Farmhouse Living // Ten Great Bedtime Stories For Your little Valentine

THE FARMHOUSE

Happy February! Excitement is high around here with anticipation for Valentines Day. Okay, mainly it’s just me, but my goodness how kids make this holiday fun! Valentines Day used to be little more than an excuse to buy a nice steak, but 3 kids later and it’s one of my very favorite holidays.  Our 4-year-old is getting into the spirit this year too. Valentines cards, sugar cookies, kind sentiments, extra snuggles, new bedtime stories, chocolate everything, and really so many excuses to bake with my little loves. Tell me I’m not alone!

While we don’t do much in terms of gifts on Valentines Day, I will get a new story for our kiddos to make bedtime extra special (thinking about buying them this classic this year). In case you’re in need of a small gift for a little valentine of your own – or just looking to expand your collection – I’ve rounded up 10 of our favorite bedtime stories at the Farmhouse right now.

The Grit and Polish - Farmhouse Daphne Nursery Book Shelf.4

Our Farmhouse // Daphne’s Nursery // rugunicornsimilar basketsimilar cotton blanket

The Wonderful Things you Will Be, Emily Winfield Martin // whimsical and fun, Ms. Winfield Martin ignites the imagination through what children can be. It’s no surprise that this story made the New York Times bestseller list!

A Sick Day for Amos McGee, Philip C. Stead (author) and Erin E. Stead (illustrator) // This Caldecott award winner is all about friends and being there for each other. The illustrations are beautiful and the simplicity with which the story is told gives kids’ imagination room to thrive. Bonus: watch for tiny mice doing human things on every page.

Strictly No ElephantsLisa Mantchev  (Author),‎ Taeeun Yoo  (Illustrator) – a boy, an elephant, and the pet club that doesn’t want them. This fun story is all about acceptance (a narwhal…a skunk!).

Berenstain Bears’ Bedtime BattleStan Berenstain  (Author),‎ Jan Berenstain  (Author) – I bought this on the advice of my sister-in-law, and it’s great for those occasional (or frequent) bedtime battlers! I grew up with the Berenstain Bears, so it’s been fun to introduce my kiddos to them too.

Dream Animals and Day Dreamers, Emily Winfield Martin // An adventure into the land of waking dreams and a bedtime journey atop the backs of imaginary animals. This is the sweetest boxed set I think I’ve ever seen!

Waiting, Kevin Henkes – a Caldecott award winner all about waiting for marvelous things to happen, which might just be the most basic of things. In an age of constant connectivity and busy lives, I love the slow pace of this book.

Rosie Revere EngineerAndrea Beaty  (Author),‎ David Roberts (Illustrator) – get this book! Rosie is a creative and passionate engineer who has to get past failures and being laughed at along side her friend’s Iggy Peck Architect and Ada Twist Scientist. These are all great primers for creativive expression in children.

You Are My I Love YouMaryann Cusimano Love (Author),‎ Satomi Ichikawa (illustrator) – a classic tale about the love between parent and child. This is an especially great gift for Valentines Day or a new parent!

I am a BunnyOle Risom  (Author),‎ Richard Scarry (Illustrator) – a richly-illustrated tale of a bunny named Nicolas as he lives through the seasons. My 2-year-old loves this one, I think because of the beautiful colors.

A World Full of Animal Stories, Angela McAllister – 50 folktales/myths/legends from around the world, organized by continent. These short stories have been such a fun way to introduce our 4-year-old to different cultures and customs. Bonus: there’s always a new story to read so mama and dada don’t get bored 😉

Occasionally I like to share a list like this with you guys, because even though kids books have little to do with renovations or old homes, they do have a lot to do with living well in a home. At least we think so.

Any bedtime stories you’re loving at the moment? Leave them in the comments so we can check them out!

The Grit and Polish - Farmhouse Daphne's Nursery BooksThe Grit and Polish - Farmhouse Daphne Nursery Books.2

Related posts

Brooks’ nursery / Wallpapering the Nursery Closet / Daphne’s nursery buys / Our DIY Nursery Glider

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My Sister’s Home // Holiday Dining Room

MY SISTER’S HOME

Since I showed you the Porch House holiday decor earlier this week, I thought it would be fun to continue the theme and take you on a tour of my sister’s dining room. She had her dining room all decked out before Thanksgiving, so I took some shots when we were down for the holiday.  I did absolutely nothing to stage the space besides move some chairs around and get their puppy, Dita, to sit and stay (quite a feat, I might add ;).

