Thursday, October 1, 2015

October Letters

Dear October,
Welcome!  I am looking forward to you this year (and every year I am pretty sure).  You are full of apple crisp and pumpkin pancakes, gluten free of course.  And cozy sweaters, tall boots, and extra cuddling.  The leaves, the pumpkin patches, and the hot apple cider.  Corn mazes, scarecrows, and loads of baking. You completely embody Fall and I have a feeling that our first Fall in Vermont is going to be quite delightful around here.

Dear Career,
We are about to embark on something really big together.  I am most certainly terrified and most of all excited. There is so much work to do and things to get in order.  One thing at a time, I like to say!  I can't wait to share our newest adventure with everyone next week.  Let's do this!

Dear Leaves,
You are coming alive and the brilliant show is just getting started.  I imagine your peak will be in about two weeks.  I am constantly looking around in amazement as I drive around this gorgeous valley.  I am trying to take you in with new eyes and really recognize the wonder.  It is incredible how your lush green can morph into vibrant reds, peaches, oranges, golds, and yellows.  Stunning!  I am just loving you so much right now.

Dear Summer,
You had a brief resurgence last month which coincided with my birthday and I thank you for that.  It was warm and lovely.  With these cooler temperatures rolling in, I believe that you have officially slipped away, temporarily of course.  Don't be sad, my dear friend, the other seasons need their time to shine.  I will meet you on the other side of Spring.  Godspeed.

Dear Knitting,
We meet again.  I know we have an on-again, off-again kind of relationship, but I just can't help but feel that you are really only a cold weather hobby for me.  So you must by tickled pink that Fall is here to stay, since it just gets me into the knitting spirit!  YouTube always has to help me get back into the swing of things because I often forget some details when we haven't played for 6 months.  I am gearing up to try cabling and I think it is going to be fantastic!

Dear London,
We are coming for you - "we" being my mom and me.  The ultimate girl's trip is fast approaching and I am all sorts of giddy about it.  I am looking forward to being charmed by your amazing architecture, quaint shops, and distinguished accents.  I believe we will become fast friends with memories of our adventures to last a lifetime.  Any last suggestions of what we should see? October 10th can't come fast enough!

Dear General Conference,
You are only days away and I just love everything about you.  It's one of my favorite weekends because I always feel so reassured, valued, and inspired as I listen to our church leaders.  I know these amazing men and women are called of God.  I know that as I listen with an open and willing heart, I will be guided by the Holy Ghost in how to apply their teachings into my life.  I invite everyone to tune in to if they have a spare moment or if they are in need of some uplifting. It will certainly do the trick. 

xoxo, Katie

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Practice, Practice, Practice

I got a whole bunch of great painting stuff for my birthday. Thanks mom and dad!!  Painting is something that I have always wanted to do, and I am finally getting brave enough to actually give it go. I have been painting my heart out, because practice, practice, practice is the only way I am going to learn. 

What I learned from the landscape: 
- I need to be more patient with the paint.
- I like the abstract brush strokes more than realism.
- I need to start smaller.
- This is harder than I thought.

What I learned from the apples:
- I need to SLOW down.
- Fruit is a perfect starting place.
- I can be proud of my work when I take my time.

What I learned from the orange:
- Layering, layering, layering.  
- Don't panic if it's not great, keep working it.
- I tend to paint the colors I think it should be instead of the color it is.
(The orange was really more yellow-ish in color.)

I have no idea what I am doing but I am sure having a blast along the way. 

Monday, September 28, 2015

Gluten Free Apple Crisp (!!!)

After picking all of those wonderful apples on Saturday, we had to make an Apple Crisp last night. I got the recipe from my dear friend Laura and knew I could make it gluten free.

Gluten Free Apple Crisp
10 large apples thinly sliced 
2 T lemon juice
2 c. brown sugar
1/4 c GF flour
1 c butter (cut in cubes)
2-1/2 c GF rolled oats

Preheat oven to 350. Peel and slice apples into a 9x13 pan. Pour lemon juice over apples. Combine brown sugar and flour. Add butter cubes and rolled oats to sugar mixture. Lay sugar mixture on top of apples and pat in. Bake for 35 min or until apples are soft. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.

