Tag: christmas

into the woods.

Fresh Scratch, Rosemary Meyer Lemon Drop

Finally, a new season. Winter, how the heck are ya?! I’m coming at you from my hiding spot this week in a log cabin in the middle of Idaho, wood stove going, wrapped in a quilt, flannel pajama pants on, surrounded by snow and books and good company. This is my reset button.

In other words, hello – it’s me. I’m back. I’m happy. I’m more than okay. I want to thank you for all of your thoughtful words after my last post an entire season ago. I shouldn’t have been so surprised by all the people who reached out to me – because I am a lucky girl who has all the best people – but I was touched in a way that may sound odd, given the circumstances. Those of you who have had the experience of walking down the aisle to get married may know what I mean: you looked at all the people smiling at you and felt so loved. So supported. I know this wasn’t that, but it felt the same somehow. I still have all that matters.

After sharing the news with you that my family was changing, the sands beneath my feet really shifted in a matter of days; things went from bad to worse, and I truly needed all the nice things you said, all the hugs, all the good vibes. I didn’t think anything would bring me more consuming grief than losing my dad, but these events did. They brought the heat in a not-nice way. But you know what? It’s in those kinds of battles where we become warriors.

I feel stronger than ever. I feel resolute. I feel solid. I feel more kind. My girls are thriving. I got that house I was hoping for – gingerbread and all – and we’ve settled into a new normal over the last six weeks or so. It feels right. And if I can just follow what feels right and never stray from that, I’m golden.

Fresh Scratch, winter field

I was getting tired of just surviving, and I was really starting to miss the things that make me feel twinkly {is that a word? who cares! it is now.}. Then a couple weeks ago, the snow just started dumping on my drive home. I had stuck my big camera up high in my closet upon moving in, but on this day I dragged in the stool, climbed up, and greeted my old buddy. As we walked toward that pretty field up there, I felt something familiar: excitement. It’d been a while. I snapped that shot and just knew my magic was back. Just like you know all the things you just know.

Here’s what happened after:

I thought of this.

I sat in front of the Christmas tree I had cut down by myself {so much harder than it looks! the girls made so much fun of me, especially when I said, “Quit talking! I am trying to cut down this tree!”}, read a book {I just finished this one, and just started that one}, and remembered this.

I recreated my exact cookie party components from last year, then had like 20+ of my ladies over to my house on a school night, where we boozed it up and got so loud I had to shout across the kitchen to Emily. It felt like a christening of laughter for my house. Promptly at 9:30, they all went home. That’s how we moms party.

And now I’m at the cabin. Because in the quiet moments of my storm, I knew that this was the place to wash ashore.

What’s next? Well, checking on the fire, for starters.

The rest is wide open.

Thanks for making my heart grow three times as big.

xoxo, ms. fresh scratch



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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A photo posted by kellisamson (@mrsfreshscratch) on

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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A photo posted by kellisamson (@mrsfreshscratch) on

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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A photo posted by kellisamson (@mrsfreshscratch) on


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A photo posted by kellisamson (@mrsfreshscratch) on


A photo posted by kellisamson (@mrsfreshscratch) on


A photo posted by kellisamson (@mrsfreshscratch) on

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…


mrs. fresh scratch