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Submitted Monday, November 2-- wait is it still Monday?? I swear it's been dark since noon. #notreally

Last week we had a windstorm. The worst in something like 200 years. 70mph wind gusts, branches in the windows (not ours, thankfully), cardboard strewn all over the yard (yep, that one's us). It was big and it was sometimes-scary and the power went out for four hours, then it came back on for about three minutes (yayy!), then it went back out for another . . . forever (arghhg). Once the power was finally back on for good things seemed promising, but somehow the power forgot to bring with it the rest of modern life as we know it, so that was inconvenient. My phone wouldn't send or receive text messages at will and Gmail decided to stop delivering my mail to me, like, all together. No emails! For a week! But lots of phone calls from people being like, I'm EMAILING you what's the DEAL! Talking on the phone isn't fun but it turns out it's not THAT bad. Though trying to binge watch Netflix while the wifi isn't sure it remembers how to work . . . I mean, we have important business to attend to, people! 

And then the Jeep up and stopped working. Soooooo . . . WHY??

Speaking of Netflix.

Did I mention it got dark at 9AM today?

Picture it: You've got B watching Mad Men on the iPad, me watching The West Wing on the laptop, Huck watching Disney Junior on the TV . . . all in the same room upstairs, all on the same futon, empty string cheese wrappers EVERYWHERE, needlepoint stuff off to one side. Sad translation of the term "Netflix and Chill," am I right?

Well. The West Wing? My new coping strategy for the worst parts of the Clomid (day 9 through ALL OF IT) is thinking about the Buddha (oh, the Clomid rage!) and watching lots of Netflix. 

I'm just kidding about the Buddha. 

So I finally finished The West Wing today (lots of fast forwarding through Jimmy Smits scenes, sorry dude, I just want Josh and Donna to kiss already). I cried like a blubbering baby (BARTLET FOR AMERICA!) (SAM SEABORN!!), as you do, and now that that's accomplished I am now prepared to engage in the all-important next step in The Great Netflix Experience (which mirrors The Great Reading Harry Potter Experience), which is the Rough Re-Entry Into Real Life experience. And how inadequate does it make me feel that I'm looking around me and I'm like,"This isn't the White House! I don't work at the White House! Nobody is racing around me with witty banter! I have nothing important to do! How did this house get so messy?!!" 

And how cute is Josh Lyman? He's kind of a creep but also, mostly pretty cute. #redheads 

Then you walk around collecting empty Diet Coke cans and fishing that pillow out from between the couch cushions and clearing all your abandoned socks and blankets and sweatshirts from your Netflix nest of garbage all the while you're like, "I'm pretty sure I have something I should be doing right now . . . what was it?"

It takes you a minute! You know.

Luckily my email finally decided to get its act together this morning. I woke up this morning to 300 not-junk unread emails after going to bed with zero. THREE HUNDRED!?!?

(Soooo, if you emailed me this week . . . I AM SO SORRY!)

Anyway, that's the update from the sticks. Post-storm clean up. Clomid storms, Netflix storms, windstorms, car trouble storms, ramping-up-to-the-holidays-needlepoint-gifts storms. We are in storm repair mode. 

(Though I might already be ready for another Netflix binge instead. Let's just say I've been operatically singing "Cloooo-miiiiid" a lot these days. Any series recommendations?) 

The end.



If you like . . . I now present an ode unto soup weather. 

Oh, soup weather! Soup weather is my favorite weather. It's also Brandon's favorite food. After spaghetti. He likes to order the soup of the day whenever we go out to eat. I think that's funny. Who orders soup? Well, Brandon orders soup and I'll tell you why I think that's weird. Because soup is an at-home food. You know what I mean?

Soup is an "at home with you and cold toes and a blanket and a 'this will cure everything'" attitude food. Soup is a determination food! Soup is a "here, let this help you" food.

It's also a pantry busting food, when you're like, I also have this can of beans? . . . Whatever, throw it in.

(We once got a curry carrot soup once from a restaurant over on 6th that nearly blew my mind, so don't take this as gospel or anything.)

I like soup because I like making soup. And eating it, but making it is the best. It simmers on the stove and everything just feels good. I think I may have rambled on about this in the past. But it's too much vegetables and herb bits for the small guy, at least the way I like to make it, and so soup right now is a just-me and B thing and Huck just gets to play third string with his peanut butter sandwich. You say "soup" and Huck gets this look on his face like maybe I've just suggested worms. But let's knock that off! Yeah?

Annie's recently kicked off a new product in their already amazing product line directed just at kids and soup. We put our heads together the other day and decided to team up on Huck to get him to realize he likes soup. Because he should like soup, he does already, something just tells me, and also because whenever there are Cheddar Bunnies involved, Huck is IN. Don't even have to ask him twice. 