The Grit and Polish - Terr's Dining Room 11-2017 Dita 5.4

My sister would probably say this space isn’t totally done yet, but I hope you’ll agree with me that it’s beautiful as-is.  I’ve been thinking a lot about the idea of ‘finishing decorating’ a home lately and how silly it is.  Spaces evolve over time, and it’s a beautiful process.

The Grit and Polish - Terr's Dining Room 11-2017 3The Grit and Polish - Terr's House T and W 4The Grit and Polish - Terr's Dining Room 11-2017 DitaThe Grit and Polish - Terr's Dining Room 11-2017 6

The dining room connects a lot of spaces: the entryway (which is behind those beautiful french doors), the kitchen (behind the white door at the far end of the room), the staircase, and the living room.  It’s one of the first rooms people see when they walk in the front door, so it’s no surprise my sister decided to furnish it first.  She bought the table and chairs from Restoration Hardware, during a sale last year.  The chandelier is original as are the floors and seagrass wall coverings.  Beautiful, right?!

The Grit and Polish - Terr's Dining Bar Cart 2The Grit and Polish - Terr's House T

To prepare for the holidays, my sister added simple glass vases on the mantle with greenery and candles and layered placemats on the table.  It’s simple, festive, and beautiful.

I hope you’ve enjoyed these holiday tours.  Maybe next year, I’ll get around to photographing our own home 😉  With the spirit of family in mind, I’ll be taking a break for posting over the holidays (after tomorrow).  During the break, you can catch me over on Instagram, where I’ll be sharing my favorite spaces and before-and-afters from our year.

xoxo

-Cathy

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Happy Friday + Links 11/24/17

Happy Friday!  Are you still deliriously happy from all that pie and stuffing?  Me too 🙂  Portland was just as fun as I thought it would be, and I’ve gotten such sweet comments on my sister’s beautiful new (old) home over on Instagram.  I’ll have to share more photos on the blog soon, but here’s a peek at her dining room.

The Grit and Polish - Terr's House table T, W, and C

So lovely, right?!  The walls are covered in a soft orange grass cloth and the beautiful chandelier was left by the previous owner.  This dining room was the perfect place to enjoy Thanksgiving dinner (along with the second table set up in the kitchen to accommodate all 20 people in our family).  Yup, it was a good one!

And while I can’t say if my sister went this route, here is the best advice I’ve heard on prepping for guests:

“Two things to do before you have people over: 1) Make sure the powder room’s trash can is empty. 2) Shove all clutter and paperwork in a closet or the basement or a bathtub without organizing or putting a single thing in its proper place.  Seriously! Busy, happy houses are messy! So many people tell me this is what they stress out about most before guests arrive.  Why?  Crash clean the rooms that count, and order Marie Kondo in the morning.”  – @dinneralovestory via @cupofjo

Yeeesss!  I’d love to see a shift away from perfectly-styled, perfectly-decorated, perfect homes. Our homes should be places that bring us joy rather than a source of constant anxiety over what’s out of place or how our decorating measures up.  You know?  Let’s make home a place we love, even though it isn’t perfect, and do without the stress!

Well it’s Friday again (Black Friday!), so you know that I’ve scoured the internet for the best sales out there plus a couple other links in case you aren’t in the shopping mood.  So grab a cup of coffee and dig in:

A conversation with Rebecca Atwood.

I’m totally intrigued by this duck cloth shower curtain, which needs no liner and is machine washable.  Anyone tried it yet?

jersey ice cream in Arch Digest

Jersey Ice Cream Co via Architectural Digest / photo Sal Taylor Kydd

How to give a new home character.  Jersey Ice Cream Co nails it…of course 😉

Loved listening to this podcast.  I’m totally intrigued with minimalist design, especially in homes with kids.

And speaking of podcasts, Ben and Jerry sound like the coolest ice cream makers there ever were.

A peek behind Jojotastic’s sponsored renovations on her tiny home.

And now for those sales! Here are the Black Friday sales at a few of my favorite stores and I’ll update this list if I find more!

Anthopologie, 30% off everything!

Amazon, Amazon fire tablets are down to $49.99 (seriously considering buying 2 for the boys!)

Target, up to 40% off Home (love these organic cotton, printed sheets)

Home Depot, tons of deals like $200 off this miter saw and $100 off this saw stand

West Elm, buy more save more, plus 50% off select furniture

Rejuvenation, buy more save more, plus this 3×5 wool rug is $37! and this wool zipper pillow is 75% off

Hanna Anderson, $25 kid’s PJs + 25% off everything else (I’m thinking matching Christmas jammies!)

