Stay, Mama.

Stay, Mama.


“Stay, Mama.”

She says, just like she does every day as I pull the heavy quilt to her shoulders; her little body so lonely in her big-girl bed.

The room is dark; the blinds pulled shut against the winter sun.

The gentle whooshing of the sound machine envelops us as I turn toward the door, thinking of all that waits for me downstairs…

The mountains of laundry to be washed, and even more to be folded;

the scattered dishes from lunch and who knows how many other meals.

I won’t even bother with the toys – she’ll just get back to it after nap…

I was going to write that email…

So many projects waiting in the studio…

But first I need to clean it…

Oh, and those thank you notes…

Did I take meat out of the freezer? 

“Will you sleep with me?” she asks again. I bend down to kiss her forehead and tell her,

“Mama has to do some work, baby girl. I need to go downstairs and-”

Suddenly I stop.

I. can’t.

I am just so damn tired.

I’m tired of making grocery lists and checklists, and still forgetting things.

I’m tired of being late all the time and feeling not-good-enough.

Tired of trying over and over; chasing after something I’ll never catch –

When the thing I actually need is right in front of me.

She had already made room for me. So I slide beneath the blanket.

Our noses touch and she laughs. The best sound I’ve heard all day.

She throws her arm around my neck and presses her face to mine.

I breathe her in and close my eyes; promising myself I won’t stay.

But I do.


at Dusk

at Dusk


At a quarter till four the light is already golden –

promising the swift fall of darkness.

I had forgotten this was coming,

having been wooed by bouquets of amber, ruby & emerald –

After standing agape at glittering facets floating downward,

making way for azure sky.

The short-lived glory of Fall has begun to give way to gray

and brown

and dusk. 


I can feel the weight gathering in my spirit,

a panic rising in my chest.

I close my eyes,

inviting the wavering light to kiss my face.

Stay a little longer


But the sun retreats a little more each day,

causing the leaves to let go,

lulling nature to sleep beneath a blanket of snow.

I seek out light & warmth like a fragile shoot,

fearing that something inside me too, may shrivel

as the days grow short.

I can feel it in my bones.

Winter is coming.


I cope by telling myself there is beauty

in death & resurrection,

in the frozen upturned fields,

in the quiet, cold nights.

All the while, dreaming of eternal summer.


I spend hours by the fire,

staring into ember earthquakes

as the deep warmth of wine fills my belly.

Hibernating under drifts of white down,

I hold out through the dusk, through the night.

I will return with the light.

Coffee & Clarity

Coffee & Clarity

As I sit at the kitchen table on a rainy, Thursday morning – watching Helena attempt to master the spoon from her high chair – I feel incredibly blessed to be here, sipping my coffee as I slowly wake up.


The reality of this blessing is not lost on me. I know that many of us are off to the mines before our loved ones come out from under covers. Or that a shared breakfast might consist of granola bars on the way to the car.

Our morning alarms are akin to the starting shot of a race. Every day there’s a mad dash to see how quickly you can take a shower/get dressed/do your hair/do your makeup/eat breakfast/feed your family/pack lunches/pack your bags/load up the car/try not so speed.

That’s how my mornings used to go anyway…

After doing some soul searching and re-prioritizing I sprung for a change this school year. I resigned from my full time position teaching art in order to take a part-time teaching job that would give me the flexibility to spend the mornings at home with my daughter.


This career change doesn’t mean I’m now swinging from a hammock eating bonbons every morning (although I have enjoyed toast & Nutella on the couch from time-to-time). In all reality I’m working through (somewhat self-imposed) expectations for both a working mom & stay-at-home mom. I’m finding that a few more hours in the morning doesn’t allow time to check off all house-hold tasks and take Helena to the library for example- so I’m learning to find a balance there.  (I know, veteran moms are like “pshht – I can do that”. Maybe I’ll get there one day…)

From the working-mom perspective I have to keep reminding myself that I’m not the art teacher any more and I don’t have to keep taking on all the responsibilities I did when I was getting paid to be the art teacher. There are plenty of capable teachers at our school, and I don’t have to volunteer for every creative endeavor that comes along.

So while a part time job isn’t quite as glamorous as I’d imagined, I feel so grateful for the peace that accompanies our mornings now. I’m doing my best to cherish the extra snuggles and the leisurely breakfasts because like all things in life, this is just a season.


I do not know what is in store for our family next year. My new position is not guaranteed, and I have not reached tenure in my school district. All this uncertainty is enough to snuff out my new-found sense of calm if I allow it.