So our friends at Annie's sent over a box full of soups and crackers--just for Huck! (and his parents who like to finish his leftovers ;)--and we set to work. Up first, Tomato Soup. It's Brandon's personal favorite, we started strong right out the gate. (Brandon loves tomato soup, and anything else guaranteed to get his acid reflux acting up. #dudes) Huck sniffed it appreciatively, but hesitated. I tossed some Cheddar Bunnies in it (bunny oyster crackers!), he ate all the Cheddar Bunnies out of it. Good progress, good progress . . .

It wasn't until we hauled out the Organic Star Pasta with Chicken that things really clicked into place. It's made with organic chicken + broth, and without any artificial flavors, synthetic colors, or preservatives, just like all the other Annie's soups. But what really got Huck was the noodles.

"There are bunny noodles in this??? And chicken!?! Well why didn't you SAY so?"

No kidding, he said exactly that, and then polished off two bowls. Seriously, kid?

Soup's on!

Oh my gosh that was just SO corny right now.

Slight subject change? I've been trying to take advantage of our porch this autumn whenever possible. It's crappy and it leaks, but it's there! And it often has views of chicken rumps, so, what on earth could be better than that. So most days when the sun is out we try to take our lunch to the picnic table to get some fresh air. Now that we're ramping back up to Tomato, that was our menu. Tomato Soup with some grilled cheese? Forget it. We got some goals. 

(Hey, Annie's is based out of Berkeley, California! Just like the Bravermans! #operationbravermanbackyard)

Buuuuuut it was a tiny bit freezing that day.

Right, Huck? So we brought it indoors. 

Actually the soup is really great and I keep having to remind myself to save it for Huck. Cracked pepper and a sprig of oregano in mine, please. 

Tip from me to you: get the Annie's Organic Creamy Carrot and Bunny Pasta.


Hey kid, don't spill. ;)

This post was brought to you by Annie's, Cheddar Bunnies, and the letter H. We're so grateful for the sponsorships we're able to secure and hope you love them as much as we do! #ChooseGood




Over the weekend, after what was I think a tough, stupid week for all of us (understatement), I got to throw a little dinner party for some of our friends with our new sponsor, Mouth

It was exactly what the doctor ordered.

Also I got to set the table with all my fancy fixins I never get to use!

Backstory time! I discovered a new-to-me company called Mouth earlier this month and we decided it would be fun to do some collaboration! After poking around the site and being like, THIS IS GENIUS, I remembered my girlfriends and I had been kicking around the idea of throwing a just-because, for-no-reason, uber-relaxed dinner party, but of course everyone's schedule needed to line up, we had to figure out who was in charge of what, plus we have jobs, school, and twelve kids between the four of us (I'm not doing too much of the work there), and we needed a cheatsheet. And now! Suddenly we had all this amazing food at our fingertips! We all found a free weekend, and then the clomid decided not to work this time around after putting me through all kinds of hell thank youuuuu yes I am complaining . . . So anyway, the timing was perfect, as I could really use the pick me up. And then the news from Paris came out and put all of that into perspective . . . 

All I'm saying here is that a dinner party with friends you love is a cure for whatever ails you. Big heartaches and little alike. 

And easy dinner parties, full of amazing snacks + treats all made by hand by small, independent companies you didn't have to work too hard to find, because it was all in one spot, that's a win.

As is a DIY cocktail station extravaganza. 

Mouth is a online collection of gifts and treats from independent makers all over the country. It's like a foodie dream come true, and the Tomato Jam! They also do a Wine Every Month, a Cocktail Party in a Bag, Thanksgiving kits, specialty spirits and mixers, there's a really awesome pregnancy subscription that sends you different artisanal pickles and chocolate every month . . . ha! You can choose from 3-month, 6-month or full 9-month subscription. That's good. I'm so glad I was introduced to this website, because I feel like it'll come in handy in the future in so many ways. 

Our night was so fun and relaxing and chill. It was like playing explorers, trying out this spread with those crackers, mixing this spirit with that tonic, that popcorn and that cheese, and Alexis brought over Chicken Tarragon Soup and we served it in bread bowls?

And then we busted out the Romeo + Juliet soundtrack on Spotify and, look.


One of the best parts of the night was when my friend Nate stood up with the bowl of chocolate covered Cheerios in his hands and said, "OH. MY. GOSH. EVERYBODY. HAS. TO TRY. THIS NOW." It about made me glow with cheesy happiness. I used to buy the not-Jacque Torres version IN BULK at the Trader Joe's in Brooklyn whenever they were in stock, and yeeeeeeees son. I was so excited when I saw Mouth carried them that I had actual exclamation marks hovering over my  head. !!!!!  

