Tales From a Forager's Kitchen Sneak Peek!

9/9/16


The other busiest but beautiful thing this summer has been WRITING a COOKBOOK! I still have to pinch myself OFTEN that I am actually doing this. But it seems like it's been this beautiful back and forth between Max and I, coming up with ideations and shoot locations and illustrative visions. I've been working on the manuscript, still formulating a lot of recipes and shooting with Matt Lien. Our first shoot was epic and I am just thrilled to be working with him. He captured every single thing I imagined for this shoot depicting a "connection with the earth." It's been such an incredible joy to dream of this book in print with Max. To bounce around ideas and nail down the illustration details. Here's a few sneak peek shots. 


All I want to do is share and write and seep everything that I've been writing and looking into and experiencing during the manuscript process. It has been really enjoyable. Lately though, I have been thinking about the idea of a connection with the earth. A pause with it's beauty. A deep appreciation. It rained for the entire duration of the shoot. Unplanned bliss. What it means to walk through the earth and fully embrace all it has to offer. To breathe it in and experience what it might do for us to be outdoors. The texture of wet moss. The cool air during the middle of a rain. The way that everything both brightens and deepens in tone at sunrise. What excites me is gathering goods that grow from the ground, but likewise simply having a mindset to connect to what we are eating with intention. Even if someone doesn't live near the woods, the essence can translate into what is on their plate- wherever they are, wherever they live. I've been curious about delving into what small intentional steps of appreciation and new experiences with earth grown goods can do for us and our well-being and intrigued with how to bottle up intention and wonder and pour it out at the table. 

This swamp was gorgeous. I am so happy Matt was able to capture how magical it was. I will say though, it was pretty chilly that day.  



I cannot wait to have this beauty published and I hope it connects with you somehow and draws you to nature and this beautiful earth. 


Home in the Woods!

9/9/16



Home! So very thankful for this home on an island in Minnesota in the woods. It's about four acres of mostly woods and a little bit of grass and just everything we've ever imagined for a home. It was the strangest and coolest way how everything worked out. That morning we had put an offer on another place. A cute little white home with a small yard in Marine on Saint Croix. We saw SO many homes. Like, SO many. I felt bad for our realtor to be honest, but she was incredible driving out to Wisconsin with us and all across town it seemed. We finally landed on the white house and honestly felt like, "let's just do it.. this place would be great and we will have land someday." They counter offered a heck of a lot closer to their asking price, we didn't blame them as we offered a lot lower just to see what happened and then spent the afternoon deciding if we were going to try to counter.. etc.. It was a long, long day. We were all exhausted, still packing up all our belonging and grinding through it all and just the day before we asked our realtor to just open up the entire MLS search for "homes in Minnesota with more than one acre under $260,000" Sometimes it's weird to talk numbers, but, whatever. I was sitting by the counter sweating my buns off, just clicking through the search results... click click click... and then all of a sudden a picture popped up of an A frame. I jumped, like WHAT! How can this exist in Minnesota? I've only seen these on Pinterest. :) HA. I flew through the images while simultaneously yelling for Max to come into the kitchen to show him. He came in and we were both like, "uhhh..... this is everything we have ever wanted in a home." So we called our realtor immediately and said, "we want to make an offer....!!!" She was like, "Okay!!! You should probably see it first though, too." :) She's smart. So we packed up the girls and drove out to see it and the whole time at home and packing up I was a major wreck. As someone who not only values emotions, but feels them often, I was a MESS! I was feeling like, this is our DREAM home. Oh my gosh, it has to work out! Max was like, "You need to chill. Pull yourself together Fox!" Seriously. But on the way we were driving and drove across the bridge to get on the island and he turned to me and said, "I'm sorry. You should be able to feel everything and all you want to feel. So if you want to freak out and we don't get this place and you have to deal with the heartbreak, then that's ok. You should have the freedom to feel." By the time we were almost there, passing the girls toys and waters and snacks along the way, we drove up the driveway and heeding Max's words I just bawled my eyes out. The trees sweep over the long driveway and I felt like, woah we are home. We got out with the girls and just walked around. It was so quiet. Yeah the paint was chipping and the kitchen was a little YIKES. The carpet was stained and there was a hole in one of the doors. Linoleum met two different types of wood and the entire interior and exterior needed a paint job, but I'm not kidding it all looked like the most glorious sight we have ever seen.  That hole? We can fix that... that carpet.. that can come out. It was perfect. Optimism at it's finest, seeing things for what it could be instead of what it is. 


