Conference week: when there’s no kindergarten, and the big kids have half days. When Mr. Fresh Scratch stays late each day, conferencing with the parentals.

When I get, like, zero done. Maybe some baking. And some refereeing of two girls. Certainly not any grading or things on my to-do list. But I have seen some very enthusiastic cheerleading routines right here in my very own living room {always for the Patriots, the mascot I cheered for in high school – yay!}! And I have taught them to load the dishwasher!

Friday, I am welcoming you and hoping you are the gatekeeper to some time to myself this weekend!

{ooh! Have you entered my folksy giveaway yet?! It goes through Sunday night!! Hurry!}

Here’s what happened {as snagged off of my Instagram account – mrsfreshscratch}…..



A photo posted by kellisamson (@mrsfreshscratch) on

I love that my brother-in-law loves to cook. He is much more of a gourmand than myself, so it’s always a treat to get invited over for dinner.

Last weekend, he really spoke my love language by having us over for his annual deep fat fryer feast {say that five times fast!}. We seriously had about ten courses of artery-clogging goodness.

My hands-down favorites were these hush puppies, but the pickles and the Snicker bars come in for a close tie for second! It was worth smelling like a McDonalds after I got home, and that’s a sentence I don’t say often.


A photo posted by kellisamson (@mrsfreshscratch) on

I was so proud of this fougasse I made with Dorie Greenspan’s recipe. So, so proud.

I had spent a good part of Sunday afternoon prepping for the week’s baking of bread. It was going to be bread week here. I had dough resting in the fridge for this and for a new sandwich bread recipe I was going to try, even though it had lots of steps.

It wasn’t until two days after I’d made the above fanciness that I realized I’d used my bread dough. So I had to make these again using the right dough yesterday, as I don’t think my kids would’ve liked sandwich bread studded with bits of rosemary, kalamata olive, and lemon zest.

I was pretty ticked with myself, as that sandwich dough had taken up a ton of my time, but didn’t end up in the final form I’d wanted.

Le sigh.

In other news, isn’t the light box the Mister made me for Christmas cool?


A photo posted by kellisamson (@mrsfreshscratch) on

Part of why my to-do list went unheeded this week is that I was busy spoiling my children.

Despite my complaints above, it’s nice to have them both here with me in the afternoons. We went out to lunch a couple of times, if you count feeding them frozen yogurt a lunch, and I do! I do it once or twice a year to reaffirm that I am, in fact, a fun mom {!!!!}. And to show them it’s fun to do crazy things in moderation. Something like that.

And because my seniors are already driving me nuts at work, and it’s only October.


A photo posted by kellisamson (@mrsfreshscratch) on

A fun little package for moi arrived this week.

My favorite book from when I was a little girl growing up in New England was Cranberry Christmas. When I found it in my mom’s basement after Annabelle was born, I couldn’t wait to bring it home. But she told me to bring it to my older brother, Frank, as it was his.

Frank. Grrr.

Cue the search.

I thought there was only one of these books, but it turns out it’s a whole series {!!}. It makes me happy in a way I can’t really describe. So I am finding them here and there and adding to my collection.

MY collection. Not my kids’.

I love that some come from old libraries.

I love the very 1970’s artwork.

I love that Mr. Whiskers lives on a cranberry bog in what I think is Massachusetts and says, “Suffering Codfish!”

I love doing all the voices when I read them to my kids.

And I love that there’s a recipe for something with cranberries in the back of each book. I loved that when I was little, too.

So, happy Friday! One week from now, it’s Halloween candy time! I am ready for all your Kit-Kats…

xo, Mrs. Fresh Scratch

numi pu-erh tea.

Target K Mug

You all know I am a tea drinker.

So, naturally, when some tea people found out and wanted me to test out a new kind of tea, I said, “Heck, yeah!”

And here we are.

Now, I ‘m not a big fan of herbal teas. Or green teas. Or white teas. I’ve been at this long enough to know what I like, and I like black tea. You can imagine my delight when the kind folks at Numi Organic Tea wanted me to test out some of their new line of special black teas called Pu-erh.

Numi has been around for about fifteen years and is based in California. The company was started by a brother and sister duo, and it continues under their leadership today, employing 40 people.

Their teas fall right in line with the things that are important to me: they’re organic, they are part of the Non-GMO Project, their tea bags are biodegradable, their packaging is made of post-consumer waste, they offset carbon emission, and their facility is solar-powered. They also use fair labor practices, focusing on fair wages, safe working conditions, and responsible agriculture in their entire foreign supply chain.

Plus they use the word “communitea” instead of “community.” Adorable.

Numi Cardamom Pu-Erh tea, Fresh Scratch So what’s up with this Pu-Erh business? Well, my kids have delighted in saying it, since it sounds like, “Poo-er.” So that’s something.

But, seriously, Pu-Erh is the most ancient tea and comes from a village of the same name in China. The tea leaves Numi uses come from rare, old-growth Pu-Erh trees that are communally owned by local villagers. These are the same people who pick the leaves.

The leaves from this particular tea plant are known for their healing properties, such as aiding in weight management by improving digestion and metabolism {it’s black tea, after all, so is caffeinated!}. The leaves go through a different fermentation process than other teas.

Numi Chocolate Pu-Erh tea, Fresh ScratchI was sent a box of the Cardamom Pu-Erh and the Chocolate Pu-Erh, but there are also other flavors available {basil mint, jasmine, etc.}.

I thought I’d love the cardamom because it’s Fall and it sounded a little spicy, but I found it to be not as robust as I’d hoped, no matter how long it steeped. Tasty, just not with the punch I was looking for.

The chocolate, though? Amazing. Along with the black tea, there is cocoa powder in this one {and vanilla beans, rooibos, cinnamon, orange peel, and nutmeg – oh, my!}, and you can taste it. I have found I love it just the way I love all my black teas: with a splash of cream or milk and a hefty spoonful of honey. I could drink this stuff every morning. It feels luxurious.

My verdict? Love it. Not weird at all like every other chocolate tea I’ve tasted has been. I will be seeking out the other flavors, for sure.

Chocolate Pu-Erh: two golden teacups of approval ;).

Thanks, Numi Organic Tea, for sharing some with me! You can find these teas on Amazon, at Whole Foods, and pretty much wherever tea is sold.

**Full disclosure: Numi sent me two boxes of complimentary tea in exchange for my review on my blog.**

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