My favorite was the Tomato Jam with the Cremont Cheese on some bread bowl innards (we all know bread bowl innards are the reason for the season). The Spiced Pear Liqueur and Fennel + Black Pepper Bacon Jam were other rave reviews. 

Seriously, I promised my friends that I'd share some of the leftovers but the Tomato Jam is not leaving my kitchen. Ever.

A few more photos from our night now, as is blog custom.

I'm a lucky girl to have these friends. They all brought all their kids, too, because a party should be a party for everybody, that's my general theory. So Huck and all his buddies had themselves a pizza and a movie party upstairs, and we hardly heard a peep from them all evening. 

(Cupcakes make excellent babysitters.) 

Friends with fat babies, you guys.

It was a perfect early evening, and then everybody even got home in time for bed. My kind of party. 

A full list of the treats we sampled from Mouth at our party are below. And! You can use the code NATALIE15 for 15% off!

Artichoke Parmesan Tapenade (favorite! favorite!)

And a quick Chicken Tarragon Soup recipe . . . now!

1 roasted chicken taken off the bone
5 tlbs butter
3 cups sliced leeks
3 tlbs flour
4 c chicken stock
4 c heavy cream heated (Alexis says she throws some goat cheese in here too, just for funsies)
1 tlb tarragon, chopped
1 tsp salt
1 lemon, juiced and zested

Sautee leeks in melted butter in a large soup pot. Add salt and cook till translucent. Add flour slowly until mixture has thickened, then add heavy cream, a half cup at a time, while stirring, and then the stock, same method. Add tarragon, lemon juice + zest, pulled chicken, mix it all up, let it simmer 10 minutes. Enjoy!

This post was brought to you by Mouth, was a HUGE pleasure to write, and is the very best way to throw a party I can think of. Thank you for the wonderfully cozy evening!



Well hiiiiiiiii.

And now for an assortment of completely off-topic topics for your pleasure. It's probably going to be hideously long because it's been five millennia since I've been up in this joint. 


Item one. Clomid boobs. Are not to be trusted. 

Item two. So I have these chickens?

Look at them colluding on something all cute like. I'm onto you, ladies! 

So we've taken to calling them The Ladies and The Babies. Well, *I've* taken to calling them The Ladies + Babies. Those're my girls. Gosh I love those turkeys. I look forward to letting them out in the morning and surmising their evening activities (today I walked in on five individual circles in the straw, each the perfect size of a chicken butt, like mysterious crop circles--were they trying to send me a message?; the other morning I came in to find all eight of them battling for space on the coop window ledge, poor Cuddles front + center getting smooshed all to heck, her little face pressed against the chicken wire, all of them packed in there tight with one Cuddles eyeball sending me an acute expression of alarm mingled a knowing understanding that that spot in the front means she's boss, and that's worth something, so she'll take it like a champ), and I look forward to ushering them up the hill and tucking them into bed at night. 

Somebody always has an attitude about something

I find it delightful!

Huck only likes The Babies because he has decided he is their mom, but me and Cuddles, man. 

Tiny Cuddles. She's kind of like my assistant manager. 

She'd be the one to stage a mutiny, I'd bet.

Speaking of the Huckleberry Hero (his chosen alter ego), well, these days we are into buttered noodles. It's buttered noodles all day errday. I like mine with salt and pepper, sometimes thawed peas from the freezer, but really it's just about the butter and the noodles, if you're a Huck. He's a noodle purist. All day. Every. Day.

I used up the last of the carrots from the farmer's market in a SPECTACULAR failure of a supper. 

No, I can call it that now because I live in the sticks. Don't even argue with it.

But the good news is, my Getting Off the Brooklyn Eat-Out Wagon has been successful! (We eat a lot of cereal.)

I've been crocheting dish rags for Christmas presents. It's soothing as all get out. 
(Sorry for spoiling the surprise, sissies!)

(The water filter is a Soma and I love it.)

Dressing in blankets nearly 100% of the time. (Hat is from Aporta!)

Crunching in leaves that are still hanging on. Though they're starting to get smooshy. 

Points to Idaho for having this policy of nobody raking their leaves, ever

By February it's going to be sliiiiiiiiime. 

Nobody asked me for a picture of a cute red house but here I am, just the same!

In my next life I want to be a red house. 

Get it, Huck!

Okay this is old school out the yin yang and happened a million years ago, but. The other . . . month? . . . Huck met a snow owl.

Is that a snow owl? I don't even remember. BUT LOOK AT HIM, will you? He is perfection. 

As is this dude. The other month I met a pony! 

And then we fell in love. 

A photo from a sunny day in September . . .

And this! From last week.

So we are attempting the Danish art of hygge.

Good grief! I'll get better at this, yeah? 
ps my ten-year blog birthday was two months ago. 


Heyyy, Nat The Fat Rat, over and out.