this is how it all went, part I.

Fresh Scratch, Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic

It’s hard to believe that I broke my leg over two months ago and that the holidays have already came and went. I swear – you blink…and you know the rest.

I’m feeling a good 97% back to normal – last week I put my FitBit back on and started walking to school again. I know. I am practically Wonder Woman for healing up so fast ;).

Here’s what the first part of winter looked like for moi:

 

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Moms, take it from me, having the universe give you a solid week off from everything is equal parts just as amazing as you think it’d be and massively frustrating. It’s hard to be waited on. It’s hard to count on everyone else to do all the things. But, dang, sitting on the couch for a week looking at the Christmas tree and indulging in all your guilty pleasures while everyone else is at school and work? Not gonna lie. It’s a beautiful thing.

And so was getting back to my students. I was so happily surprised by these banners when I got back, along with the TWO MINUTE clap-a-thon from my favorite class: 4th period senior English. I might fail them all so they can’t graduate and have to stay with me forever.

 

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I couldn’t let a little thing like a broken fibula keep me down for long, though. A week after it happened, I was hosting my cousin’s baby “sprinkle” {we called it that so it wouldn’t sound like such a fuss – it was lovely and low-key and had NO GAMES! Yes!} because she is beyond worth it. And isn’t it nice to be the one hosting and the one who is all done giving birth forever?!

Hanukkah fell during my time of being laid-up, too, but we still managed to light the Menorah every night – just sometimes way later than sundown. And I wasn’t up to standing around in the kitchen for long periods of time until after it was over, so I made our big Hanukkah meal between the broken leg and before the stomach flu hit {because, yes, we hadn’t already had enough time lying in front of the Christmas tree being unable to move!}.

 

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And speaking of students, I love it when they come home from college and see me! When I ran into Hannah {first photo} in Trader Joe’s, I totally freaked out. Matt was a little embarrassed. She and Carolina {middle pic} came to Europe with me a couple of years ago and we bonded. Chloe {bottom pic} used to have lavender hair! I just want to put them in my pockets and bring them home with me.

 

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The holiday window at Browsers gave me all the winter vibes. Olympians: buy books at Browsers! It is the best book shop around and truly gives you the book shop experience. Every little thing Andrea does is magic.

 

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This year Annabelle didn’t want me to buy her a pretty Christmas dress. Instead, she wanted an ugly sweater and leggings to match. It will happen, people – they will start to grow up and get their own ideas of what is cool.

Their Christmas concert involved a song about UGLY SWEATERS! And can I tell you that nothing gets me into the spirit faster than kids singing Christmas songs at school?

 

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I drank more than my fair share of rosemary Meyer lemon drops over the holidays. And this Bouche de Noel my in-laws surprised us all with at their Christmas dinner totally flipped me out. I was excited in a very nerdy way. I think these are the coolest, but I’d never eaten one. It was delish, though you almost don’t want to cut into it and mess it up.

 

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When the girls camped out beneath the Christmas tree, I swear Natalie Merchant was singing “These are Days” somewhere very close. It broke my heart in all the best ways. These are the traditions they will talk about when they are big and I am more wrinkled.

 

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With the broken bone, the annual post-Thanksgiving cinnamon roll baking happened Christmas Eve this year. Whew! Just in time. I use PW’s recipe, btw. Works like a charm.

 

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The morning after Christmas we flew away to Maui for a beautiful, quiet week. I pretty much took zero pictures but the ones your see here – my big camera saw absolutely no action. It was glorious.

We’ve been traveling to Maui since our honeymoon – I think this trip marked something like our fifth or 6th time to that particular island together. The first time that we brought Clementine, she was 3 1/2 months old, but this time she was body surfing like nobody’s business and not even afraid when there was a shark sighting by yours truly literally right in front of us. Dang, girl.

Since we’ve been a few times, I wanted to give you the skinny on our favorite spots.

Best Shave Ice: Local Boyz. There’s one in Kihei and one in Lahaina – both are amazing. Get Kaui Cream and mochi balls and vanilla ice cream every time. There’s a fun koi pond in the back of the shopping area at the one in Kihei – we have logged many hours sitting there, eating shave ice.