Is this new, simpler life sustainable? What if we have more kids? How long can we survive on one-and-a-half incomes? What if I don’t get hired back? What if we have to sell the house? We can’t sell the house…

I often find myself struggling with these thoughts. So I preach right back;

There will always be bills – there will not always be babies. 


So I sip my coffee from a kitchen mug – not a travel mug, not a Starbucks cup – on this rainy, fall morning, and I do my very best to embrace this gift – this season of simplicity.





Bacon it Better

We may not always agree on politics or religion, but I think we can all find common ground where there is bacon to be had.

Bacon. Is there a better smell to wake up to in the morning? (Ok, coffee may give bacon a run for it’s…bacon?)

Well, we can all agree that it’s pretty darn good. By itself. On stuff. In stuff. Around stuff. Probably even as edible jewelry…

A couple years ago, my domestic goddess of a mother-in-law suggested a new recipe for making bacon. I believe she saw it in a Better Homes magazine.

I know, “bacon recipe”? How can you have a recipe for bacon? It’s one ingredient!

A “bacon recipe” would read;

Open bacon package.

Place bacon over stove in pan.

Dodge flying bacon grease.


That’s how I was raised to make bacon anyway…

Nevertheless, we tried this newfangled “bacon recipe” and, well – it changed my life.

A short time later we were on breakfast duty for my family’s Christmastime reunion and Micah decided to use this recipe. It was a game-changer. Everyone raved about it. Since then, I’ve lost track of the amount of times my sisters have asked Micah to “make his special bacon” at family get-togethers involving brunch (which are most of them).

Now that I’ve given it sufficient hype, I will share the recipe below:

Better Bacon

– 1 package of Bacon

– 1/2ish cup of Brown Sugar

You will also need:

– “Jelly roll” pan (cookie sheet with a lip)

– Parchment Paper

– Oven Broiler on Low 

Trim a piece of parchment paper to fit into your pan. You want it to curl up the edges of the pan to catch the bacon grease, but not so high it will catch the broiler flames.


Next, open your package of bacon and line those pink piggies up along the pan.


(If you don’t eat pork for religious reasons – there is always turkey bacon. If you are vegan or vegetarian, I’m sorry… Is there tofu/veggie bacon?)


Now that you have your bacon organized, get out your secret ingredient.


 Brown sugah, baby.


Begin by sprinkling liberally over the entire pan – aiming for the bacon.


 If needed, dump it on for better bacon coverage – aka BBC.


 Place bacon in the oven on Low Broil for 10 – 15 minutes.


 Check periodically for even cooking. You may need to rotate your pan or push some bacon around with tongs.


When bacon is crisped to your liking, remove and enjoy your bacon candy!


I have never had a bacon doughnut before, but I’d like to think it tastes something like this. Something magical happens while that bacon is in the oven – I don’t really know how else to describe it. The brown sugar seems to melt into the bacon and creates a delicious, mouthwatering glaze which perfectly complements that salty, greasy strip of goodness.

I’m the kind of person who likes a little sweet and a little savory for breakfast, so I feel like I’ve hit the jackpot with this brown sugar bacon.

Also, if you’re like me and avoid making “fancy” breakfast because of all the dishes – you’ll be happy to know that the cleanup for this Better Bacon is almost as sweet as the bacon itself.


After you gobble up your bacon, let your parchment paper/pan sit for several hours. It’s a procrastinators dream. Come on, were you really going to wash that pan right away? Unless you are my friend Julie, probably not. (Love ya, Jules 😉 )

Pretty soon, that bacon grease will start to congeal, and you can lift the parchment paper like so.


9 times out of 10, your cookie sheet will be clean as a whistle. Or maybe need just a quick rinse. That is 95% better that the mess inside your frying pan after making normal bacon. I don’t know where I got those statistics. But you can trust me on that.

So, yeah. Ball up that parchment paper…


and throw it in the trash.


And boom –  just like that, you’re done.

Perhaps the best part, still, is how you enjoy your bacon. It is a dish best served with others. So invite your family, friends & neighbors over for brunch.  Pull out the extra chairs and let the kids run amuck while you discuss the important things in life like politics & religion – and just how good that bacon is – while you linger over just one more piece…

And…just for fun:

Anyone care to count how many times the word “bacon” appears in this post? It’s gotta be some kind of record. First one to guess correctly gets invited over for bacon. 🙂

a prayer

a prayer


It’s 3:30 a.m. I am up with my daughter for what seems to be the third time tonight. I’ve tried rocking her, nursing her; this time I’m stroking the hair from her face and gently rubbing her back – my own back aching as I arch over the crib to reach her. The minutes pass on as I will her to sleep…I think of my phone laying idle back on my nightstand, wishing for something to pass the time.

