Happy Endings

Well, is it just me or did this past summer just fly by? Every year they get faster and faster. Well, as you know we ended our summer with a little country getaway. We rented a farm-house in Michigan for a week with the kids and just spent some quality time with absolutely no distractions (except for a few bee stings – poor Mike!). farm house

Thankfully Mike is not allergic to bees and recovered just fine; albeit rather annoyed. Aside from those two little incidents, the trip was utterly blissful. The kids were happy the whole time (no meltdowns or plate turnings) and they were inseparable. From morning until night, they were attached at the hip, playing and laughing. campfire

We did lots of cooking, ate every meal outside, read books, made crafts and even got to pick our own peaches. peach orchard

I’m not joking when I say that Miss A ate at least five peaches while we were in the orchard. peach picking

Somehow we still ended up taking home one whole bucket of fresh Michigan peaches. So as you can imagine, our next few recipes will be down right peachy. peach wagons

The farm house was exactly what we needed. It was peaceful and felt like home the second we walked through the doors. country home

It wasn’t extravagant by any means, but it was homey, clean, private and surrounded by grape vines. grape vines

And it was only a short 30-minute drive to sunsets on the beach. beach sunset

As simple as it was, we all agreed that it was one of our best family vacations. We all felt happy, connected and most of all rested. sunflowers

There’s not a whole lot to report back other than we spent a lot of quiet mornings in our upstairs sitting room overlooking the countryside. Then we’d make our way down to the kitchen area where the kids and Mike would read and craft while I cooked something up. I don’t think we were ever dressed or out of the house before noon! quiet mornings

Our days were lazy and spontaneous and then we’d head for some quiet nights either on the beach…sunset beach time

sunset girl

or back at the farm. country sunset

One evening, we sat around the campfire. Mr. N and Miss A were roasting marshmallows and Mike and I were sipping wine. The discussion turned to what a great trip it had been and that we should definitely visit the farm again. Then Miss A, usually not one for serious conversations, sighed and said, “Yes. This was like a happy ending for summer.”

Indeed it was. It was then just a few days later that I was snapping the first day of school pictures. Mr. N school day

It’s always the first day of school pictures that reflect back to me how much they are growing up and changing. First day of school

While the end of summer is always bittersweet for the kids, it was especially so for us parents too. Miss A is now a kindergartener, which means a full day of school five days a week. In other words, our house is suddenly very, very quiet. Since this was the first day of “real” school for Miss A, we weren’t sure how she would handle the separation. She had cried a few days beforehand, but otherwise was staying her tough little self. As the bus approached, we said our goodbyes and gave out our hugs. I was using every ounce of self-control to keep those tears locked away behind my sunglasses. I was standing behind Miss A, when she looked at Mike slightly panicked and said, “Where’s mommy?”

Just then, Mr. N walked up alongside of his little sister, took her by the hand and happily said, “Come on, Miss A.” boarding the bus

She looked up at her big brother and smiled. They boarded the bus and didn’t look back until they were in their seats, smiling and waving. As the bus turned away, the dam burst and my tears were flowing. Fortunately, I’m in good company and several of us moms were able to cry, laugh and hug our way through the walk home.

Miss A was right – that vacation was definitely a happy ending, but I also think that this is a new happy beginning. It’s definitely a new stage of life for us. For the past nine years, Mike and I have juggled our schedules both working from home and our offices. We’ve managed through the chaos and the stress to be stay-at-home parents as much as possible. Mike would stay home some days, I would stay home others, we’d work nights and sometimes weekends, trading off work and at home time, while trying to find a balance for quality family time when we could all be together. It wasn’t easy. And it’s the strangest feeling to look up, nine years later and think that those days are behind us. happy endings

While I very much miss my little buddies, I can’t help but think about all the possibilities and opportunities that lie ahead for all of us – and I’m excited. Even with only one week of this new life under our belts, I can already see that this next stage, might be just as fun as the last – particularly if this vacation was any indication. sunny side up

So since I’m feeling all happy and sunny, I figured we’d kick off our Michigan recipe series with some bright and sunny foods. This first recipe, is hardly a recipe at all. We obviously had a lot of peaches on-hand, so we used what we had in our little kitchen to whip up a fresh Peach Salsa. peach salsa

We used peaches, tomatoes, jalapeno, onion, honey, cherry balsamic vinegar and salt for seasoning. We first served our salsa as a side with tortilla chips. Miss A was not a big fan of the salsa due to the jalapeno. This was only a 2 spooner for her. Mike enjoyed the fresh peaches with his chips. It was a good blend of salty and sweet. salty and sweet

