I’m headed to Washington this week for a Be Crafty workshop and am so looking forward to time with new and old friends. I’ve been to Seattle once before, but never to the San Juan islands. As much I as look forward to the scenery, I’m really excited about the people.  Amanda (queen of all things crafty) assigned me the task of nametags. Talk about pressure…I really don’t know why she asked me. Regardless, I had fun making them. I need my sister to add the names. My handwriting begs for her intervention, so I told her she would have to do the name part for me. I could pretend like I asked her, but really we both knew I was telling more than asking. Sisters.

5.15becrafty-015.15becrafty-02I also needed to make a bunch of white paper buntings – we are decorating a barn for the workshop!!! My oldest daughter told me I should use more colors instead of just white. She ended up just making her own.5.15becrafty-045.15becrafty-05I’m often asked about letting her use the sewing machine. She’s been using it for about 3 years (she is almost 6). There are sewing machines with finger guards and special ones made for kids. Space and budget made me just stick with one machine that we share. She has never stuck her finger under the needle or hurt herself. Obviously, I taught her and helped her until she was able to do it completely on her own. I still help her thread the bobbin and stuff like that, but the rest she does independently. We also prop the pedal up on something so she can reach it.5.15becrafty-065.15becrafty-07Her little sister is begging to sew too. She needs more help, but she’s got two teachers!5.15becrafty-09

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  • Rae - That last pic of FireCracker and Little One, too cute! :) and i love her colorful bunting 😉 plus, the name tags are SO SO beautiful! do you think you could post a tutorial on how you made it?

  • Jenn - great post
    pretty name tags
    i need to learn how to use my sewing machine
    i bet the weekend is going to be wonderful
    lived in WA state for 3 years and love, love, loved it

  • Caroline - It just occurred to me that i have been reading your blog for almost 6 years! I read it from about when your oldest daughter was just born, I read thru while you were adjusting to a new little girl after three boys, i remembered you blogging about your first try at tying a pigtail, and i also waited with you during your adoption process, cried when I saw your little one for the first time, rejoiced with you at every milestone of your little girl. It’s so amazing, I feel like a friend to you, even though we have not met and are miles apart!
    Keeping blogging and sharing your family stories, I love reading them and I read your blog everyday!

    Caroline :)

  • Andrea - I LOVE that your girls are interested in sewing. I have a 3 year old and wish I got my machine out enough for her to show interest. Some day!!

  • christina - Yay, welcome back to Seattle! We have beautiful weather this week!

  • Danielle - My mom always had us help sew our easter dresses. She liked to make the girls a dress every easter. There were four of us so that was not a small thing!

  • Laura - San Juan Islands…….amazing and wonderful and beautiful and everything else!! My now husband had our first trip ever together there! To this day….still one of my favorite places ever! And we’ve been a lot of places ; )
    I hope you have a great time! Wish I was there too!!

  • Stephanie - Love this!
    Curious as to how the name tags were attached to the attendees? Pinned?

  • BE CRAFTY WORKSHOP – Friday Harbor, WA ( part one ) » Be Crafty - […] created the name tags for all the attendees. Lesley personalized them with her fancy handwriting […]

Most of our soccer season has been cancelled due to flooded fields this month. The kids were able to get a few games in over the weekend before the fields flooded again and the remaining games were cancelled. So much rain! My friends in CA have asked me to send some their way – I wish I could! I knew this might be my last chance this season to get some shots of my 4 soccer players, so I took advantage of it. I took a ton of photos…the boys’ games are especially fun because of the intensity in the players’ faces, I’ll spare you all those though!

200mm, ISO 125, 1/2500, f/2.8

5.15soccer-0785mm, ISO 125, 1/1000, f/2.8 – grandma brought her a sucker…she cheers at A LOT of soccer games!5.15soccer-0685mm, ISO 160, 1/1250, f/2.8 – cheering on his brother and waiting for his game to start5.15soccer-05170mm, ISO 160, 1/1250, f/2.85.15soccer-03125mm, ISO 160, 1/1000, f/2.85.15soccer-04200mm, ISO 160, 1/1250, f/2.85.15soccer-02200mm, ISO 160, 1/1250, f/2.85.15soccer-01200mm, ISO 125, 1/1600, f/2.8 – I love this picture of her. She has always grown up surrounded by her brothers and their friends. She may love glitter, singing and dancing, but the girl can hold her own with the boys too…and not think a thing about it.5.15soccer-08

200mm, ISO 125, 1/1000, f/2.8

These next two shots are so special to me. The cute boy below is the oldest son of one of my closest friends. We’ve been close since 6th grade. It is really quite unique and special to get to stand on the sidelines and watch our kids playing soccer together. I know friendships like that are rare and I don’t take it for granted a single moment. Our kids playing soccer…we preferred MASH games, but soccer is pretty great too.5.15teetree-01200mm, ISO 125, 1/1000, f/2.85.15teetree-02200mm, ISO 320, 1/400, f/2.8

The rain started back up in the last couple minutes of her game. She was so excited. Her brother got to play in a downpour earlier in the week, so she was pretty stoked her time came.  Little firecracker hanging tough in the rain and eating it up.