J.Crew, 40% off everything + free shipping

Nordstrom, 40% off or more on Ugg Slippers

Have a great weekend!

xoxo

-Cathy

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Life Update // Our Big Move One Year Later + An HGTV Update

THE FARMHOUSE

Well it’s been one year since we quit our jobs in Seattle, packed up the kids, and moved to a Farmhouse in the country.  We’ve spent the year *retired*, which really means managing our rentals, spending lots of time as a family, taking on the Porch House renovation (plus filming it for an HGTV pilot), having a baby (!!!), and tackling as many projects at our forever home as we could squeeze in.  And I figure it’s high time I give you an update on how it’s all going.

The Grit and Polish - Farmhouse 1 7-14-16

We took that photo last year on the day we moved into the Farmhouse.  Wilder was 3 and Brooks was weeks away from taking his first steps.  Daphne wasn’t even a glimmer in our eyes yet, and Hacker was still with us, off somewhere sniffing out the field mice.  And we had this big, beautiful, old house behind us to call home.  My heart was so full with all of it.

Sometimes big changes are really scary, especially for a risk-adverse person like myself.  There can be this nagging doubt that a major life change – even if it’s your dream of all dreams – will be a big flop. But not with this change.  It felt right from the beginning.  Sure we knew there would be hurdles – like finding private healthcare, being 100 miles away from our rentals, finding capital to buy a flip house (banks don’t like to extend loans to the “unemployed”), and dealing with the animal smell in our new house – but we were 100% ready to take it all on.  And I’m so happy we did!  Because it’s been the best year of my life.

The Grit and Polish - One Year Later Collage

Row 1: Farmhouse Master Bedroom / 6 Day Kitchen Reno / Farmhouse Alphabet Wall and Entry / Porch House Kitchen Sink // Row 2: Birthday Cake / Farmhouse Master / Porch House Butcherblock / Dexter Airbnb // Row 3: Farmhouse Office / Daphne’s Farmhouse Nursery / Brooks’ Farmhouse Nursery / Brooks’ Birthday Cake Crown // Row 4: Nursery Wallpaper / 6 Day Kitchen Reno / Family Photo at the Farmhouse / Wilder’s Bedroom

We’ve been busy over the past twelve months (we tackled all of those projects), but I think I speak for my whole family when I say it’s been a great year.  Not only do we love our small town and country setting, but Garrett and I are constantly pinching ourselves, saying “how did we get here?!”  Of course we know the answer to that question (a combination of hard work, smart financial decisions, and luck), but we are very thankful for where we are today.  Very thankful that our kids get to grow up in a small town with a pond to call their own and endless trees to climb.  And very thankful that Garrett and I get to work on our own projects at our own pace, together.

That’s all well and good, but you may be wondering, what it is we actually do every day.  It’s been pointed out to me that “retired” is probably not an accurate term to describe Garrett and I considering all we do, and there’s a whole lot of truth to that.  I like the term ‘retired’ because it implies that we’re in control of our days and which projects we say ‘yes’ to, but ‘self employed’ is accurate too.  Whichever way you slice it, Garrett and I spend our days as landlords, renovators, parents, country dwellers, outdoor enthusiasts, and good ol’ fashioned DIYers and no two days are the same around here. Most of my time lately has been spent with our kiddos, either at home or around town, which is to be expected with a 3-week-old.  Before Daphne was born, I was going to Seattle a couple times a week to clean and maintain our rentals as well.  I also sneak in time for writing this blog (in the evenings or when the boys go to Nana’s house), designing and picking finishes for our projects from our home office, and sneaking in a walk every now and again.  Garrett still does a lot of the cooking and gets out mountain biking or running a few times a week, but otherwise spends his days working on Farmhouse projects/maintenance, renovating the Porch House, and managing our rentals.  The later of those has made up 95% of our income over the past last year, so it’s no surprise that it takes a lot of our time.

I should mention that *retired* life isn’t as lucrative as working was, a fact that we were well aware of before I quit my job.  What we have been surprised about is that our living expenses have gone down.  Groceries are a good half of what they used to cost us in Seattle (granted there are no PCCs or Whole Foods here) and we eat out far less (simply because there aren’t a ton of options).  Plus we spend more time hiking/camping/exploring outside and less time at paid museums and the like (again, there just aren’t any over here).  This Spring we also swapped our decades-old, hand-me-down Tahoe for a lightly-used Ram eco-diesel truck, which has really kept our gas bill in check, especially with frequent trips to Seattle.  Of course with Daphne’s arrival, I haven’t been able to travel to Seattle as of late so we’ve had to hire cleaners to help with our Aibnb turns.  We’ve also had to hire out labor to help with the Porch House to free up some of Garrett’s time and keep that project moving along.  We are definitely busier than we expected, but the added help been a good compromise to keep a little balance in our lives.