Mr. N and I enjoyed our peach salsa with the chips, but our favorite way to serve it was with a sunny side up egg on toast. peach salsa and eggs

Mike, Mr. N and I all gave the salsa 3 spoons. It was fast, fresh and was a simple balance of sweet and spicy. Print this recipe: Peach Salsa

Thank you all for your wonderful comments. We read them while we were away and always enjoy them. We read many of them to the kids and they enjoy following along as well. They know many of you by name, and will often ask which one of you provided the new recipe at our table (as many of your recipes are served at various meals). I promise I’ll get back to commenting soon, I just have a few projects that I’ve been sitting on for quite some time that I’m ready to move forward on; and of course, we’re still working out our new school time routines. Please know that I’m hovering in the background printing many of your recipes and that I’ll be popping in and out as I can as we try to find our new balance.

We’ll be back soon with a few bread recipes. Yes – I’ve actually made some bread! And the best part, it’s edible! Until then, here’s a flashback that happens to be another great use for peaches. We made this in Michigan too, and needless to say, Miss A devoured this one. :)Georgia peach cobbler

24 comments on “Happy Endings

  1. I am so happy that summer ended on such a happy and peaceful note.
    I am still trying to find my new balance with the kids both at school but your post put a big smile on my face (after making me cry at the first day bus goodbye).
    It is indeed a new beginning and there is a world of possibilities if you focus on “the sunny side” rather than the shadows :)

  2. I’ve had such a hard time keeping up lately, and I’m so very glad I went back tonight to check and see what you’ve posted. That photo of the children holding hands is just the most precious thing! What a wonderful moment to have captured. I hope by now Kindergarten is a happy experience, and you’re adjusting, too! :-)

  3. Caroline says:

    What a lovely getaway! And such beautiful photos…it’s crazy to see how much Mr. N and Miss A have grown up since I started following your blog. So, so cute! That peach salsa sounds delicious!

  4. Velva says:

    I really enjoyed reading this post. Thanks for sharing your family getaway to the farm. It definitely looked like a relaxing time. Cheers to Miss A for beginning her school journey.

    Velva

  5. Nami | Just One Cookbook says:

    Beautiful heart warming story (you always write so well to our heart!). My daughter started kindergarten too, and because she goes to school with her brother, transition was very smooth. I was the only one who is emotional. Your vacation seems perfect. I wish to have your exact vacation. Just relax and family time… our vacation is way too busy all the time and I need a vacation from a vacation. Really happy to see your family enjoy the nice break. Delicious peach salsa there.

  6. I love that photograph with your two sweeties in the wagons with their stash of peaches! You know, Kristy, you had me tearing up whilst remembering when my youngest when to Kindergarten. It’s definitely a turning point in our lives when slowly but surely we take back time for ourselves. It’s a wonderful but bittersweet moment. It seems like yesterday.. and here my little girl is in her last year of University and I can only hope she stays home for a few more years. But her sights are already set on a young man who is going to University in Alaska. There are a few more tears ahead for me I’m afraid. I sound like an old lady, ha, but enjoy these years.. stretch them out and savor!! ps Love the idea of a peach salsa.. I need to find some great peaches back home here.. they’re not as good as in BC that’s for certain! xx

  7. Raymund says:

    I made something similar a few days ago but I added mangoes as well. Nice with chicken I may say

  8. Karen says:

    Oh I’m a real softy for “they lived happily ever after” books and movies. What an absolutely sweet and heartfelt post. I’m so happy that you had a perfect ending to your summer. :)

  9. What a great way to reconnect and unplug! I am a michigander myself so glad you found your self a place to enjoy. What city were you in? Is that a picture over looking Lake Michigan? I would be right along Miss A. eating at least 5 peaches when they are still warmed. Your peach salsa looks delicious. (PS:I am so jealous that your kids got along so well on holiday. My boys have been fighting non-stop, they are getting on my last good nerve lately!)

  10. Purely.. Kay says:

    Awwww Kristy, you almost had me crying over here lol. I can’t cry at work now :). Mr. N is the perfect big brother I tell ya. He took care of it. My big brother was like that with me and my mother told me she knew we would be fine whenever she got old and left this world. I know that may sound a bit grim but I think you get what I’m saying. And my sister, brother, and I are still as thick as thieves :). This was an amazing post..

  11. Amy says:

    This brought me to tears because I totally forgot to take a picture of Kate on her first day of kindergarten. I took one yesterday (her 7th day). Maybe that will be close enough in the memory books . . . .

