Mexican Domestic Goddess


A Months Worth of Quick Takes

Jacqui Skemp2 Comments
So let's do a little catching up, shall we? It's been quiet on the blog front here. And while it wasn't intentional at first, it soon became so. I didn't have a timeline for when I would stop and start blogging. But I have been struggling with comparison, and then I came across this amazing post by Laura at Oakland Avenue. It hit home. And it was convicting. So I took a step back from blogging, and reading blogs (though I kept up with couple of favorites). She puts it so well: comparison is a thief. And it was stealing my time, my energy and my joy. 

In my time "off" I've been enjoying my family, cooking, and investing time and energy into our home life. Here are 7 quick takes at life here during the last month: 

1. I've been working on a few recipes to share and I will post those in due time. First, salsa pocha. I'll explain later. But know this, it is simple and delicious. 

2. It's been colder here so we've been enjoying Mexican hot chocolate. This particular chocolate is extra special because it comes from a smallish town in Mexico, and I stole it from my grandmas pantry.

3. I finally got my mom to write down the recipe my dad uses (that my mom taught him) to make a simple roasted chile. You will not regret the tears you may shed whilst roasting these peppers.

4. We went to pick some apples with our family in southern Minnesota a few weekends back. It's a very fall-ish activity but the weather was very summer-ish. I wore shorts and sandals. Iggy wore his best cowboy get up. 

5. I've been working on getting a few more blankets listed in my Etsy shop, Ceci Cebu, and I'll share more about that later. But this one is my favorite and I just might buy it for myself. 

6. After we hit up the apple orchards we picked pumpkins. And if you know more than I did you would know that none of these beauties pictures are actually pumpkins, except for the little guy in the front, but squash. Inspired by my friend Susana over at Living with Lady Philosophy, I roasted, pureed and froze most of this goodness. I saved some for a pumpkin pie and pumpkin bread with chocolate chips. I used Smitten Kitchen's recipe for a the pie. It took a long, long, long time but was well worth it.

7. Lastly, I've been enjoying some fall decorating and cozy blankets around our apartment. The house is old, and drafty and we have problems with mice and wasps. But it has character, and it works for now. I've learned to lean into it, and love it. It's our home. It's Iggy's first home, and that makes me love it all the more.

Head on over to Conversion Diary for more Quick Takes

You Make Me Happy When Skies Are Gray or Grey

Jacqui Skemp2 Comments
This is my seventh midwestern autumn, and I've learned that we need those colorful leaves, because, for the most part, the outsides are yuck. After living in a small, one bedroom apartment in an old building with "historic charm" (historic charm = crap plumbing and walls) we moved into another old building. 'Cause that's how we do. It's a duplex in a decent neighborhood. Ian calls it blue collar, I call it a lil ghetto. Our landlords are a renters dream, and before we moved in we asked if we could paint. They said not to worry about it, just send them the colors and they would have someone do it. So I had an hour to figure what paint colors I wanted. Not nearly enough time. So I scrambled, and after months of living with off white walls I wanted grey. grey. grey. grey. This tonta didn't have her head on straight. I chose grey for the two north facing rooms. I never, ever, thought about the direction a room faces and the light quality/paint color dilemma before. So we lived with grey walls that looked extra grey against the lovely grey backdrop of the longest and greyest Minnesotan winter I've every lived through. And I've lived through six. Kind of. I "winter" in California because my parents let me.

This summer I had a baby and now I feel like I can do just about anything. Like paint our walls. And we did! It only took about 3 months to sort it out, and I really owe my husband an apology. But he knew what he was getting himself into. So I take that apology back, buddy! I went to Sherwin Williams, picked a million little cards, taped them all over our place, stared at them, talked about them, moved them around, threw them away, took them out of the trash, tapped them back on the wall. It was fun. In the end, my amazing sister-in-law suggested I use the same color that her parents have up in their family room. I love their home, so I went with it. I had the color matched (because it's actually a Benjamin Moore color) and we taped everything off and went at it. I hated it. But only for a day. I even cried about it. Raise your hand if you're surprised. I love it now. It's warm and inviting and a whole lot of "Fennel Seed" goodness. 

We did end up painting both rooms the same color because I just couldn't handle the agony of choosing a second color. As you can see, everything had to be moved from one room to another when we painted. I also decided to deal with this monster. 

This past August our downstairs neighbors were moving out. Someones mother had given them this armoire and they kept it in the basement. They were going to take it with them to their new place, but after moving it up from the basement decided it wasn't worth dealing with anymore and they left it on the curb. Now, I'm usually the one that screams in the car for Ian to pull over so I can load up whatever free stuff has been left on the side for the road, but this time Ian went all crazy. He decided he wanted it, and employed the help of our poor neighbor downstairs to move the darn thing up. And there it sat, in all its glory, taking up precious space in our living room. I decided to go ahead and tackle that too. Call it providence, but I happened to stumble upon this little post and basically played copy cat.

I used a Martha Stewart color that's a deep navy. I was surprised by how much I hated this project. I love the finished product though. It's not perfect, but it was free and that works for me. 

Squash and Squishy Babies

Jacqui Skemp1 Comment
So that crazy acorn squash? Ate. It.

Two years ago, when we were real-real newlyweds, Ian worked at a few farmers markets and would bring bags and bags of produce home. Like a ton. I mean, more tomatoes than I could handle. He brought home all kinds of crunchy, white folk farmers market goodness. And I don't know if it's a midwest thing, or a non-my family thing or what, but I hadn't even seen an acorn squash up close. I'm pretty confident when it comes to cooking. Arrogant at times. But that stupid squash came home in his bag a few times, and I would set it in a bowl because it was pretty but it kind of intimidated me. Ian told me to just cut one in half and bake it with butter and sugar. Too simple. Not interested. I think he ate a whole one by himself. So there they sat, those pretty little squashes. A few months later, into to the trash they went.

I have redeemed myself. This year, Ian started working the farmers markets again and guess what came home. So I asked around, and used handy dandy Pinterest. Bam. This. Acorn squash stuffed with yummy stuffs.

I didn't follow the recipe exactly. I hate olives, so we didn't even have any on hand, which is sad for Ian because he loves them. But he didn't even know they were called for. Sneaks. I also added a bell pepper, and I ended up baking the squash But that's mainly because I didn't realize that this squash doesn't get soft like butternut squash or yams. I was expecting yams, ya'll!

On a side note, it's National Baby Wearing Week. It's a week of granola-mamas showing off their babies. I wont get into all the benefits of babywearing, but I know that Iggy loves it, and so do Ian and I. It really makes life easier and enjoyable for all of us. Here's some squishy cuteness.