Once the Porch House is finished and sold, I’m not really sure what our days will look like.  Obviously we’ll spend a lot of time with baby and our boys, but what else?  It’s possible we’ll move on to another project right away, or it’s possible we’ll take a breather while Daphne is little, do a little traveling and wait for our next project to come along.  And of course, there’s that whole HGTV pilot that we filmed waiting in the wings, so who knows what will come of that.  One thing’s for sure, whatever we do, we’ll surely busy – Garrett is not one to sit around plus we have 3 young kids – and it’ll be doing something we want to do.  That right there is probably the single best benefit of *retiring* early.

Speaking of HGTV…we found out last month that our pilot will air sometime in the Fall!  We actually got the call while I was in labor with Daphne three weeks ago.  I had to excuse myself to another room to breathe through contractions while Garrett spoke with our producer.  Ha!  It sounds like the show will get a new name (apparently the execs didn’t like ‘Rehab Crazy’, which is a-okay with us) and we should get a peak at the pilot after the finishing touches are put on.  I’m excited to finally get to share this project with all of you!

Well that’s how things are going for us in a nut shell, at least at the 1,000 foot level.  If you’re wondering about anything specific ask away in the comments.  Otherwise, rest assured we are very happy with our move and excited for what’s to come!

xoxo

-Cathy

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Daphne’s ‘Birth Day’ Lemon Cake Recipe

THE FARMHOUSE

With each of our babies, we’ve celebrated their birth with a ‘birth day’ cake.  For Wilder it was the family’s apple cake recipe, for Brooks it was a hearty carrot cake, and two weeks ago, we made Daphne a summer lemon cake topped with lemon curd, cream, and raspberries from the Farmhouse garden.  Since I’ve had all of my babies at home, we (or more accurately Garrett and my sis) have made these cakes on the day or day after our babies were born and we share them with friends and family as they stop by to meet our newest little one.  You guys know how much I love making layer cakes for special occasions, so it’s probably no surprise that these ‘birth day’ cakes have become one of my very favorite family traditions!

The Grit and Polish - Daphne's Lemon Cake Slices 1

This lemon cake is sweet, strong, and perfect for the summer, just like our little girl.  It’s definitely a bit of an involved recipe and takes the better part of an afternoon to create, so it’s best saved for special occasions with loved ones.  Just like most of my favorite cakes, this recipe was adapted from Leslie Makie’s Macrina Bakery and Cafe Cookbook.

Summer Lemon Cake with Berries (aka Daphne’s ‘Birth Day’ Cake)

*this recipe makes one 9-inch layer cake

for the cake

2 1/2 cups white pastry flour

1/4 cup cornstarch

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

4 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

5 tsp freshly grated lemon zest

8 egg yolks

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 1/4 cup whole milk

2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature

fresh raspberries or strawberries (for final assembly)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees and grease one 9″ springform pan (3″ deep). Line bottom and sides with parchment paper.  Sift flour and cornstarch together in a medium bowl until combined (about 5 times).  Stir in sugar, baking powder, salt, and lemon zest and set aside.  In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter with paddle attachment until butter is smooth and pale (about 5 minutes).  Add the flour mixture and beat on low until fully incorporated.  In a separate bowl, whisk together egg yolks, vanilla, and milk.  Add 1/3 of egg mixture to butter, beating on low until fully combined and then scrape down bowl and beat again.  Repeat until all ingredients are fully incorporated.  Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 1 hour 10 minutes or until skewer comes out dry.  Cool cake on a wire rack for 1 hour before cutting into thirds and frosting (recipes and instructions to follow).

for the lemon syrup

1/2 cup water

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

Cook water and sugar in medium saucepan over medium heat until sugar is totally dissolved (about 10 minutes).  Remove from heat and add lemon juice.  Let cool before pouring over each cake layer.

for the lemon curd

6 egg yolks

1 cup granulated sugar

3/4 cup fresh lemon juice

6 tablespoons butter, room temperature

Combine egg yolks, sugar, and lemon juice in a metal bowl and mix together with a fork.  Place bowl overtop of a saucepan filled with simmering water, taking care that the water doesn’t touch the bowl.  Whisk lemon mixture continuously and cook until it’s thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon (about 10 minutes).  Add butter and whisk until fully incorporated.  Remove from heat and pour through a sieve.  Cover top of lemon curd with plastic wrap and refrigerate.  Lemon curd should be completely cooled before using.

for the lemon cream frosting

3 cups heavy cream

1/2 batch of lemon curd

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat cream until stiff peaks form.  Fold in cooled lemon curd using a spatula until fully incorporated.

