of poles did not do him any favors, though! He’s a great little skier and was so proud of the ribbon he was given for his participation.

We’ve been skiing as much as possible as a family, both alpine and nordic.

Alex and I managed to get a ski day at Stevens in while both kids were simultaneously at ski school. We had so much fun skiing together!

I set a goal to ski at least 100 days this season. As of writing this, I’m at day 54 {and 28 consecutive!}. Luckily for me, we got such an early start to ski season I think I should be able to make this happen! It’s been a really fun challenge.

Our winter has been so incredible so far, and we still have so much of it left to enjoy! It feels like we’re living and breathing skiing right now, which is so much fun. We surely belong in the mountains and are so happy to be here.

Holiday Season

Now that the holidays are behind us we’re diligently focused on ski season. We had such a lovely holiday season, though it felt a little different this year.

The lead-up to Christmas felt so long this year. This is due, mostly, I think, to the wildly early start to winter. We’ve had snow covering the ground since November 3rd. It kick-started our winter and the anticipation of Christmas and the holiday season.

It felt weird to have a snow-covered ground and pumpkins and fall decor, but I just couldn’t bring myself to decorate for Christmas before Thanksgiving. We waited until the day after Thanksgiving to bring out all the holiday things. This is my absolute favorite time of the year, so, it was hard to not dive right in and start doing all the Christmas things right away.

New this year was our fake tree. Ack! I can hardly say it. Really, it was beautiful and it filled our space perfectly, but still, it’s not a real tree. Despite my disdain for fake trees, I am glad we did it, and dang it was nice not stringing the lights this year!

As December carried on, we filled our days with baking and eating cookies, skiing, ice skating, sledding, shoveling and drinking hot chocolate. We did SO much.

Ben finished up school mid-December, then recessed until after the new year. Alex had the same timeframe off of work, too, so we had two entire weeks off at home together. It was so special.

Amidst the fun was a whole lot of chaos as we were racing to the finish line to try to get the guesthouse done and ready for its first occupants: Alex’s parents! Trucks lined our driveway and the crew was in and out, working tirelessly to finish up the loose ends, get the cabinets finished up, install the last of the things and get the tile set in the bathroom.

The guys turned the guesthouse over to us, temporarily, on December 23rd and we scrambled to move in and get everything settled for Alex’s parents to arrive on Christmas day. There are still a few projects to complete, like the kitchen backsplash and finishing the railings in the stairway, but it’s livable now!

Some of our Christmas Eve traditions include making cinnamon rolls, making lasagna and reading The Night Before Christmas by the fire. This year we took the loveliest stroll via snowshoes – I hope to make that a Christmas Eve tradition.

The enthusiasm and anticipation of Christmas was so high among our eldest. Ben is truly like a real-live Buddy the Elf – he loves Christmas more than anyone I have ever met. Unsurprisingly, he was up at 4:48 on Christmas morning, eager to investigate and enjoy the day!

Christmas morning was delightful, despite the rain outside. We opened gifts, savored Alex’s cinnamon rolls {a new recipe this year!}, played together and FaceTimed with family across the country.

The delight waned when we received word that Alex’s family’s flight, originally scheduled for Christmas Day, had been canceled. We had been so excited for their arrival and it was such a disappointment that their trip was to be postponed several days.

While we awaited their delayed arrival the weather turned from rain to ice and we ultimately lost power. Always an adventure! We ended up camping out at home for several days while the roads crews literally chipped away at the ice. The mountain passes ended up being closed for days on end.

Finally, late in the week, Alex’s parents, sister and her family arrived! The kids instantly re-connected like no time had passed. They also couldn’t wait to tear into their Christmas gifts.

We had such a fun long weekend with everyone. We skied, sledded, ice skated, played together, rang in the new year and had such a lovely time.

After we said goodbye to Alex’s sister and her family we switched gears to getting back into the swing of things in the new year. The kids went back to school and Alex went back work. Alex’s parents are still here for the next few weeks and we’re getting into our new groove. And that’s a wrap!

2022 Recap… A Year in Review

This last year has been one of my absolute favorites. We are getting settled in our life in the mountains, we’re all making new friends, figuring out a balance and enjoying so much time together as a family. It helps that our kids are in such a golden age right now – they still like us, they like each other and they’re getting more independent and resilient and their stamina continues to grow.

Our 2022 kicked off with a massive snow dump. It was intense! We got somewhere around 55″ of snow in about 36 hours.

After we dug ourselves out of that snowstorm, it was as though Mother Nature was done with snow for the winter. She just gave it to us all at once, then not again until it all melted in April.

The huge snowstorm set us up for a very long ski season. I didn’t keep track of all of our ski days, but I had around 65 last year, the kids around 55.