So we made an offer and the seller was to present to the sweet old lady who owned it. We sent a letter describing our dreams for the home and a small picture of our family just to say, "Hi! We are real humans who want to live in your beautiful home. Can we buy it?" We've done this with both homes and highly recommend doing it if you are buying a house. You'll see why soon. So we had to wait about 24 hours until she listing agent was presenting to her because hello, this elderly lady had busy schedule! :) She presented the following day and about ten minutes before our offer was presented, another one came in and it was a cash offer. We didn't know this at the time, just that there was another offer and we were so nervous. This all seems so trivial, like, Johnna it's just a place to live and why are you being crazy, but it was just a lot to take in finding the perfect place and just having to wait to see if we could live there and raise our girls there. Anyways, Max took Minoux on his nightly walk which he has done since she was little and I took a bath with Lue. It was the only thing on my mind until the two minutes that it wasn't on my mind and I heard a big bang on our front door. I was naked with Lue thinking, what in the world who is here and why are they still banging on the front door? We peeked our heads out the front window and sure enough it was our realtor and her family with a bottle of champagne and red bull (her classic go to... of course.. yeah she's THAT cool) and they screamed up to us, "YOU GOT THE HOUSE!!!" I cried my eyes out and Lue was just like screaming with joy as loud as she could. She didn't even know really what was happening but it's the kind of thing that describes her so well, she's just like "AH I don't know why we are happy but I'm FREAKING HAPPY!!!"  Max came home from his walk and we all just say in our half packed up home drinking champagne and red bull and couldn't believe it. Then the hurdles began with all the financing and needing a specific type of loan etc.. you know, all the garbage stuff where the banks pretend it's a fun game of Monopoly and they just move your money around like they're eating popcorn at a sleepover and taking turns on the board. Sorry, no.. I'm really grateful and in the end it all worked out really well. We were able to get a small construction loan to make some of the larger changes that needed to be done right away. The day we closed we ripped up carpets and flooring and took off old doors and the interior paint was done that weekend. Those things alone made it completely come to life and couldn't believe how much it changed things. We showed our parents and they all *mostly* saw the potential for it. That's a story for another day but my parents helped us that weekend rip our the carpet, patch up holes and walls and clean out every room from top to bottom. We had the interior and exterior sprayed with a fresh coat of paint which made it feel like a brand new home. We didn't have air. Wait, we still don't have air besides one small unit upstairs that barely cools down that room. I would never even think about complaining about how sweaty of a summer it was or that my bangs just straight up curl everyday because of the humidity because I still can't believe we get to live here. Who needs air when it's 90 degrees anyways, I mean, well. 


Words can't describe what it means to be here. To have the land and the woods and the space inside the house. The A frame and the garage and the windows and that big cherry blossom tree out front. I can't wait to see what color it blooms into. We don't even deserve it all and can't explain the amount of gratitude and hard work was spent to work all the pieces of the moving puzzle to get here. So much work. But a long time ago, our realtor who is also a friend had shared with us about vision boards. Look it up, but everyone needs to do this whether you are religious or not religious or believe in prayer or anything. But a vision board is simply laying out your dream and goals. They can be personally, professionally, or emotionally. Things you want to get to or achieve in the one year, five years or ten years.. or however you want to design it. Things you dream about. Talk about them with each other, cut out photos and make an actual physical board or talk about them to strangers and then also... work your butt off to make them happen. It's not like they all magically appear but it give a clear vision for where you want to go. What you want to work towards as an individual or couple or family. This was on our list since we first got married. An A-frame. Maybe it sounds silly and sometimes I can't even tell if just I think it's all cool or if it really is, but we are happy here and that's all that matters. Home on an island in the woods. Glad to be here with Max and our girls and sweet pets. No air, and all. It's not perfect, but it's officially home. 




Up North!

9/9/16

So we had a little bit of time in between when we closed on our next home, so we drove up north for a mini family vacation and stayed a cabin on a lake. We had the brilliant idea of driving up there in the evening while the girls slept, but ended up hitting a huge storm and it was a brutal drive there. But all in all, you win some you lose some... the girls were crashed asleep. We had a wondering time together with the girls foraging, eating, cooking, sleeping, writing, and chalking. Literally that's all we did besides the lake days when it was good weather. The lake was right off the deck and both girls absolutely loved the water. If you're ever looking for a place to cabin in Minnesota, you have to check out some options HERE
















Exercising on trees. Totally legit. He teaches me so much. 
























Minnesota, you are just the best! 

Home Sold!

9/9/16


It's been a busy summer! We sold our home in Stillwater and moved! Such an incredible whirlwind and sometimes can't believe it all happened so fast. We put our house on the market and a week later accepted a cash offer and they requested to close in two week. So the same day we found out about the accepted offer, I started putting our belongings in boxes and purging the heck out of our house. It was a wonderful cleanse. I narrowed down my entire wardrobe to only things I truly love, got rid of a ton of toys that the girls never played with and the biggest one was going through the kitchen and narrowing down the items that I never used in there. It felt SO good to cleanse. 


It was incredibly emotional to leave this home. Luella crawled and walked here for the first time, it was our first home as a married couple, and I was pregnant with Minoux in it too. Such a flurry of busy but the day we closed, we swept up the last bit of dirt and took out that last box of random cleaning supplies and walked through the house with the girls. Max carried Min and I carried Lue and we just walked through each room saying goodbye as the tears dripped down our face remembering so many memories. Luella was even sad and we all just held each other and talk through some beautiful moments. This house carried us through three Minnesota winters. We walked to so many parks nearby, the community garden, had friendships bloom under this roof and Max and I grew a ton throughout this time too. It's where I started photographing the meals and recipes that inspired me. The pets both lived here as their first home with us and just wow, so many emotions. 



I think whenever someone sell a home, it's a bittersweet for sure. We wanted a little more land, to stretch our wings and breathe and we've always wanted to be in the woods or close to them. So the change was welcomed, but we couldn't help but just have so many treasured moments there. We dropped the girls off at Max's parents and went back just Max and I and sat at the top of the stairs just holding each other crying. (Yeah we are super emo... we're not ashamed) So much emotion and hard work went into preparation for selling but also the two weeks that just flew by with packing and working and life and it was finished. Onto the next. We felt like we were able to process it all so beautifully and will forever have the most delightful memories of "Green House" as we all call it. Luella named it that one time and it sorta stuck. Goodbye Green House! 




 We have visited a few times since moving and while we are really happy with where we are at, it's been a joy to go back and relive some of our moments in a busier town. The home went to the most beautiful family who own their own stationery company and we've stayed in touch quite a bit. They've already made the space even better than we ever had it, and it weirdly feels good that it's in good hands. 





If you're looking for a realtor in the Arizona area, we literally couldn't recommend Nicole Park enough. She carried us through this whole transition and was just absolutely incredible. 


Goodbye sweet Stillwater home! We love you! 
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