Been gone for too long,
Want to get back to routines.
First, in Florida.

Just over three weeks ago, the nice routine we’d developed since settling into Portland was well shaken. Late Friday evening, we received an email from the company that owns my daughter, Tova’s, school that the school would be shutting down at the end of term.

I have to say, we’ve become used to a quick change of plans. But our move back to the northwest was very purposeful. We were ready to live in a place that we loved, to dig into community, and have Tova stay in a school for longer than one year (which she hasn’t done since preschool).

Now, we’re on a hunt for Tova’s 7th school. David and I went on three school tours just last week, and one the week prior. Tova has missed school to go on a couple of those, and she’s doing a trial day at a prospective school next week. At the same time, a group from our current school is trying to save/reopen the school, and we’ve been attending those meetings. None of us want to be doing this right now, but we’ll push forward and make the best of it.

So here we are, ready to enjoy Spring Break with family in Florida. We’ll hopefully get back to that nice routine (and regularly scheduled house projects and blog posts) next week.


Film Photos: Washington Tulips 2013.

I'm going back in time quite a bit, to before we moved away from Seattle. We are heading there (for our first visit since moving back to the PNW) later this week, so I won't have another post for a week or so. Enjoy these photos in the meantime.

These are from Roozengaarde Tulip Farm in Mount Vernon, Washington. It was April in 2013.


Intentional Living: Coffee Products Part 2.

Taste, smell, and method
Are all part of enjoyment.
I love my coffee.

I just love coffee. I'm so happy to live in a big coffee city and have extremely wonderful coffee shops absolutely everywhere. We'll prefer a traditional latte at Barista, or try a new concoction at Never. There's Heart, Good, Stumptown, Kiosko, Coava, Tov, and that's a small fraction. They're all amazing. And on most weekend days, David and I enjoy our second (or third) cuppa at one of them.

But for that first cup, on a cozy weekend morning snuggled up with a book, David greets me with a nice hot cup of French Press. When we run low on coffee beans, we'll pick up a bag at one of the aforementioned coffee connoisseurs. We've had a Bodum Bistro Burr Grinder since 2011 (seriously! We have it in white, but the copper looks v cool.), and keep it on coarse grinds for our copper 8 cup Bodum Chambord French Press. We drink our coffee black, so that's all we need.

I recently stumbled across a newly improved French Press design called Rite Press. It is currently a Kickstarter campaign that has received over $900k over its small $20k goal. Incredible. The big selling point is that the bottom twists off to easily remove the used coffee grinds and is marketed as the "no mess french press." It sounds fantastic to me! Another big selling point for us is that the materials used will help hold in heat longer. And no plastic! They also tout a thermometer and timer, which could be useful. Rite Press originally launched with stainless steel options, but they just released the Ceramic Rite Press. I have backed the Ceramic option in Black and Gold. It is beautiful.

The campaign ends in just over a week on March 9th, so if you're as excited about Rite Press as I am, snatch up the lower prices now. Of course, I haven't tried this product yet, so I can't speak to its performance. I guess we'll all see if it lives up to the hype!

Not often enough, during the week, I'll use a Bialetti Moka Express to make some very strong and delicious espresso to enjoy. I started with the 3 cup stovetop espresso maker and we recently purchased the 6 cup for when David would like some, too. To note, Bialetti "cups" mean 2 ounces (not your typical 8 ounce cup). So a 3 cup maker produces 6 ounces of espresso. You need extremely fine coffee grounds for the Moka Express. The Bodum Bistro Burr Grinder requires the machine to run while changing the coarseness setting. Since French Press and Moka require such extremes, it's difficult to reset, and you get a lot of mixing coarse and fine grinds if you switch back and forth often. Therefore, I keep a small hand burr grinder set to fine grinds and use it when I have the spare time. (I have my eye on this pretty one, but just be sure it's a burr grinder.) I always prefer freshly ground coffee, but since using a manual coffee grinder can be time consuming, I like to have a bag of finely ground espresso in the cabinet just in case.

My two favorite things about Bialetti are the taste and the process. I recommend watching a video of how to brew your espresso with this machine, because you learn how to listen for your coffee to be ready. It's quite an accomplishment when you get the timing right. Another good bit is you can't use soap to wash it. A quick rinse, and you're done!

The great thing about all of these products (maybe minus the burr grinder) is that there is minimal plastic and extremely minimal waste. No plastic for a landfill and no plastic fumes or chemicals in your drink. A small investment up front can last for several years with basic care.

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