Bring on 2011

Wishing everyone as much excitement as I have for 2011!!

I hope it is full of love and great adventures!

I am stoked about 2011!

The last 14 months have been good but quite the whirlwind as they were full of big changes. We left our home in the Boston area to move out to Palo Alto, CA. It has taken a while to get settled in our new home and the new area. It is amazing how complicated our lives can get and how much there is to do to get re-established in a new area, from finding doctors to landscapers to dog kennels to dry cleaners to good places to eat and shop. I have also been missing my family back East a lot – my friends too. But I do finally feel more settled here after having the last year to explore and discover. It has been a big year for Sofie too. In addition to the move, last April she transitioned from her crib to a big girl (a twin!), she started preschool in September and she was well traveled with day trips exploring places near home, to trips to Napa and back to Boston for Thanksgiving.

This time around, perhaps more than any year before, I feel an immense excitement for the year to come. Potential is exciting and we are poised to have a really great year. I love my family and how we continue to grow, respect and love each other more every day. We’ve been further away from most of my family but we had some really amazing visits this past year that have brought us closer and generated many many wonderful memories. I look forward to more this year. I actually feel closer to my siblings and truly treasure our deepening relationship. I also love how crazy they are for Sofie and how much she loves them. It melts my heart. Sofie is at an absolutely divine age. She is such an amazing little person, I cannot help but adore her.  She is thriving at school and continues to expand her world every day. I’m hopeful for better health this year. Fingers crossed that the first half of school has bolstered Sofie’s immune system so we have fewer colds this second half! Jeromy has just taken on an exciting new job. We do have a very lovely home here and there is a lot to love about living here in NorCal. I can’t wait to see what fruit our yard produces this year! We have meyer lemons and blood oranges ripening! Hoping for more strawberries and blueberries along with our first cherries, raspberries, grapes and figs! We are already talking about a few vacations/trips!  All that, and I have a bunch of new projects and ideas that I can’t wait to develop further. So yes, I am stoked.

Of course, I plan to continue many things from last year, like the focus on Sofie’s school lunches, cooking, blogging and exploring the area. I have a few projects in the house to tackle, like clearing out the garage and turning it into usable space. But I will find the time to take on my special projects too!! Here’s a glimpse into what I’m planning…

1. A Heritage Cookbook – from my mother-in-law’s recipes and ones passed on to her.
My husband had been talking very fondly of his memories of his mother (who sadly passed away from pancreatic cancer late 2006) and his Nan (grandmother) making a huge assortment of cookies every Christmas for as far back as he could remember. We talked about how fun it would be to recall all the cookies they would make and to try to make some ourselves, continuing the tradition. Excited to support this endeavor I reached out to his Dad and asked if he could look for some of the recipes they used. I thought it would be so cool for Jeromy to actually have THE recipes from THE cookbooks they used. Jeromy’s Dad, Rene, really came through. He presented Jeromy with a zip-lock bag full of recipes! A couple are typed, a couple cut out from newspapers, but most of them are handwritten! They are amazing to look at. Call me crazy, but you can almost feel the energy radiating from them, you get an immediate picture and sense from years gone by when these were last used. I don’t have a lot of things like that on my side of the family, which is probably why I’m so moved by this collection of recipes and more importantly, the memories and emotions they evoke in my husband. My goal over the next couple months is to transcribe them all onto the computer and to take photos of the original recipes so I can weave them together into a cookbook that preserves the recipes and gives anyone looking through it a glimpse of their history.

2. Business ideas
In another couple years I will need to go back to work and I have been trying to figure out what I would really enjoy doing. I believe I would like to get involved with connecting young kids (and their families) to local farms and producers, educating them about food and where it comes from but most importantly igniting passion and respect for good food and for the people and land who produce it. I have a few ideas on how to do that from providing healthy, fun and delicious fresh school lunches for the preschool set along with classes and field trips for them and their families in order to further the connection to food sources, to focusing on connected field trips and classes for kids to see how food is grown and how farms change over the course of a year and how great fresh food can taste, to either a community farm for students and their families or small gardens at schools. So I have to do some research, build some connections and work on business plans to see if any of my ideas are viable.

3. Finish my novel
I had made a lot of progress before we moved but my book has been on hold ever since. So, as a promise to myself, I will make time to finish it this year.

4. Kid’s Craft kits
While shopping at Paper Source a few weeks ago I saw a kit to make paper elves. I thought it could be fun to do with Sofie and so I picked it up. We made the elves to give with holiday gifts and unleashed a craft monster! Sofie is insanely into crafting! For a few days she would go to sleep and wake up asking about doing more crafts! Even this morning (weeks later!) she woke up asking to do a craft. I proceeded to cut out butterfly shapes for her to decorate. Anyway, to get to my point, I needed to come up with easy crafts for her to make and I think I’ve stumbled onto something that could be fun for others too. For instance, I made up a snowman craft for her where I cut out 3 circles of varying sizes to make the snowman’s body, cut out a top hat and arms, cut red ribbon for a scarf and got or made embellishments. She glued everything together, with only a little help and decorated them. Some had googly eyes, some had eyes, mouths and buttons made from black dots. A few even had some glitter glue sparkle. She had so much fun making the snowmen and it was really easy for me to create the parts for her. I did something similar with Christmas trees. If I find the time, I would like to send little craft kits to our friends with young children as a winter afternoon activity. I think they might even be fun for parties. I can see making all different themed ones…butterflies, bugs, robots, etc. A set of parts could be packed up individually so each child at the party got a kit of their own to work on at the party.  Combine that with a few shared embellishments (eyes, glue, glitter glue, etc) and you’ll have kids occupied for a while and they’ll have a one of a kind party favor!

5. Sewing
I got a sewing machine for my birthday in September but haven’t had a chance to crack it open yet. I really want to! I’d like to at least start making napkins, placemats and reusable snack bags. The first two should be pretty easy and I want to use cloth napkins more in the house. Sofie already uses them in her lunchbox for school. I would love to make ones cute enough to give to friends with kids too!



4 Responses to “Bring on 2011”
  1. Ruth says:

    So great to be able to know what you’ve been up to and your plans for the year ahead. I love your plans for a cookbook of Jeromy’s mother’s recipes. Let me know if you need the help of a designer to put it all together. Here’s a great blog for food photography inspiration:

    Sorry to be so bad at keeping in touch. Glad to hear you are enjoying your new home.

    • Jeannie Carriere says:

      Thanks Ruth! I will definitely ping you for input on the cookbook – I’d love to hear your ideas! Thanks for the link to the blog too…most definitely inspirational! Now I just need to find some more time to do more than just quick snapshots of our food. Of course, that’s something I’ll definitely do for the cookbook. Let me know if you have any recommendations on editors to use. I’m looking for a better graphics editor (ideally one where I can compose things like book pages) and a blog editor.

  2. Hanne Koppelman says:

    Love your business idea, I agree that connecting kids and food is *such* an important task. Growing up in Norway we’d go on school field trips to local farms, it was an amazing experience: I still recall the calf who licked my 8 year old hand!

    • Jeannie Carriere says:

      Thanks Hanne! So good to hear positive comments on the business ideas. I think it’s important work, it is good to know others do too.

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