Best Place to Watch Surfers and See Turtles: the beach just past Mama’s Fish House in Paia. We call it “Jaws,” but I have no idea what it’s really called. I wouldn’t advise swimming in that water unless you want to get thrashed by waves and drown.

Fave Beach: That’d be Po’olenalena. I call it our Boho Grove, as illustrated in the pic above with all our sarongs, etc, hanging off the roots. There’s a dirt parking lot just past all the fancy hotels in Wailea. Pull in. Do not go to the big beach you see before you. Instead, take the trail to the right of that beach, heading to what they call the north beach. Follow it til you get to another beach. This beach itself is awesome. Not a lot of people come there, the sand is a perfect brown, and most people you do see are couples getting married or naked old people. But… walk as far down the beach as you can until you come to some rocks that seem to be the end of the beach. They’re not. Climb over them and you will be rewarded with the best little beach ever. Seriously, we maybe shared it with one other group each day – usually the seven women I called “the bikini crew” whom my husband commented on more than once. If you park it right in the back left corner of the beach against the tall rock wall, you will have shade until 3:30 pm!!! Yes! It was a glorious feeling knowing the only two kids on the beach were my own. Makes it much easier to watch them. And the snorkeling out to the rocks on the right? Phenomenal. Tons of turtles. Watch for Tiger Sharks. First hand experience, yo.

Best Shopping: Sales abound at the GAP and Banana Republic at the Shops at Wailea. Massive, crazy deals on winter clothing every time.

Fave Restaurant: While we love our old standby of Maui Taco, we were blown away by the rad fusion cuisine we had at Star Noodle in Lahaina. Wow. Get a reservation or else be prepared to wait an hour in their parking lot. We took the girls, and even they loved it. I recommend trying a bit of everything and just sharing it all, especially the bacon and eggs, the pork buns, and the malasadas. Oh, and get a lychee martini because you know you want to. You won’t be disappointed at all!

So that’s how my holidays all went down. In Part II, I’m going to tell you about the best dang Christmas gift this girl has ever gotten! But that’s going to be next time, as y’all have got to be in need of a break from me at this point, if you’ve made it this far…

xoxo,

mrs. fresh scratch

 

things i love more than valentine’s day.

Fresh Scratch, Paris, France, Montmartre

In case you live under a rock, let me just inform you that it’s Valentine’s Day. Let me save you the trip to Target and just tell you now: it’s all gone, peeps. That back corner with all the boxes of Star Wars Valentines and candies and hideous stuffed animals? It looks like it’s been robbed.

About all you can do for your beloved at this point is bake them something, wash their car, or do their chores. Or do some other stuff for them that I won’t mention in this polite company.

Since I am a hearty believer in Friends Day, my gift to you is the stuff I love these days. Please notice that I am not a heartless person for leaving my spouse, friends, new puppy, and daughters off of this post – the title says “things!” Because you all know I {mostly} love those people. 

So here it is, in no particular order: the 2016 list of stuff I am crushing on…

1. James Corden, I have a crush on you. Don’t be coy. You are hilarious, and I adore you.

Seriously, people! This carpool karaoke bit he’s got going on The Late Late Show is a riot. I’ve watched many of them, and these two are my favorites. The one with Adele pretty much broke the internet, so if you haven’t seen it yet, a) who are you? and b) you’re welcome! It was great to see her laughing and getting serious about her first love: The Spice Girls.

The one with Chris Martin {you know – Coldplay frontman, ex-hubster of Gwyneth, voted most energetic performer live in concert by yours truly? that guy.} is adorable and funny and heartwarming. There’s a certain humbleness to him that really comes through, and I love how silly he gets. I am also digging on the new Coldplay album. How about you? It makes me want to dance! You know who else really loves it? Clementine. She has sworn off Taylor Swift and pledged allegiance to Coldplay. This has caused her to move up in the ranks of coolness, not gonna lie.

2. While I’m on the subject of the Brits, let me tell you how much I am pulling for Lady Mary and Tom Branson to finally realize they are in love on Downton Abbey. OMG. I torture myself by watching it as it comes out on PBS Sunday nights, even though I have the whole season on dvd hidden away upstairs as a present to my step-mom.