To assemble cake, cut cooled cake into 3 even layers.  Place first layer on a 9″ round cardboard, pour 1/3 lemon syrup over top and then spread 1/2 of remaining lemon curd over top (I’d recommend skipping the lemon curd if you’re serving to kids or people that don’t enjoy strong lemon flavor) and then spread 1/3 lemon cream on top of that.  Place second layer on top and repeat.  For the third layer, pour lemon syrup over cake and then frost with lemon cream.  I left the sides of my cake bare, but you could do a crumb coat for a rustic look.  Top cake with fresh berries.  Cake can be served at room temperature, but I prefer it chilled in the refrigerator for a few hours.

The Grit and Polish - Daphne's Birth Suite Lemon Cake

Sitting atop that table was the final piece of Daphne’s cake, which Garrett and I shared in this corner of our bedroom one afternoon when the boys went swimming with Nana.  Goodness did that cake ever taste sweet after all those months of pregnancy and hours of labor.  Of course, now that we’re done having babies, I’ll have to find another excuse to bake cakes…or maybe we’ll just have to start celebrating random Wednesdays 😉

xoxo

-Cathy

p.s. Daphne’s birth and Brooks’ birth

p.p.s. my favorite almond cake recipe

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She’s Here!

THE FARMHOUSE

She’s here!  Our sweet baby girl, Daphne Garrett Poshusta arrived on 7/27 at 7:24pm, right here at the Farmhouse.  She’s 9lbs and 20″ of pure snuggly goodness and we are so in love!

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Our sweet baby Daphne was born at 7:24pm after 13 hours of labor and 2 hours of pushing.  I’m so indebted to our wonderful midwives, Garrett, and my sister for their kindness, strength, and persistence in helping me bring this sweet baby into the world.  Because in the end, she was worth every second of it!

The Grit and Polish - Baby Girl Initials

A little about her name.  Daphne’s middle name is obviously in honor of her dada, which we chose both because Garrett is such a good dad (and I happen to love his name) and also because I think it’s pretty special for a little girl to be named after her dad.  Daphne’s first name is one that has topped our ‘girl name’ list since we first got pregnant with Wilder some 5 odd years ago.  We are so happy/thankful/excited that our baby Daphne is finally here!

We’re enjoying some quiet time at home this week as we get to know our newest little one and adjust to life as a family of 5, but I’ll be back to posting regularly next week (I think) with some content on our home office and the Porch House.  Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to get my newborn snuggles while the getting is good…

xoxo

-Cathy

p.s. Brooks’ birth at the Dexter House

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Master Bedroom Update // Preparing for Baby (and a home birth)

THE FARMHOUSE

We made a few changes to our master bedroom recently in preparation of the arrival of it’s new tenant, our baby girl.  With her due date just a few days away, I eagerly got this space finished up last week.

The Grit and Polish - Master Bedroom hanging crib

all sources are listed at the bottom of this post

I’ve always liked having my babies sleep near me when they’re little, at least until they slow down on night nursings.  So putting a hanging crib up in our master bedroom was pretty exciting.  Isn’t the crib lovely?  I first saw it here and immediately bought it for Brooks back when space was tight at the Dexter House.  Not only is the crib easy to fit virtually anywhere you have a couple of square feet to spare, but it also helps to soothe the baby by bouncing and swaying whenever they fuss.  (For the record, I’ll pull the pillow and stuffies out when baby arrives.)

The Grit and Polish - Farmhouse Bedroom Hanging CribThe Grit and Polish - Master Bedroom hanging crib 5The Grit and Polish - Master Bedroom baby space 2

The other new addition to our master bedroom, is this old Ikea unit, which we’re using to store baby’s nighttime essentials: diapers, wipes, swaddle blankets, burp rags, and pj’s.  That way we won’t be running back and forth to the nursery (where the rest of her clothes are stored) in the middle of the night. I may eventually swap the shelving unit out for the antique hutch that used to be in our bedroom (and just change her on the bed), but that piece is currently at the Porch House being used for staging (yes, the Porch House is still under renovation).