I absolutely fell in love with skate skiing {a type of Nordic skiing where it’s like you’re skating on skis – you can get going quite fast and it is tremendous exercise!}.

Ben joined the Nordic ski team in our little community. He competed in his first ski race and just loved the fanfare and spectacle of the event.

Our base of snow eventually gave way to clear pavement and melted out trails in town and we started having dual-sport days – skiing and biking!

Much to my reluctance, Alex bought me a mountain bike for my birthday. I really thought I’d hate it – you know, flying down the hill making sharp turns, trying to avoid hitting a tree. I figured I’d be too anxious to enjoy it, but actually, I loved it. I have a tremendous amount to learn and so much practice to get under my belt!

Ben is also the proud new owner of a real-deal mountain bike with disc brakes, a suspension and a bunch of gears. It is so beautiful. He actually hated how it looked and refused to ride it. Our friend, Amanda, found these incredible rainbow bike graphics and gave them to Ben as a birthday gift. Now it’s perfect!

Early in the spring our little 3-year-old-at-the-time Hannah made up her mind that she was ready to ride a two-wheel pedal bike, so off she went!

The spring was dubbed “sprinter” {spring-winter} and was very cold – it just never seemed to warm up. Like ever.

We broke ground on our very own garden this spring! Alex set up irrigation and fencing, and together we prepared the soil. Hannah was my helper to plant all of the starts. The garden ended up being wildly successful and one of the coolest things I have ever done before. It brought so much joy to all of us to go and check what was growing and then harvest our bounty. Unsurprisingly, we learned a tremendous amount, too.

Summer eventually did come, though not until mid-to-late June. We had the busiest summer of all-time. It was ridiculous. Fun, but way, way too much. Memorial Day weekend was spent celebrating Ben’s 6th birthday in Winthrop, Washington.

We took our first family of four camping trip to San Juan Island in early June. Several families from Ben’s school were at the camping trip as well – it was so lovely. We loved taking the kids out to the Sound {Puget Sound} and letting them see a completely different environment than our mountain valley. Plus, the camping was a blast!

After Ben’s school year wrapped up, we squeezed in a week-long trip down to Bend, Oregon. A highlight was seeing Crater Lake. Ben was sick the whole time we were there {don’t worry, the rest of us got it eventually, too} and was just suuuuper low energy. We still made the most of it – we visited Mt Bachelor Ski Resort, The High Desert Museum, went kayaking, and at the very end, he had enough stamina to do a mountain bike ride.

Here and there, throughout the summer, we were able to fit in trips to the pool, a couple of camp sessions for Ben and a few trips to the farmers market.

Much of the summer was spent hosting visitors and taking regional trips here and there. We had the pleasure of seeing so many wonderful friends and getting to know their children.

Hannah’s fourth birthday was celebrated in Seabrook, Washington, a darling town on the Washington coast. She had her first-ever birthday party, complete with a watermelon theme. It was such a special time for her!

We put an end to our air travel hiatus and flew to Wisconsin to catch up with Alex’s family. We hadn’t seen our nephews for 2.5 years. It was such a special week together!

While we were in Wisconsin, Alex got to visit his grandmother, Nana. A month later she passed away. We all have so many memories and stories of Nana. What a special human she was.

Shortly after we returned from Wisconsin, I turned around and took the kids back to my hometown and family cabin in Minnesota for Labor Day weekend. We also got to see my BFF, Sarah, and one of her daughters. It was such a lovely end to the summer.

September arrived, and with it, the new school year. Ben transferred to the main public school in town, 30ish minutes away. Hannah returned to the nature preschool she attended last year – this year she’s going four days a week.

Along with the school year, the smoke arrived. There were multiple wildfires within 15-20 miles of our house and the smoke from the blazes infiltrated our valley. It was awful. Our air quality was horrendous nearly every day, and it lasted for more than two months.

We had to be very strategic about our outdoor outings during “smoke season.” We managed to escape the smoke a few times and went camping with some friends, we checked out a new state park and went on a family mountain bike ride and made it to the Chelan County Fair.

Mostly, though, our fall was spent indoors. We did a lot of baking, coloring, had lots of story time, and relaxed. We would have much preferred the air to have been fresh; however, we did appreciate the opportunity to catch up on some rest and focus on projects at home after our bonkers summer.

{Pantry overhaul!!}

The stars aligned for Alex and me one day to get the kids off to school and then make a bee-line for Colchuck Lake, which is located in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. We didn’t have much time to make the nearly 9-mile hike to the lake, so we ran it. It was one of my favorite days of all-time. The run was the most challenging physical pursuit I’ve ever undertaken and the reward at the lake was absolutely worth it. And! Somehow, the air was clear and we made it back for pick-up!

