Ali Edwards Capture life. Create art.

May 7, 2012

Baking And Bread And Blooms

I mentioned recently (during Week In The Life I think) about my emphasis on creating new pathways. Doing things a little differently in the basic routines around here, catching up on things that have been neglected (stuff like changing exterior light bulbs), and generally making new memories. Some days it’s easy and others it’s really, really tough.

I’ve been baking bread. I’ve had the Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes A Day book probably at least a year. Two weekends ago I finally tried it – the basic recipe – and it was awesome. Simon’s a really big fan.

I made cookies from the back of this month’s Everyday Food magazine. Loved them.

I spent a good deal of time outside over the weekend working in my yard. We live in a place that gets a lot of rain and a lot of cloudy days so when the sun comes out it just feels wrong to do anything but be outside. I weeded and then bought a couple more peonies and two white hydrangeas (I’ve been dreaming about adding those to my yard for awhile).

I love that Anna likes to come outside and play and hang out with me. She’s also becoming an expert at going to the garden stores with me. I’m working on encouraging Simon to be outside more too. Yesterday the two of them spent a good portion of the late afternoon playing pirates outside – hunting for treasure in and around the front and back yard.

I think about my parents so often when I’m in the yard. Thinking about how much they love to be outside, thinking about how I had jobs to do in the yard as a kid when we weren’t at the pool or a soccer game like weeding or picking up the dog poop. I think about the energy and the love that goes into the dirt and the stress that’s relieved by digging and pulling and lifting and breathing the fresh air.

I had friends over on Saturday night for Cinco de Mayo. Anna and Emma ran around and around and played and made mischief (like painting each other and the carpet). Kim & Dave & I made my Dad’s margaritas and cooked and talked about books and gardens (I want to start composting). Simon and Ben watched lego videos on u-tube. It was so nice to have them here.

Here’s to new pathways in familiar locations.

My Week In The Life album is in progress – I’ve got the first five days of photos printed out. I stayed out of my office this weekend and will be on a field trip with Simon today so it will be a few more days before I share my album here.


  • 1.
    Karen said…

    This morning I took my morning power-walk route the opposite way around! It’s always amazing how different everything looks when you just switch the angle of perspective.

    • ….
      christen said…

      i love that idea! i think i’ll try it.

    • ….
      Mary-Lou said…

      I was at a health improvement workshop Friday that recommend just this for developing & exercising brain pathways – the health care profession says it is often little things that can help us the most. :-)

    • ….
      Julie said…

      We did this on one of our hikes that we done a million times. When we changed direction of the way we walked I couldn’t remember where it started and ended! HAHA! It IS the little things!


    • ….
      Johanna said…

      I am so excited about your recent giveaways! I just got back into my “creative zone” and just looking for new inspiration.

  • 2.
    dawn said…

    Happy Monday Ali,
    Sounds like you had the best kind of weekend, love when the weather is finally warm enough to just be outside all day. How exciting to be planting and adding color to your yard.

    Good for you making that bread and even better that Simon loves it. We have tried a few new recepies lately, some are a hit and some are NOT!!

    What a great night with friends, we all need those kind of nights.

    Can’t wait to see your WITL soon, mine is still in process also.

    I spent some time scrapbooking and even pulled out my Ali Edwards binder to read thru again. Some of these ideas are on my list to use and scrap. So happy to read your creative list newsletter and having NSD on Saturday to jump start my scrapping again. Going to try a layout a day for this last month before kids are home then will try a layout a week over the summer.

    Have fun on your field trip.

  • 3.
    Nicky from Canada said…

    Being in the yard and digging in the garden is the best place for my soul. It is amazing what a little love can do. Enjoy the new path and the new growth!!

  • 4.
    JillT said…

    Kudos on having friends over-a couple-for supper. That was the hardest part for me of being a new single. Seems like you “lose” a lot when you are the odd man out.

  • 5.
    Brooke said…

    So, so inspired by your creating new pathways. It’s like my OLW has finally started to kick in. Making lots of changes around here and finding too that some days are better than others. Doing what is right for you and your family is an awesome feeling. And the journey to discovering what works is fun too.

  • 6.
    Carol Mc said…

    Lilacs are one of my favorites.