But I didn’t mean to talk about Lady Mary! I meant to tell you that I love this special edition of tea put out by Republic of Tea, Mrs. Pattmore’s Pudding Tea. It’s black tea with vanilla and caramel. It reminds me of one I sort of blend up myself in a jar here at home for Saturday mornings because it’s so luxurious.

Shara gave this to me for Christmas, and I brought it to work to try to make my planning periods a little more enjoyable {and this is where I will ask you what is up with people taking my honey and my half and half at work?! I am not talking about merely taking a little bit and putting it back. I’m talking straight up stealing my brand new jar of fancy honey or using all of the half and half I had in an unmarked mason jar in the fridge and then WASHING THE JAR! Who does this? I mean, there’s stealing, and then there’s taking the last of someone’s something! I don’t know how to handle this – I will accept advice in the comments!}.

3. Did you see Fred’s almost-breakdancing on New Girl’s 2nd episode this season?! It’s near the end of the episode, and unfortunately there is not a single clip of just the part I’m mentioning available anywhere on the interwebs. But I didnt’ want to make you miss out. I am not lying when I say I was laughing so hard I couldn’t breathe. For some reason, watching someone being told to almost breakdance but never get to the actual breakdancing – to do that weird fronting the middle school boys would to back in the 80’s in their Run DMC t-shirts at recess…it just cracked me up!

Fresh Scratch, At the Water's Edge, Sara Guren

4. Remember Water for Elephants? I mean, how could you forget that beautiful story?! Sara Gruen did it again with At the Water’s Edge. This was my anniversary gift from Matt, and I finally got to sink into it at Christmas. It was the kind of story that I devoured in two or three days.

The premise sounds kind of hokey and almost just ridiculously not good, I warn you. It’s World War II, and a young rich couple disgraces the young man’s family with their poor behavior in public. To escape the fall-out, they take a freighter across the Atlantic with his best friend during what is arguably the. worst. time. in. history. to do so. You may have heard of U-Boats? Yes, those. But they are on a mission to Scotland to find…the Loch Ness Monster. Because that will surely be the easiest way to untarnish their good name, yes?

Right.

Our protagonist, Mattie, finally learns what it’s like to go without, to actually feel the effects of the war. She also has nothing to distract her from the fact that her husband is a major a-hole. There is also not much to distract her from the fact that Angus, the man who runs the inn where they are staying, is pretty much everything her husband is not.

Seriously. Read it!

Fresh Scratch, Opal Apple

5. I have no idea why this year seems to be the year of the Opal Apple, but it does. They just came, like, out of NOWHERE. And they don’t look good. They look like they’d be mealy. But I swear to you that they are the most crisp, sweet, flavorful apples I’ve ever tasted. My new fave. All that honey that’s supposed to be in a Honey Crisp? Apparently it’s been hiding in the Opal.

Fresh Scratch, GAP Chelsea Booties

6. I am not usually a person who buys multiples of something. I like too much variety in life. But these GAP Chelsea Booties? Le bomb dot com. Holy boots, Nancy Sinatra! I bought these over a year ago in this brown suede, then quickly snatched up the black pebbled leather. Right now they are a little tricky to find, as in, I can’t find a link for you online. But I did see them in a big GAP store last weekend. So there’s hope.

What I love about them is that they feel like someone cut the leather out exactly to fit my foot. They are so soft and sturdy, and I wore them everywhere in the weeks following breaking my leg, because {bonus!} the heel height matches perfectly with a boot cast thing!

7. Lucky #7 is Gwyneth’s {let’s face it – on my blog, we don’t need to bother with her last name} new makeup line with Juice Beauty. Here’s why I love it: it has zero toxins. It also costs the same as the nice stuff I was already buying. So there’s that. Basically, GP set out to develop a line of makeup that rocked like what she has on at a red carpet event, but without all that crap in it. I can tell you that I am loving the eyeliner and the mascara, for sure; enough so that I will be trying the other items as I run out of my old stuff.

I’m going to stop at lucky #7. It’s my favorite number, but it’s also almost time for dinner.

Happy Heart Day, friends! I hope you pamper yourselves today. Because the numero uno person that should love you is you.

xo, mrs. fresh scratch