By mid-October the weather pattern finally changed and the smoke dissipated. We jumped at the opportunity to get our house and yard ready for winter, we played in the leaves, went for hikes, spent time down by the river and tried to get in as much time outside as possible.

Little did we know, winter would be arriving at the very beginning of November! We were surprised to receive about 8-inches of snow in the first week. The temps stayed cold, and the snow never left. We have been Nordic skiing since the second week of November!

Our early start to winter has been a blast. The kids are loving the snow play and Alex and I are getting out to ski most days. I have a goal to ski 100 days this winter {Nordic and alpine combined}, and Ben’s ski team coach is pushing all the kids to try to ski 50 days this year. I think we can do it!

Throughout the year slow and steady progress has been made on our garage and guesthouse build. It was a mad dash to the finish line and it’s almost complete now. We have our first guests currently staying there, actually! It has been a very long process, which we have enjoyed, and we’re so excited to have a garage and guesthouse.

The holidays are my absolute favorite time of year. I relish in the nostalgia of going through our Christmas decorations, watching the kids delight as they trim the tree. I just love baking cookies and making gifts for friends and family, and it brings me so much joy opening holiday cards from friends and family around the world. I do keep our holiday cards and love looking back on them year-to-year.

As 2022 comes to a close, I am looking to 2023 with a calm smile. Of course none of us know what lies ahead, what challenges or opportunities will come down the pike. Wishing you all a 2023 filled with joy, good health, fun adventures and community.

An Early Start to Winter

This fall was truly the strangest. We had three months of smoke, followed by literally two weeks of fall weather, then, just a few days after Halloween we got 8 inches of snow! The first weeks of November were unseasonably chilly, so the snow stuck around and is here to stay. I’ve lost count, but I’m positive we’ve had more than 50 inches of snow so far.

The early snow caught pretty much everyone off guard, us included. I think we were more ready than a lot of people, but there is truly so much to do to prepare for the snow around here.

Hannah had a really easy transition to wearing her snow gear to school and being outside all day in the cold. Thankfully her body runs pretty hot, so I’m sure that worked in her favor when the weather changed so abruptly. I buy her gear from Reima, which is an incredible Scandinavian company.

Within a few days of the first big snowfall the Nordic ski trails near us miraculously opened! I still can’t believe it. Not only did they open on November 11th, they stayed open.

I set a goal for the winter to get 100 days on skis in. I’m really glad I was able to get such an early jump-start, as it’s harder to squeeze in a ski than I expected! I am at 20 days so far. Now that winter is really here I’m hoping to ski most days.

The kids have already had several days on skis, too!

I’m so impressed, particularly with Hannah, this year. On the first Nordic ski day we were able to make it so much farther and Hannah had so much more endurance than she did last year. I really can’t wait to see how that translates into downhill skiing this year.

It took a few extra weeks for the resorts to open up alpine skiing, and by now, they’re open.

We were also able to get our skating rink up and running!

Both kids are skating so well! These are Hannah’s first days of ice skating unsupported on her own and she is so sturdy and stable. Ben is figuring out that if he slows down, he falls less. Alex is working on his hockey stop.

Now that winter is officially beginning this week, it feels like it’s been here for almost two months! The snow has truly been so much fun. I’m also not usually the one on the working end of the snow blower or shovel {thank you Alex!}. Here’s to a snowy, white winter filled with adventures and skiing!!

Ali’s Favorite Things 2022

Every holiday season for the last several years I have pulled together a list of some of my absolute favorite things. I love sharing recommendations and things I just love. Here’s this year’s!

Household Items

Ceramic pans – you may have seen these advertised on Instagram – they’re the pans you can cook scrambled eggs in without any butter or oil and they won’t stick. And it’s true!! I’m actually going to say these pans are life changing. {This is a link to the pans I have – there are several other options and brands.}

Milk frother – this was a Christmas gift from Alex last winter and I use it daily. I love this frother in particular because you can steam/froth more than 8 oz of milk.

Molly’s Suds – this may seem like a funny thing to share, but this laundry detergent is fantastic. I have been using it for years and it works *so* well. Try the stain remover, too.

Sidio Crates – a must for garage or gear organization! These are truly revolutionary stackable crates for organization. We just love them.


This year I read some absolutely delightful books. Here are some of my favorites:

Kitchen Front by Jennifer Ryan

The Bookwoman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michelle Richardson

The Bookwoman’s Daughter by Kim Michelle Richardson

Good Inside by Dr Becky Kennedy

Miss Eliza’s English Kitchen by Annabel Abbs

Magnolia Journal – a quarterly publication I enjoy tremendously. This is the most thoughtful magazine I’ve ever encountered.