  • 7.
    Kelli Moss said…

    Ali – I love the perspective that you have and that you make time for the important things! I hope that you and Simon have a wonderful time on your field trip. As a mom of 2 boys (1 who will be graduating in a few short days), I can tell you that this time goes SO very quickly. Enjoy your time together and have a great day!

  • 8.
    Marie said…

    Having navigated some of the same waters you are traveling — I know of what you are talking about. For me, it was making the space my own — making the choices for myself & my kiddo — which might include more pink flowers or an impractical garden.

    Or vermicomposting — we have a worm bin and it’s tons of fun and very very productive. We got a pound of worms in the mail (seriously!) and have been at it for several years w/out too much fuss and with good results – and they are fast those worms. I am actually thinking of starting a 2nd bin b/c they can’t always keep up with us in the summer (the amount of veggie/fruit scraps we have). If you want to know more – let me know – happy to share our love of composting with worms! :)

  • 9.
    Liz said…

    You’re such an inspiration Ali and I hope the ‘easy’ bits get more and the ‘tough’ bits get less… keep up the good work, you are a complete source of strength to some of us out here. {HUGS} x

  • 10.
    Katie said…

    I have that bread book too! But I’ve always been a little too intimidated by bread to try it! I will have to bake some this weekend :)

  • 11.
    Helen said…

    Ali, I also find that certain locations/things such as baking/cooking bring back so many memories. I found myself crying, the other day, as I made gingerbread, the smell bringing back very strong memories of my deceased Gran baking from the same recipe in her kitchen. I could see her hands, smell her, see her eyes glittering, could hear her talking. It was a full Proustian moment! Its those intimate things, the ordinary extraordinary, that cultivate important memories isn’t it? I guess thats why we, as Mums, aim to do so many very ordinary things with our children, like baking, working in the garden, reading – they’re opportunities to slow down, to appreciate, to open ourselves to the extraordinary beauty there is in the every day. I guess that’s the most important gift we can give to our children – to learn to see that beauty, to appreciate this/that moment for what it is. It is of the utmost importance to be able to appreciate what we have, what is in front of us, to learn that these things are amazing, that they are enough.

  • 12.
    Suz said…

    Sounds like you had a lovely weekend at home. Looking forward to your WITL posts this week! Happy Monday! :)

  • 13.
    Terri said…

    What kind of cookies are those?

    • ….
      Ali said…

      They were called Citrus Doodles – from the back of Martha Stewart Everyday Food. They said they were like a snickerdoodle minus the cinnamon add lemon and orange zest. They were great!

  • 14.
    pam said…

    I love how you are taking this time of big changes and challenges to reflect and reinvent yourself, your perspective, your life. Although we may or may not be facing the same specific circumstances, we learn so much from your sharing your journey. Grateful for you, and excited for you and your continual, beautiful, evolution.xo

    • ….
      Ali said…

      Thanks Pam – love you!

  • 15.
    Katrina Kennedy said…

    Oh Ali,
    My garden is my total place of peace. It’s amazing how digging into the dirt and seeing all the promise of things placed into the soil. I love that I can plan and place and plant but then must step back and let mother nature take over. There is only so much I can do. I am forced to let some control go to make the garden become its own thing.

    Composting is an amazing part of the process. You become so aware of what you use and how it can become a useful part of the entire process. I could go on and on.

    I can’t imagine which I love more – photography or gardening. I’m so glad I don’t have to choose!

  • 16.
    Susan said…

    You make so many happy and loving memories with Simon and Anna. You are such a good mom.

  • 17.
    Anna Aspnes said…

    Hey Ali! We have a composter and failed last year as it is so hot and dry here. Make’s us more determined this year though. My Mum composts in the ground in England with all her veggie peelings and stuff. It’s a similar climate to Oregon so you could totally go that route.
    Our seedlings are sprouting, strawberry plants are fruiting…All good stuff. Must catch up soon!

    • ….
      Ali said…

      My Dad composted in the ground as I was growing up…I need to research it a bit more to figure out what makes the most sense for me. I have a big yard with a lot of clippings. I’d love to get to the point where I’m making some really good compost that I can get back into the ground. Excited to see you this summer :) .