The Grit and Polish - Master Bedroom baby space

Those are the essentials we have for baby in our master bedroom, but we have made a few other additions/changes in preparation for a home birth.  We’ve done home births with all of our kiddos thus far (Wilder at the Bryant House, Brooks at the Dexter House, and now baby girl at the Farmhouse) and have enjoyed them.  ‘Enjoy’ is probably not the right word here – labor is labor and they don’t call it that for nothing – but being at home has made for a more comfortable and peaceful birthing process for me.  My favorite part is waking up the next day in my own bed.  Yes, I am a homebody through and through 😉

Speaking of our bed, you may have noticed it’s made a little haphazardly in that photo.  In preparation for labor, I made the bed with sheets and our usual quilt, covered that with a waterproof mattress cover, and then made the bed again with our not-so-nice sheets and a blanket we can quickly pull off.  That makes for easy cleanup and a quick tuck-in after baby is born.  And in case you’re wondering about the sensibility of a wool blanket on our bed in the summer, Garrett needs it since I have the AC on full blast and still can’t stand more than a sheet.  The joys of pregnancy 😉

The Grit and Polish - Master Bedroom lavendar nightstandThe Grit and Polish - Master Bedroom Lavendar on Nightstand

Another addition I’ve made to our bedroom is lots of lavender, which is supposed to be a calming scent, so I have it on both sides of the bed.  My nightstand also houses my favorite Ina May labor-prep book, a couple of kids books, and lots of enjoyable paperbacks for those long nursing sessions to come.  Plus there’s a giant-sized box of Tums tucked on the bottom shelf because pregnancy indigestion is a real thing.

The Grit and Polish - Master Bedroom Home Birth Prep NightstandThe Grit and Polish - Master Bedroom Home Birth Prep Nightstand zoomThe Grit and Polish - Master Bedroom Home Birth Prep books

Of course there are quite a few other supplies we have on hand for the home birth: a box of medical supplies from our midwife, old towels, trash bags, a large bowl, an inflatable tub, and hoses/adaptors to fill said tub up.  It’s great to have everything on hand, but I’m secretly hoping this labor goes so fast that we won’t even have time to set up the tub 😉

You may remember that our 4-year-old, Wilder, is not much of a sleeper and usually ends up in a sleeping bag on our floor sometime in the night.  Well that hasn’t changed.  I’m not sure how Wilder’s continued tenancy in our room will play out with the frequent night wakings of a baby, but I’m hoping that it will be the kick Wilder needs to finally stay in his own bed.  All night long!

A mama can dream anyway 😉

The Grit and Polish - Master Bedroom Wilder's sleeping bag

Sources: hanging crib, Kindekeklein | pillow in crib, Serena and Lily (color discontinued) | unicorn head, Target | bed, Restoration Hardware (ours is from the outlet) | sconces in Aged Brass, Rejuvenation | cord cover, Amazon |Claire Elsaesser print, Etsy | white pitcher, Le CreusetIna May’s Guide to Childbirth book (highly recommend!) | Skyline rug, Rejuvenation | plaid throw, Pendleton (ours are from the outlet) | overhead light, Rejuvenation (6″ Jefferson in old brass with 14″ Classic Opal Schoolhouse Shade) | curtain rods (on sale!), Restoration Hardware | drapes, Pottery Barn | Wilder’s sleeping bag, LL Bean (similar)

xoxo

-Cathy

p.s. our master bedroom reveal from last November and surviving a not-so-good sleeper.

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Happy Friday + Links 7/7/17

Happy Friday to you!  We’ve had a bit of an up and down week around here.  There’s so much joy and excitement in our home as we prepare to welcome baby girl (I’m 39 weeks pregnant), but we had a sad event happen last week that left us all teary-eyed and reeling.  Our beloved dog, Hacker Pschorr, passed away after 9 years as part of our family.  In the course of one day, Hacker went from the healthy and energetic pup we had always known, to a seizure-ridden dog unable to stand and unresponsive to medication capable of knocking out dogs twice his size.  My sister-in-law/vet rushed to our local animal hospital and gave us the sad prognosis: there was little hope.  At 6pm, we had to put Hacker down.

Hacker Boy was one of the good ones.  A beloved member of our family.  My running/hiking partner.  The fetching star at every dog park he went to.  Our boys’ first pet.  And a frequent pain in my ass.  But goodness did I love that dog!  And while he didn’t deserve to go like that, I am thankful that his illness didn’t drag out (it sounds like he either had a brain tumor or got into some nasty toxins).

