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December 2012

December 27, 2012

Autism and Hope

The last several years at this time in December I've thought about our year and what it brought. Each filled with challenges and triumphs and lessons of life that I've been very thankful for. In time.


In October, one of our children was diagnosed with Autism. And actually, once we reached the diagnosis, it was an incredible sense of relief - a name, a focus, an answer, a beginning.

But getting there was a gut-wrenching journey that plummeted us all into a very depressing and heartbreaking place. What can a family do when your loved one is suffering and you don't know why?

Looking back, I've had to work through the regrets. I wished I had understood the signs. I wished that when I looked into autism that I had dug deeper, rather than being thrown off by what I'd initially read. I wished that we had known so we could have done things differently. So our child wouldn't have had to suffer so much. And each time we thought we knew what we were dealing with, we wouldn't have been set back even farther than before. Two steps forward, five steps back.

The greatest gift in all of this, of course, is the diagnosis. Knowing what we're dealing with and getting help. And there have been more lessons learned than I'd have chosen, if given a choice. But I wasn't, and that's the way it is.

Some things I've been reminded of and some wisdom I've gained along the way:

  • The importance of a good marriage really presents itself is when you're faced with hardship. I'm eternally grateful for Colin.
  • You never really know someone's story. Be kind. Be kind. Be kind. Even something as simple as a smile. There were days when I was so broken that simple kindness made me weep.
  • Trust your gut. You know your child better than anyone else.
  • Find doctors who are genuinely interested in helping your child. They really do exist.
  • Learn to let go of regrets. Regret is like poison.
  • Don't waste time on negativity. Move on.
  • Be open to true friendship. Friends are a gift.
  • Nothing is ever as good or as bad as it seems in the moment. ~John F. Kennedy Jr.
  • Be strong. It sounds simple, but taking on the role of Parent means you must be the rock, no matter how hard life can be. You owe it to your child, you owe it to the world.

As I look back on this year, it's best described as a year of healing and hope. No, it hasn't been easy, but whose life is, really? There are so many people facing challenges of their own and that's something that's easily lost sight of when you're suffering. For you, for me, for anyone who is suffering, I choose hope.


Hope is the thing with feathers 
That perches in the soul, 
And sings the tune--without the words, 
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard; 
And sore must be the storm 
That could abash the little bird 
That kept so many warm.

I've heard it in the chillest land, 
And on the strangest sea; 
Yet, never, in extremity, 
It asked a crumb of me.

~Emily Dickinson

December 23, 2012

The Holiday Spice Drawer

Part of the sweetness of Christmastime for me is making my everyday spaces festive. The places I spend a lot of time and where some may find drudgery. Like the laundry room, pantry, and my kitchen.

My spice drawer sits nestled in the island of my kitchen, amid many other drawers that make up what I call my Baking Center.



























Recently, I relabelled all of my spice jars and alphabetized them, which surprisingly I'd never done until now. Let me tell you, I love being able to find the spices I want quickly.













And I added in a variety of holiday sprinkles too. Now they're easily accessed right where we're doing all of our baking. But most importantly, they make me very happy every time I open the drawer. Merry Christmas!, they seem to sing.




























Spice Jars: Cost Plus World Market

Labels: Martha Stewart for Staples

Powdered Sugar Shaker: Ikea

Sprinkle Vessels (Vintage diner sugar packet holders): Silver Suitcase Antiques, Spokane, WA

Red Ceramic Spoons: Crate & Barrel

White Ceramic Spoon: Daiso

Holiday Sprinkles: Bake It Pretty


December 13, 2012

Treats From Harry & David

Sponsored Post:

Harry & David invited me to pick out some holiday treats to review for the holidays. My boys and I chose the Holiday Tower of Treats Gift Grand Classic. The package came quick as a flash. Inside, there were lots of lovely little packages to behold:

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These festive little boxes brought back happy memories of the Harry & David Treat Towers my grandparents would send our family during the holidays. Each little box filled with something special. Sweets like Moose Munch and Chocolate Covered Cherries. And let me tell you, I'm normally no fan of chocolate covered cherries. But these are different. Dried and perfectly chewy, and with just a hint of sweet tart to balance out the chocolate. Oh my. And Moose Munch? A delightfully tasty chocolatey, nutty, popcorny snack. Did you know Harry & David gave out 1000 bags of Moose Munch to the first 500 shoppers each day at The Farm Chicks Show this year? It was a HUGE hit!

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Other yummy treats included, Baklava, Truffles, Raspberry Galettes, Mixed Nuts, Smoked Salmon, White Extra-Sharp Cheddar Cheese, and their world famous pears. They're huge. And delicious, of course.

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The treats were a perfectly wonderful addition to a family gathering at our home and I was thinking they'd make a great gift too. You can find hundreds of wonderful gifts like these in every price range from Harry & David by clicking here.

I recently visited the Harry & David headquarters in Oregon. You can read all about it here, here, and here and learn why I love this company as much as I do.

This post was sponsored by Harry & David.

Harry & David is a sponsor of The Farm Chicks Show.

You can follow Harry & David on Facebook here, on Twitter here, and Pinterest here.


December 04, 2012

Instagramming it Up!

IMG_1834Hi friend,

I've entered into the land of Instagram. You can follow along with me here (or search for me under thefarmchicks). I'm heading to NYC this week and will share the sweetness that I see.



December 03, 2012

Winter Carrots

The clouds were rolling through as I looked out onto the garden. Black and gray, and puffy white, as if on a migration. Winter is coming! Winter is coming! They seemed to shout.

In the garden, my carrot patch was calling to me. So I threw on a jacket and my trusty rubber boots for a little harvest.


Have you ever had a winter carrot? The ones that sit and grow sweeter by the day. That have a snappy crisp like no other. Oh, I wish you could.

This year, we planted a variety and each shovelful was a surprise. Purple, yellow, orange. You never know what you'll get.



And here's what I've learned with the carrot patch. Don't thin the plants in the patch I'm planning on for a winter harvest. They'll grow too big if they're thinned.

See what I mean? Thinned (left) vs. not (right):


I trust your Garden was willing to die ... I do not think that mine was—it perished with beautiful reluctance, like an evening star. ~Emily Dickinson

The Golden Winner

Congratulations to Kelly, the randomly selected winner of the Harry & David Basket / The Farm Chicks Show 2013 Golden Tickets!

Here is what Kelly said, "I would invite my Farm Chick girlfriends over for a "WE WON THE GOLDEN TICKET!" celebratory pear feast!"

Well Kelly, sounds like you're going to be having a pear fest! Watch for your beautiful Harry & David's gift basket soon! And I look forward to meeting you and your friends at The Farm Chicks Show as our special guests!

Serena and The Harry & David's Team


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