winter wonder.

we headed out to share a favorite spot with friends, still early in the day, before the others were up and about. i was shivery and didn’t want to stay long; nor did our friends. we did a quick tour, and they headed out, on the road for their next destination.

 

long beach island family portraits legacy seven studios b

 

the little boys begged to stay, and we weren’t layered enough, but for once i remembered to stop, to listen, to be in the moment.

 

lbi family portraits legacy seven a

 

they tumbled and rolled, leaped and climbed over the dunes, their laughter ringing through branches and across icy sand.  one found a nest, long deserted for warmer times, and climbed to inspect its innards.  they’d dressed themselves, and for once i didn’t worry about look, but used my camera to capture reality, in all its beauty, and appreciated it without reserve.

 

long beach island family portraits legacy seven studios a

 

the quiet loomed large, with no one else to brave the frigid air, and it was a gift we shared in thankfulness when, their energy expended, they trudged through paths alongside my curious self.   no other brothers or sister to compete for words, just the freedom to wander and explore and have me to themselves, not knowing the greater gift was mine, by far.

 

i’m reading stacks of books just now, and one this week challenges me to stop, to still myself, and to absorb the detail in the moment.  i do this here, with the fine art of my own children as my object of study.  i watch, and i make mental note of the wonder.

 

long beach island photographer legacy seven studios a

 

i’m never lacking appreciation for the gift of their smiles (in some seasons with others down the road, i wonder if the hormonal gloom of adolescence will ever give way to sunshine again)… though often i’m ashamed to admit, i don’t enough appreciate their very presence.

 

lbi family portraits legacy seven b

 

so today, i soak them in.  i watch and i listen and i hold mittened hands.  we run for the car, and crank the heat for all we can.  i smell their joy, and i know thankful.

 

loveladies photographer legacy seven studios a

 

do you have moments of “keeping and pondering in your heart?”  i’d love to be privy to your sharing below.

 

dancing signature divider web

less and more {saying yes to the best}

to obey is better than sacrifice…  but sacrifice, with a generous heart, can lead to greater joy.

that’s a hefty thought to take away from saying no to ice cream, no?

 

the greater yes angela sackett

 

i’ve been on a health journey for a few months that has required giving up several food items i used to love.  dairy is one of those things, and i’ve mourned it.  how hard to navigate social gatherings when coffee gets cream, gelato is a girl-night treat, and every appetizer highlights cheese.  glorious cheese.

 

and even as i type these words, i see how silly it is to “mourn” the loss of a luxury food, when others go without daily.  and i am amazed each time i say no, because doing so opens up a new way to create, to enjoy, to savor.  i can’t have coffee with cream.  but aeropress and espresso are a pleasure as-is.  hot tea with honey is a treat.  and more, having nothing allows me to savor a moment, over a thing.

 

all this thinking about silly food (yes, this from a self-proclaimed “foodie” who is raising recipe-makers and pastry-bakers) points me to a bigger truth:

saying no to something can bring greater joy in what does get an intentional “yes.”

 

there’s a very popular book out right now called the best yes.  i haven’t read it, but i know the primary premise is wisely choosing what gets priority in life, and doing it amidst the roar of everyday life and its demands.  and as silly as it sounds, each time i say “no” to something i am not putting in my mouth, i feel like i am saying “yes” to something greater… a better me, with clarity of purpose, and more joy in what i do choose to enjoy.  i’m learning not to mope about “cannots” and to rejoice in “cans.”  and that lesson applies to a lot more than food.

 

(by the way – the pretty picture above is actually from my dairy-free salted maple ice cream.  click over to make it for yourself.)

 

dancing divider web b

valentine dessert cups {allergy friendly dessert recipe}

these may-i-say adorable dessert cups are a primal/paleo and allergy friendly dessert idea that you can make any time. i have to be honest, although the layered cups look so pretty, i was happily eating the oh-so-simple cherry chia layer by the spoonful from the blender.  maybe for breakfast.  which is ok, because they’re actually very good for you.  (you might, too.  i won’t tell.)

 

watercolor gift tag angela sackett b

 

i think these would be a wonderful gift for a friend – the jars are wonderful to use for all sorts of things after (buttons?  pretty paper clips?  more desserts?).  and because they have their own lids, you can make them early in the day and serve when you’re ready.

 

valentine_gift_ideas_a

 

sometimes i don’t feel very paper-crafty, but i loved making the pretty watercolor tags for these.  i am sharing them today at skip to my lou!  click on over for a super simple tutorial and a free printable – a perfect last-minute gift for your sweeties.

 

valentine_gift_ideas_b

 

are you a last-minute-gifter?

 

valentine_gift_ideas_c

 

one tip from the trenches: i found that with the chia (or was it the coconut? the gelatin? i’m not sure!)  the texture wasn’t as pleasant the next day, so i’d recommend devouring these beauties the same day.

 

watercolor gift tag angela sackett a

 

do holidays bring out your inner artist?  what’s a favorite project you’ve created?

 

watercolor gift tag angela sackett d

recipe below!

valentine dessert cups {allergy friendly dessert recipe}
 
Ingredients
  • cherry layer:
  • 3 cups frozen cherries
  • 3 teaspoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • ¼ cup chia seeds
  • coconut layer:
  • 1 can full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla powder
  • 1¼ teaspoon grass-fed gelatin
Instructions
  1. For cherry layer:
  2. Place cherries, honey, almond extract, and chia in a high-speed blender.
  3. Add up to ¼ cup water if needed.
  4. Blend until cherries reach a thick "sherbet" consistency.
  5. Set aside.
  6. For coconut layer:
  7. Whisk gelatin into 1 cup of coconut milk, and allow to sit for 5 minutes to "bloom."
  8. Gently warm the mixture in a small saucepan over low to medium heat just until gelatin has dissolved, whisking frequently.
  9. If needed, strain mixture.
  10. Stir in honey, vanilla, and remaining milk.
  11. Carefully spoon cherry mixture into 4 clear glass containers until ¼ full and chill in freezer for 10 minutes.
  12. Once mixture begins to set, carefully spoon a layer of coconut mixture onto the cherry mixture, and chill 15-30 minutes.
  13. Repeat, finishing with coconut layer.
  14. Cover containers and allow to set in refrigerator for 1-4 hours.
  15. Serve and enjoy.

 

 

watercolor gift tag angela sackett edancing signature divider web