Half Baked Harvest Everyday by Tiegan Gerard

Baking School from King Arthur Baking


Cotopaxi coat – Have you heard of Cotopaxi!? They’re a pretty fantastic company. And they make darn good gear. I got this coat last winter and absolutely love it!

Snow boots – these boots may be my all-time favorite! I have been on a quest for the last few years to find the best pair of boots. These are lightweight, cozy, slip-on, have great traction and are waterproof. They’re exactly what I was looking for.

Athleta leggings – I’ve moved on from Zella and really feel strongly about Athleta leggings. I think they’re just amazing. I like the Salutation Stash Tight (I love the 7/8 for not winter), and the Rainier Tight is a bit thicker for winter and great, in my opinion, for running. Also! They have a fleece lined legging which is perfect for chilly winter days.

LL Bean sweatshirt – I’ve had these for years. I just love them. You can wear with anything and I love that there’s a pocket.

Vuori joggers – Ok I was skeptical about these because Vuori advertises so heavily on Instagram. Gosh I love Vuori and these joggers are the absolute best I’ve ever had.

Summersalt swimsuits – it’s not exactly swimsuit season here, but I still wanted to share this for resort season. I just *love* Summersalt suits – I’ve transitioned to mostly wearing a one-piece these days and they have an incredible variety. They are amazingly flattering. I sized up two sizes from my everyday size, though, so beware that sizes may not be as expected.

Personal items

Exfoliating face wash – this is beyond luxurious and nourishing on my skin. I just love washing my face with this. The best part is it’s extremely reasonably priced.

Body cream – so, so, so nourishing.


Fun Things

Magnetic Tiles – these were a gift from my dad on Ben’s first or second birthday and we all play with them and enjoy them *so* regularly. This is the absolute best open-ended kiddo gift. We have several of the expansion packs, too.

Giant coloring posters – we’ve had a few of these and they’ve kept my kids so engaged for hours on end. It’s a great way to delay the gratification of finishing something, too. They’re so much fun to roll out on the floor and color together as a family.

Ooly art supplies – gosh these are so much fun. My kids have a big art kit with tons of bits and bobs, as well as a variety of their markers and paints. Their temporary tattoos are such a hit with my kids. Also, their coloring books are among our favorites. {beware: their paint sticks are NOT washable!}

Peaceable Kingdom Games – I absolutely love these games, and so do my kids. They encourage teamwork, connection and problem solving, rather than winning and competition.


Reima outerwear – we run gear through the ringer and Reima is absolutely incredible and withstands forest school in the mountains, ski team and backyard snowy play. It is just the best. Our favorites are: snowsuits, waterproof mittens {truly the best mittens} and bib snowpants!

Bogs boots – the absolute best boots! My kids wear their winter boots and they keep their little toes toasty warm – even Hannah’s when she’s at school outside all day. The traction is excellent, too, and they’re easy to get on/off.

Kids Backpacks – REI just came out with a new kiddo backpack in 12 and 18 liter sizes. Hannah uses the 12L for nature school and it is the perfect size for her. These are designed *so* well.

A final closing note: while I’m always searching for the best gear and products, this year more than ever before, I’ve found myself focusing on the things that bring me the most joy. Of course those things are not things at all. More on that to come.

Halloween 2022

This was probably the most fun of any Halloween we’ve had so far! Ben and Hannah are at such a fun age to experience and enjoy the holiday.

Leading up to the big day, Ben helped me create his pine tree costume and was *very* specific about how he wanted it to look. It took a few iterations, lots of wrong Amazon purchases, and a ton of patience, but in the end, the actual creation of the pine tree costume was very quick and simple.

Hannah chose to be a witch again, preferring to wear the same costume as last year. Bless her. I opted to twin with her, again, and be a witch too.

I love to make holidays last more than one day, so we indulged in some fun cookie decorating, pumpkin painting, pumpkin carving and Halloween crafts in the weeks approaching Halloween.

On actual Halloween both kids had school and got to celebrate by wearing their costumes and having a party. They both had a wonderful day.

We had so much fun trick-or-treating in town. The businesses in our charming downtown all pass out candy for the kids. It felt extra safe since there are no cars, so that’s a bonus!

We grabbed dinner after hitting the business district, then headed for the neighborhood. Leavenworth really knows how to celebrate Halloween and goes all out! It is SO fun to see a community coming together in such a big way.

Folks were parked on their front lawns in front of a fire, spooky decorations adorned more houses than not, and all the kids in town were out trick-or-treating together. It is such a special experience.

And the best part! They’ve already forgotten about their candy 🙂