  • 18.
    Kristy said…

    I’ve had that book for at least a year and a half. It was my new year’s resolution to learn how to bake bread and finally put that book to good use. About a month ago I opened it up and gave it a try…my husband and three boys loved it! Now I have to move on to some of the other recipes…

  • 19.
    susan garner said…

    I live in the desert so when I see the cloudy overcast days in your photo I can’t help but want to try some. I will send you some sun if you send me some rain….deal ?

    • ….
      Ali said…


  • 20.
    Gayle Lowrey said…

    Hey Ali, I don’t know if you are a fan of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series. There is a wonderful one called Chicken Soup for the Gardener’s Soul, so good! In one story a lady is telling her friend that she bought some new bulbs and hasn’t had time to plant them and is now going out of town on a trip. Her friend says she will plant them, so it is decided they will be left on the porch by the door. The friend goes over and dutifully plants every single one with care. Her friend comes back and she tells her that she planted them for her. Her friend starts laughing hysterically. She had forgotten to put the bulbs out, and her friend (being a non gardener) had actually planted the cat poop out of the garbage bag she had set out and forgot to throw away. The book is full of other wonderful stories :)

  • 21.
    scrapper al said…

    If you don’t have a lot a yard waste, then vermicomposting is a great way to go. It is perfect for kitchen scraps.

  • 22.
    Steph.S said…

    I had my dear dad till up the gardens last time he was here. I started seedlings a few weeks back. The peppers and zinnias are going strong; all of the tomatoes, however, have bit the dust. Would love to explore compost but feel that with my schedule the only thing it would result in is a pile of stink. Glad you had a great weekend. Thought about and talked about you a lot this past weekend (good things of course). You were missed!

    • ….
      Ali said…

      I love zinnias – need to plant some of those here. I did some tomatoes last year but it was just not ever hot enough for a sustained period of time – it’s like that here…you never really know. Miss you guys and looking forward to seeing you in the fall :) .

  • 23.
    Jenell said…

    Ali – also celebrated Cinqo de Mayo this weekend with margaritas – would it be possible to post your dad’s recipe? That looks yummy.

  • 24.
    Christine said…

    So happy for your productive weekend. I finally finished last July’s WITL. Not really sure why I waited so long but I’m very happy to have completed it. I think I just allowed roadblocks to get in the way from finishing it. I finally realized that I need to set aside time to do scrapbooking in my schedule. I have replaced television with crafting and I’m not looking back :) .

    • ….
      Ali said…

      Awesome! I watch very little TV too and don’t miss it at all!

  • 25.
    Cindy Welch said…

    I do see a change in you, in the way you write, present your stories and that you are now taking a little more “me time”. In the past I bet you would have had week in the life done already. Change sometimes opens our eyes to what we are missing, not what we have left to do. Its a good thing. So here is to Hello Ali!

    • ….
      Ali said…

      I don’t see how there’s any way possible I could not go through what I’m going through without being changed.

  • 26.
    Jules! said…

    Your bread looks BEAUTIFUL….added this book to my wishlist!

  • 27.
    Linda Marie said…

    Hi Ali,
    Your plants look beautiful…I haven’t been able to garden the last few years and really miss it. It’s satisying to see what you plant grow into something beautiful.

    LOVE the connection to your ‘UP’ word: rising bread, vines, tall tree, and up time with your friends.

    focusing on my OLW this weekend as well
    thanks for all you do! so inspiring! :)

    • ….
      Ali said…

      Love that connection too Linda – thanks for reminding me of that.

  • 28.
    Mel said…

    Have you read The Happiness Project Ali? Based on this post, it sounds like it might be right up your alley. A friend of mine just read it, and it’s on my list. :)

    I’ve always wanted to make my own bread. And, you should totally start composting! It’s awesome- my roommates and I did it in college actually.

  • 29.
    Missus Wookie said…

    Composting is great fun – we have a wormery as well, lots of fun and the nursery next door bring the Anna sized students over for a field trip :)

    Being outside in the garden is high on my list at the moment – between showers here too.

  • 30.
    Suzanne B said…

    The bread looks awesome – I’ve been wanting to try the version in that book – I just got it from the library.

    Which cookie did you make – it looks “lemony”

  • 31.
    Johanna said…

    Love all of your new giveaways! Just like Spring – my creativity is blossoming – with your help!

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