We will miss you Hacker Boy!

Hacker as a Puppy

Despite the sadness, we did manage to have a lot of fun around here.  Since I’m super pregnant, we found someone to help with our Seattle rentals, meaning less awkward bed making for me and more time for hanging with the boys, nesting, and baking/canning/etc at the Farmhouse.  It’s been a blessing having this extra time with my boys before baby arrives and uses up all my attention.  But for the record, I’m ready for our sweet little girl to get here already!

Well it’s Friday, meaning it’s time to grab a cup of coffee and dig into these links!

I took the boys to pick out a “welcome to the family” gift for baby girl, and each selected one of these adorable stuffed fruits/veggies (how cute is the green bean?!).

How to afford home projects while building financial freedom.  Kim has her head on straight and there’s lots of great advice in here (especially “Don’t be normal.”).

Hooray for blue and white kitchens!  And a double hooray for including the 6-day-kitchen reno!

How to foster creativity at work (or just life in general).

I’m on the lookout for a comfy glider.  With every pregnancy, I’ve promised myself one but have yet to actually buy one.  That’s probably because they’re so dang expensive.  I’ve been dreaming about this one or this one, but they are such splurges.  I’d love recommendations if you have a cozy rocker/glider that you love, especially if it didn’t cost a small fortune!

It recently hit me that I’m about done being pregnant…forever!  Which means I get to indulge in the occasional beer, glass of wine, and most definitely these tequila popsicles!

Hope you have a great weekend!

xoxo

-Cathy

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Almond Cake with Rhubarb Strawberry Preserves

THE FARMHOUSE

Our oldest kiddo, Wilder, turned 4 this week, which has me feeling all the feelings.  On the one hand, I can barely remember a life without our wild child in it, but on the other hand, wasn’t he just born like last year?  Ugh, these years are short.  One thing that’s for sure though, I really love the person that Wilder has grown into.  He’s gregarious, active, considerate, and always, always loves to have a good time.  So naturally, we had to celebrate!

Birthdays are a special occasion around our house and they always include a homemade cake.  I spend weeks planning out the perfect pairing of cake and frosting and spend way too long decorating the concoction.  It’s a tradition that started when Wilder was born (he was born at home so I asked my sis to whip up the Poshusta family apple cake recipe in our oven on the day he was born) and has continued for every birthday for everyone in the family.  I’m a bit of a baking addict so channeling the sugar highs into one decadent, celebratory cake (for every holiday, of course) has not only been fun for me but also better for our health than the weekly cookies and cupcakes I used to make.

This year, Wilder requested a chocolate, rainbow dinosaur cake, which had me really scratching my head.  Thankfully, at the last minute, he changed his mind.  I pitched two cakes: a simple chocolate cake (I used the recipe on the back of the Hershey’s coco box) with vanilla buttercream and an almond rhubarb cake stacked with whipped cream.  He was happy with those.  Originally I planned to make mini cakes for everyone, but with the birthday party guest list at 40, I decided to make one mini cake for Wilder to blow out his candle, and larger cakes to serve to the masses.  Today, I wanted to share our almond cake recipe with you guys.

This almond cake is sooo good.  It’s dense and nutty, but still sweet and moist.  My mom, who has had her share of birthday cakes in her day (my whole family is a little obsessed with baking), told me it was the best she’d ever had.  And guys, I might just have to agree.  The cake recipe originally came from the Macrina’s cookbook, which I’ve been baking out of since my sister-in-law gave us their cookbook 10 years ago, and has evolved into a recipe all it’s own.  The rhubarb, strawberry jam was inspired by Molly Yeh’s recipe.

Almond Cake with Rhubarb Strawberry Preserves

*this recipe makes one 9″ layer cake or 4 3-layer (or 6 2-layer) mini cakes

 

for the cake

3 large eggs

¾ cup full-fat plain Greek yogurt

2 tsp almond extract

1 tsp vanilla extract

8 ounces butter, at room temperature

1 ½ cup whole wheat pastry flour

1 ½ cup granulated sugar

¾ tsp baking soda

¾ tsp baking powder

½ tsp ground sea salt

1 ½ cups almond flour (I use Bob’s Red Mill)