5.15soccer-09Watching them play and getting to cheer from the sidelines is one of my favorite ways to spend the weekend. Of course, when games are cancelled and we can curl up at home for a movie night – I like that a lot too!

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  • Rae - Beautiful, Ashley! <3 I love that pic of FireCracker holding her own :)

  • Amy Cornwell - Too fun! Love Firecracker’s zest for life. Great pics.

  • Julie - I have been enjoying this rain and all of the snuggles it holds. We have had quite a few singing and dancing in the rain moments too. I think Firecracker will always be able to hold her own!

  • Amber - Are you shooting with your 6D? If so, even without all the autofocus points of the Mark III, you are still getting great action shots and stellar pics. I was wondering how important you think those autofocus points really are in the mark III vs the 6D. I’ve been toying because of sporting events and such.

My seven year old has rainbow chard growing in his garden box. I admit, I chose to plant it totally based on the pretty colors. I’ve never made anything with rainbow chard before, but it was just too pretty not to try. I tend to make a lot of my garden choices by color. If nothing else, the garden is fun to look at! We decided to harvest some chard yesterday and try it in quiche…since we have an abundance of eggs around here too.

The plan has been for the kids grow the food then help me prepare meals using whatever they grew. He was pretty excited about trying the chard.

5.15chard-015.15chard-02We make a lot of quiche. It is easy. We have tons of eggs. All the kids like it. I don’t really follow a recipe anymore. I basically just throw a bunch of stuff in and pour it in pie crust. For this one we used what I had on hand: rainbow chard, bacon, onion, eggs, milk, sour cream, swiss cheese, mozzarella cheese, nutmeg, salt, pepper.5.15chard-03The plan was just for my 7 year old to help cook dinner, but quickly everyone else joined in the kitchen. It tends to work out that way and it usually ends in chaos, but the best kind. I asked Chris to snap a few pictures of all of us cooking…me still in my sweaty Crossfit clothes, kids dirty from outside, real life happening in the kitchen.5.15chard-045.15chard-055.15chard-075.15chard-08Part of me really wishes I had taken a shower before we started cooking, but this is what my kids will remember and I kind of love getting glimpse into our kitchen like this.5.15chard-095.15chard-105.15chard-115.15chard-12I planned on getting one of those pretty food shots that food bloggers take, but I had too many hungry kids. This is the best I could do.5.15chard-145.15chard-15We still have rainbow chard growing. I would love to hear some of your recipe suggestions!

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  • anna - My seven year old will eat spinach/chard if it’s in a pastry braid – four cups of veges (onion, corn, capsicum, whatever you’ve got), one cup (or more!) of diced cooked chicken and a cup and a half of cheese all mixed together, put down the centre of a large rectangle of puff pastry. Slice the sides of the pastry into strips at a 45 degree angle and wrap over the top, alternating sides. Brush with egg, bake until golden. You might need to scale up for your family if you try it. 😉
    I’m still waiting to love crossfit. I’ve been going six months and I don’t yet.

  • Michelle - We love to chop it and sautée it in butter and olive oil with garlic. Top with pine nuts or any kind of nuts you have on hand!

  • ranee - love it..what sweet memories!

  • Amy - I love this! My daughter loves to cook with me and I try so hard not to say ‘no’. Your last two photos are AWESOME. You should definitely do more food blogging with ‘real’ food blogger pics like these. :)

  • Chania - I use it in soup. I make a big pot of chicken stock and then throw in chard, potatoes, carrots and any other fridge-clean-out vegetables. I boil it until all the veggies are soft then use a plunge blender to make a delicious creamy vegetable soup.

  • danielle - These are great shots! What awesome memories to capture! My mom always had us helping in the kitchen. Not many pics of it though. It is one of the reasons I make sure to take lots of pics when she has her grandkids helping in the kitchen now!