  12. Okay. WOW! I think I might be just a tad bit jealous! ;-) What an awesome getaway… and an awesome post. The kiddos are ADORABLE!

  13. hotlyspiced says:

    What a lovely post. I loved the images from the peach orchard and how wonderful to be able to pick your own fruit. And the grapes on the vine look lovely too. It certainly seems that you made the most of your summer with fabulous quality time for your family. It’s always so sad when your child starts school. How lovely that Miss A has a big brother to help her through. It does seem strange that your children go off in plain clothes – it’s uniforms here and the kids are always so excited to wear their uniform for the first time; makes them feel so grown up xx

  14. This post is full of beauty and I can absolutely relate to the school separation journey… it brings out the inner mommy in all of us and it doesn’t seem to matter what age or stage our children are at. What a huge milestone for Miss A (and all of you) and congrats to Mr. N for being such a supportive big brother. You’re right, so many new and wonderful opportunities await your family in the next phase. Absolutely gorgeous holiday venue Kristy — there’s nothing like a country setting getaway and those peach trees, wow! I’m struck by how much Miss A has changed even since the summer… your peach salsa is brilliant.

  15. sallybr says:

    It simply feels like I know you all personally… and this post is the Happy Ending of Summer by definition!

    I had tears forming in my eyes as I read your post and imagined the scene – touching, and beautiful

    Looking forward to this new phase of your family’s life!

  16. i want to go peach pickin. How much fun! I loved watching ya’ll spend your summer thru the pictures on your blog. You have such amazing kids. I can’t believe the summer is over either. I miss it already. Grant starts mommys day out for his last year this year before kindergarten next year. Anyway- love these eggs and the peach accompaniment.

  17. ChgoJohn says:

    Sounds like you found the perfect spot for a vacation, Kristy. When I was a boy, we rented cabins in different spots along the Lake Michigan shoreline of Michigan. Those vacations were wonderful and I remember them fondly, just as you all will. Big changes at the House of Four Spoons, eh? That first day is, by far, the hardest. Lucky for Miss A — and for you — that Mr N was there. :)

  18. Charles says:

    This takes me back Kristy – my parents weren’t well-off when I was a kid. My aunt was married to a farm manager and they had a fantastic, large, “L-shaped” house in the middle of nowhere. You’d have to drive a great way down these little country roads, and then finally have to turn off onto a private road about a mile or two long, and then finally you’d reach the house. Isolated, quiet and surrounded by fields and forest. My aunt and her family would go off every year for a holiday in Scotland and – joy of joys – we would go and house-sit for them, looking after their goat, ducks, chickens, dogs…

    I absolutely LOVED those days. I’m definitely a countryside guy at heart. We would stay at the house, eating family meals in the big kitchen next to the Aga, sometimes having something more fancy in the dining room… I’d get up outrageously early and take the dogs for a long walk, I’d pick apples (no peaches there sadly), it was just fantastic fun. It was only a week, but it seemed to last a month. Sometimes we’d go into a nearby town, but I was always itching to return to the quietness of the house and surroundings.

    Knowing how I felt – to feel such freedom – I can pretty much imagine how awesome it must have been for all of you. Such beautiful pictures, such wonderful memories – thank you for sharing them… it brought a manly tear to my eye, thinking about you guys and my own childhood from so long ago now.

  19. Eva Taylor says:

    I am so glad you had such an amazing time at the farm house. We’ve been taking it easy too and spending a lot if time at the cottage, but I’ll be getting back into the swing of things soon. That salsa looks wonderful and I’m already salivating for the other peach recipes you’ll be posting.

  20. Norma Chang says:

    I got very emotional reading this post. So many flashbacks, so many memories. I have learned, through the years, to look forward to the future but sometimes I wish I could turn back the clock. Thanks for a wonderful post.

  21. Mary says:

    What a wonderful summer you had!! such a fun vacation – my kids don’t go back until next week – although my oldest left for college last week!!! yikes!! The picture of your two getting on the bus is SO touching:) the salsa looks super delicious!
    Mary x

  22. What a very special and wonderful family you all are. This was the most beautiful post Kristy, thank you. :-) Mandy xo

  23. Awh it was so nice reading this that I missed my bus! Love the each salsa and the jalapeƱos included :)

  24. Dawn says:

    What a peaceful vacation, and congratulations on making it to the school milestone!! We have a couple of more days to go…that is if the teachers don’t strike.

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