We decided to cut it in half and looking back on it, I am pretty sure we ended up halving only the apples and the butter.  Oooops!  So our version had lots of sugar and oats. And it was delicious.  I guess we will have to make another one.  Good luck with yours!  I know you will love it!

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Hand Picked

This afternoon we made our way to Mad Tom Orchard in East Dorset to pick some apples. Which may be my most favorite fall activity ever! The word on the orchard rows was that this was the most abundant crop of apples they have ever had... and I believe it!  They have so many apples.  We may be able to squeeze in a second round of picking if we eat our first batch of apples as fast as I think we will.  They are just so good!!

We picked mostly Gala's, since they are our favorite.  We also got 10 Macoun to make some apple crisp, which I of course will share with you soon.  It was a great afternoon to spend some time in the orchard.  The place was so big, it kind of felt like we had it to ourselves and it was absolutely gorgeous nestled there in the mountains.  After we picked all of the red fruit we could carry, we paid for our heavy 1/2 bushel bag (adding 2 donuts for Jeremy), and made our way back to our humble abode.  Apple picking is just the best.

VT Biker Gang

Today we started a pretty legit Biker Gang and forever claimed the hashtag: vtbikergang. The Biker Gang currently consists of some of our wonderful friends: Tiffany and Paul, Laura, and Jeremy and me. We have 5 members and counting!!  I am totally dying to get some fake tats to celebrate the forming of the crew.

We got together this morning to ride some great trails in the Equinox Preserve and the weather was just perfect for mountain biking.  We rode 1/2 the Pond Loop, jumped on to Trillium, did the SVAC loop, and then Flatlanders back to the pond.  Our legs were burning and we were learning how to master the trails from the experts - Tiffany and Paul.  We get better every time.  I even feel comfortable moving from "novice" to "beginner."  That's pretty big stuff right there.

Jeremy - Laura - Tiffany - Paul

It was a beautiful morning!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Cake Gallery

The coolest thing happened to me yesterday at the Cake Gallery, a local jewelry shop.  Jeremy bought me a necklace from the store for my birthday.  I didn't love it and I am not one to hold onto things I don't love.  Maybe some people will think that is kind of rude of me, but I think it makes a lot of sense.  He knew he was going out on a limb and even told the owner it was a birthday gift and that I might be back in to exchange the necklace.  And that is exactly what I did.

The owner, Meike (pronounced Micah), and I chatted as I tried on about ten necklaces until we found the perfect pair, a gold disk and the perfect gem.  I was going for some smaller, layering pieces and we found just the two to make my heart sing.  I was trying to keep the total close to what Jeremy originally spent, but I ended up owing her $25.  We went to the register to make the jewelry-match-made-in-heaven official and she asked how much cash I had.  I pulled out a $5 and said. "I can go get more cash."  She took the $5 and said, "Happy Birthday!"

I was almost speechless and super grateful.  I told her she was the coolest ever and that I would always come back to her shop.  Sooooo, everyone... head over to Cake Gallery immediately (she's right on Main Street in Bennington), or I guess you can wait and buy the prettiest locally made Vermont souvenir you could ever have when you come visit me.   Thanks Meike!  You ROCK!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Small Town Entertainment

Jeremy and I have started going to the local high school soccer games - Go Arlington Eagles! That, my friends, is sign that you live in a small town. The games are way fun to watch, though so we are just loving it.  It reminds me of when we played in the Boston soccer league last summer and had the time of our lives. 

They are about half way through the season and this week is the John Werner tournament.  Sidenote: we actually met John Werner our first week here when we were playing soccer at the park together.  We didn't realize he was such a celebrity for this town.  Anyways, we watched the boys game yesterday and it was a tough loss.  The were tied for most of the game.  