  • Chantel - I love the idea of each kid having their own garden bed and then helping cook from it! I’m storing that idea for the next few years! Also, I’ve honestly never even had chard before! :(

  • kel - Looks like fun! And nice pictures by your husband. Here are four recipes on swiss chard I had saved because it was a new veggie to me last year —



    Also search on Fine Cooking website — rainbow chard potato frittata

    Amy Thielan — Swiss Chard with Honey Roasted Garlic (Food network tv recipe)

  • Brandi - I am pretty much the same, when in doubt, put it in some eggs! Your quiche sounds delish! I go the frittata route because I am too lazy to make a crust. I haven’t grown chard, but just bought some bronze fennel because it was pretty and I’m told it attracts butterflies. :)

  • Elisabeth - In our house, we use chard pretty much the same as you would use spinach. I’ve never done it- but I’m pretty sure you could cook it and use it in lasagna like you can with spinach. I also LOVE it in salads (pick it when it’s small for a less intense flavor)

  • emily - Love quiche for dinner! We started making it once a week a few years ago once our chickens and garden were producing too!

  • Laura - This is my current favorite vegetarian chard dish. I hope you like it!


  • susan - We add it into lasagna all the time and it is amazing. i mix it in with the egg and ricotta or cottage cheese and it is delicious. We’ve also chopped it into a vegetarian tomato sauce effectively.

  • Jenny - Beautiful family and beautiful Momma!
    We are growing rainbow chard in our garden too. I like to sauté it with some onions, bell peppers, a little seasoning, and put it in a warm tortilla with some goat cheese.

  • Tracy R. - Your quiche looks amazing! I add half and half or whipping cream but the sour cream sounds delicious! I will try it! I freeze it in 1 cup amounts, individually in zip lock bags and pull it out frozen for smoothies!

  • Seamingly Sarah - Sautéed every so slightly in oil then a splash of red wine vinegar at the end. Do not over cook and do not saturate in vinegar. My favorite! Mmmmmm. I will have to wait just awhile longer for greens out of my garden. We planted seeds last week up here in Northern NY. :)

  • Jennie - I got a BlueApron box with a rainbow chard and freekeh salad in it. I’d never cooked with either, but I loved it. (the chicken thighs and kumquat relish were ok, but the freekeh salad was the best part).

  • Jenny B. - That looks really good!! My husband likes to make individual crustless quiches in the small corningware dishes (not the ramekin size but the ones that are closer to cereal bowl size). Anyway, he just combines what we have, and it’s always good. He often does breakfast sausage, peppers, and onions, but his most recent concoction was with grilled chicken chunks and asparagus. :) My favorite is when we have it for “brinner” (breakfast for dinner) and we have it with pancakes and berry fruit salad.

  • Kim B. - hey — a busy mama wouldn’t have time for a shower before dinner — those photos are real life!!

    what great lessons you are teaching your kids in EVERY domain, from spiritual, to ecological, to practical. Your fellow citizens thank you for doing so much to raise such good fellow citizens for us all!!

  • Amy M - We always just steamed the chard then put bacon bits with a little vinegar and salt on it. Nothing too fancy but really tasty.

  • susie - One of my friends stopped by from out of state and she took a ton a photos of me with my kids in the kitchen… wish I would have downloaded them- they were neat like this!

  • amy lenhart - have you ever tried slicing potatoes for the crust of your quiche instead of a pie crust. my mom started making it like this and it’s sooo good!!! i think you have to slightly cook the potatoes after they are sliced and before you add the filling.

  • Jen - We just put it in tinfoil add salt and pepper and a splash of balsamic vin. Put it on the grill with whatever else we are grilling and it is perfect every time :)

  • debbie - Chris is terrific with the camera! Love the real glimpse inside your kitchen. Homemade pie crust! Impressive….

  • Jody - It’s one of my favorite greens to blend into smoothies. Makes smoothies really creamy. Just use leaves and not the stems. I plant it too and it gets huge. So pretty.

  • Kelly - This is my very favorite chard recipe: http://www.realsimple.com/food-recipes/browse-all-recipes/swiss-chard-chickpeas-couscous

    I am excited to try some of these others too!

    I do think you’re right about letting it be real life and this is what your kids will remember. Sweaty clothes and all. Kelly

  • Erica - I loved this post! To the honesty in the why you grow what you grow to the sweaty work out clothes to the whole gang being apart of the glorious mess! I love it all because that is real life. Thanks for sharing.

  • Mary Elizabeth - Long time reader, first time commenter… I love that you post REAL moments. Contrary to what many blogs show (or hide, rather), life does not look like a catalog 100% of the time. Posts like this are refreshing.

  • the inadvertent farmer - Slightly sauteed with sweet onion, garlic, olive oil(you can also use water), salt. Cook in frying pan until just wilted, top with lemon juice or balsamic vinegar and slivered almonds…Amazing!

  • Brittney knight - What are the odds Ashley?? Just yesterday I found the yummiest rainbow chard recipe on thrive markets website. See it here: https://thrivemarket.com/blog/rainbow-chard-bacon/