Grease two 9” round cake pans with butter and line bottom with parchment paper. Combine eggs, yogurt, almond extract, and vanilla extract in a small bowl and whisk by hand until combined. Set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer beat butter on high until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the dry ingredients into butter and mix slowly until combined. Increase mixer speed to medium and mix for an additional minute. Scrape bowl down, add half of the egg mixture, and mix until combined. Scrape down bowl and repeat with the remaining egg mixture. Pour batter into prepared pans and bake in 325-degree oven. Start checking for doneness at 25 minutes (toothpick should come out clean). Let cool on a wire rack.

for the rhubarb jam

2 1/2 cups chopped rhubarb

1/2 cup strawberries

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 tsp sea salt

juice of 1 small lemon

In a medium saucepan, combine the fruit, vanilla, and salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until mixture gets thick, about 30 minutes. Remove from heat, add in lemon, and let cool. Jam should be stored in the fridge.

for the whipped cream

1 cup heavy whipping cream

1 tbsp powder sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract (optional)

In a small bowl, beat cream, sugar, and vanilla with a hand-held mixer until stiff peaks form (or use your stand mixer).  If you don’t use right away, store in fridge.

assembly

9″ layer cake: After cakes cool, remove one layer from pan and place on a cardboard circle atop a cake stand or plate.  Cut the top of the cake flat with a large knife (and share the top with your kiddos to make their day!).  Spread a generous layer of rhubarb strawberry jam on top of cake and then spread 1/2 of the whipped cream over that.  Place second layer on top of cake and spread the remaining whipped cream on top.  Decorate with slivered almonds and sliced strawberries.

Mini cakes: Place cake rounds on a cutting board.  Using a biscuit cutter, cut out rounds from each layer.  Follow assembly instructions above.  You can stack cakes 2 or 3 layers high, but 2 layers are more stable, especially if serving to kids.

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Do yourself a favor and make this cake for whatever event you have coming up (or can dream up).  Just be sure to let me know how you like it!

xoxo

-Cathy

p.s. Brooks’ birthday cake from last year, and my nephew George’s first birthday cake.

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Happy Friday! + Links 5/5/17 (Mother’s Day Edition!)

Happy Friday and Cinco de Mayo to you!  I hope you have black beans boiling on the stove and ripe avocados on the counters.  Mexican food is a THING at our Farmhouse so you can bet that we’ll be mashing our beans and salting our pico tonight!  Or if the day runs long, we’ll be stopping by our favorite taco truck.

Mother’s Day weekend is only a week away…are you ready?!  This year Garrett and I invited our mothers over for brunch and a day of gardening at the Farmhouse.  I’m hoping to spend all day with my little loves and the grandmas and also get a vegetable garden planted.  Win/win 😉

Being that I’m pregnant this Mother’s Day (with my third child…how did that happen?!!!), I’ve been feeling nostalgic about it.   I remember my first Mother’s Day present.  I was 37 weeks pregnant with Wilder, and walked into a hospital in Portland on Mother’s Day (turning down a wheelchair from the attendant who thought I was there to give birth myself) to find the room where my sister was laboring with her second child.  After a long and slow afternoon, a perfect little baby was born, and they named her Gweneth Catherine…after me.  No Mother’s Day gift can compare to that (except for my sister who got to take that sweet baby bundle home), but I’ve done my best curating a gift guide for all you home lovers out there.  My only criteria was finding gifts that I’d love to bring home myself.  Hopefully every dada or kiddo can find something their mama/grandma/aunties/friends would love in here.  I asked Garrett and the boys for #4 plus a day of gardening 😉

The Grit and Polish - Mothers Day Gift Guide 2017

1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6 // 7 // 8 // 9 // 10 // 11 // 12 // 13

And since it’s Friday, here are a few more links to fill your morning.  Grab a cup of coffee and dig in!

Baking celebratory cakes is a big hobby of mine so I’m eagerly planning our Mother’s Day cake. My mom’s favorite cake is a hazelnut torte and my mother-in-law’s is an angel food cake and I’m not really sure there’s any way to combine those, so I’m thinking about this.

A few mama’s share how they work from home with kiddos.  I’m always curious how other moms and dads find that elusive balance, especially when they’re home with kids and have outside work commitments.  But I’m learning that balance isn’t really a thing when parenthood is involved.

I just found this Insta account last week and this post brought me to tears – happy mama tears – and made me so grateful for the joy of motherhood in my own life.

Have you guys been following the One Room Challenge this Spring?  Check it out if you haven’t yet!  I can’t wait to see how everyone’s room turns out in 2 short weeks!

Happy Friday everyone!

xoxo

-Cathy

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