Tonight was the girl's game and it was rather exhilarating, there were hip checks and slide tackles all over the place.  Those girls are so tough.  They were down most of the game 0-1 and with 20 seconds left, I kid you not, 20 SECONDS LEFT, they scored a goal.  It was amazing!! So it went in to overtime of two 10-minute halves which were scoreless.  Then we got to the penalty kicks, which were also tied 2-2, so we then we had sudden death penalty kicks.  Not sure what the real name is for those, but it feels appropriate.  

Above is the first kicker for Arlington in the sudden death penalty kicks, sending her goal into the top left corner.  The goalie dove for it, missed the save, and half the stand cheered.  It was beautiful!!  Now it was the other team's turn.  Their player walked to the spot and dun dun dun... MISSED IT!  The rest of the team and the high school boys team rushed the field screaming.  It was really exciting and I ended up with a sweet shot of the winning goal!

Oh soccer, I love you so.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Best Day of the Year


Jeremy surprised me with a date to civilization about an hour away in Albany, New York.

We went to P.F. Changs for dinner!  I was so happy because I love Chinese food on my birthday and they are wonderful with gluten free.  After a lovely dinner of lettuce wraps and ginger chicken, we wandered Target for a while.  It feels like it has been an eternity since I have been to Target, I loved it. We have sure gotten used to the calm Vermont life, because it felt like there were just so many people and so many cars everywhere in Albany. 


{Birthday self portrait at 27}
Last year's here.

On Saturday, my birthday (woot woot!), Jeremy had to work 1/2 the day.  So I decided to climb Mount Equinox in the morning.  I have climbed it twice this summer and it's a tough and beautiful hike.  My legs scream at me for days... it feels wonderful.  I hiked it solo and I love hiking solo.  It gives me time to think, reflect, pray, and go at whatever pace I want.  Plus I get to eat all of the trail mix!

I tried to pay attention to my senses as I hiked to be fully present in the moment.  I could hear the wind bustling through the leaves.  I could hear my heart beating fiercely when I stopped to re-hydrate, the birds chirping and the chipmunks chatting. I could feel the muscles in my legs hard at work.  I was taking in the beauty around me and trying to dodge the falling acorns.  I got pelted by one in the first 10 minutes of the hike, no joke!  The higher I climbed the more numerous and colorful the fallen leaves became as they crunched under my feet.  It was just what I wanted.  I will tell you everyday and especially on my birthday, Mother Nature is my homegirl.

I sat at the top for quite a while taking pictures, journaling, eating trail mix, and chatting with fellow hikers.  I met a couple that was celebrating their 50th Wedding Anniversary and we decided it certainly was the best day of the year.  It really was a gorgeous day, and everyone I met agreed.  Perfect for hiking a mountain.  I found myself praying as I hiked down, thanking God for the beauty in my life. 

Here I am at the top of the mountain feeling like a million bucks!!  Crushed it.

After I hiked my heart out, I went to Cilantro for lunch in Manchester.  I love that place.  It's a local place similar to Chipotle, but better (at least in my humble opinion).  I enjoyed my delicious salad with grilled chicken at one of the tables outside so I wouldn't stink the place up.  

Then I returned home to BALLOONS which totally made my day.  Thank you Courtney!  I showered, took a nap, and waited for Jeremy to join in the fun.  After he got home we opened some presents and then he took me shopping at the Banana Republic Outlet.  He knows what I love. 

After a very successful shopping outing, we went to our friend's for a barbecue.  We had a variety of kebabs that were super tasty.  I brought two versions of my favorite Wafer Cake, one gluten free and one regular which I decided to make mint flavored.  They sang to me and made me feel so loved as I blew out 27 candles!  And then we dug in and the cake was a hit, as always!  I love this family tradition of mine... Wafer Cake is the best.

We finished the night eating milk duds and staying up way too late watching the BYU game with friends.  It was such a wonderful day.  I felt so loved by family and friends.  Thanks for making it a special day for me.  I am excited for the great things to come this next year.  I am loving life!