And then I think of the families I’ve been seeing in the news lately, reading about in countless articles shared by friends. Families in Ferguson, MO. Families in the Middle East. Families in West Africa. The family of our dearest Robin Williams and all those who have lost their loved ones too soon. Families who would give anything to have another moment like this in the quiet of the night with their babies.

The world seems to be crumbling all around me & I feel I a little hopeless. I have no answers. Nothing to offer.

And so I will pray. That is how I will pass this time with my daughter in the middle of the night.

This past week, I’ve been meditating on a prayer. I guess it’s kind of a poem/prayer. I started writing it down in my journal & have been struggling to share it all week. Partially because I’ve never had the knack for poetry, and partially because a little voice in the back of my head tells me that prayers are to be private. I was raised to believe that prayer wasn’t something you did loudly in the streets – it was something you did at home in a corner. (I think this is based on a parable – someone help me out here…) But my heart has been heavy this week. I see so much negativity and dissension on the internet – especially amongst Christians – acting as if we can fix everything by SHOUTING across the internet. So I decided to put this poem/prayer out there. I don’t want to add to the noise – I just want you to join me, in prayer.

So here is my prayer, from my little corner of the internet, to yours.

Weak at the knees

we come crashing down,

gravel in our palms.


Heaven, hear us.


Disease and war

leave us searching for

a reason.


Heaven, heal us.


Our children lie

quiet in the streets;

Oh Father, please.


Heaven, help us.


We’re just fine –

’till we are not fine,

then we’re grasping for a life-line.


Father, forgive us.


Quick to judge,

slow to LOVE.

We are self-destructing.


Jesus, teach us.


Bind up our hearts.

Pull us up, through the dark

Show us a new way out.


Heaven, hold us…


Prime time

Prime time

View this post on Instagram

Black and blue #thesimplepalette

A post shared by Priscilla Putman (@priscillaputman) on

Happy Monday, my lovely readers! I’m back with a quick progress update on the chalkboard coffee/play table. After doing a little more research and getting some great tips from thoughtful friends on facebook (and Katie Bower when she kindly replied to my comment on her chalkboard table 🙂 ), I decided to prime the glass first. My biggest fear is that the paint will begin to scratch off or chip after a few good table poundings from Helena via her new wooden hammer.

So with the added step of the primer it seems this weekend project has turned into a week-long project. Also with this mid-summer air being so thick with humidity I’ve been giving everything a little extra dry time.

On Saturday I started off with some Zinsser primer we had laying around in the basement. It clearly said, “Primer For All Projects” on the front. So, that means glass, right? Keep your fingers crossed, guys!IMG_20140726_135631_086



The chalk board paint instructions said 24 hours to re-coat, so I did my first coat on Sunday and just completed the second coat this afternoon. The little foam roller I’ve been using lays down a pretty thin layer, so I’m thinking I may even need a third coat. Riveting stuff, I know.

I realize I could probably be using more professional products – but for some reason I’m determined to do this project using things we already have on hand!

What, you don’t use paper plates as paint trays?


The good news is, if this combo of primer and paint doesn’t hold up, I can flip the glass over and try a different approach! (i.e. maybe I will go out and buy that spray primer!)


In other news, Helena is enjoying the unrestricted access to her toy baskets!

IMG_5424 IMG_5423

Just look at that face! She’s like, “What the heck did you do to our table, Mom?”


Well, I hope to be back soon with a finished table and a more detailed account of what worked (if it does)! Has anyone else ever taken extra steps on a project that paid off in the end? Hopefully this is one of those things!


A weekend project

A weekend project

Ok. Time to bring a little more levity to this blog. I’m about to roll my sleeves up and get my DIY on. That’s the plan for this weekend anyhow.

I figured if I share my plan with you I might have a little extra motivation to actually do it.

So, we have this coffee table… We’ve had it ever since my sweet mother-in-law snagged it on the side of the road for us when we were newlyweds. I loved the rustic wood tone, but didn’t fancy myself a glass-topped coffee table kind of gal. However, we did consider ourselves house poor, having just put all our (Micah’s) savings into a down payment – so I wasn’t about to be picky.



I figured we’d replace it down the road but we never did get around to it. It kind of grew on me. As long as I wiped it down periodically the glass top added a nice airy vibe to our small living room.

These days, however, I feel like it’s giving off less of an airy vibe and more of a smudgy, icky vibe.


It has basically become Helena’s play table throughout the day. We do not have a playroom and since her bedroom is on the second floor, she plays in the living room while I cook, clean and sew (ha!) on the main floor ;). So of course her hand-prints get all over it and rings from her sippy cup accrue and by mid day it needs to be wiped down again. Not my idea of a good time.


I keep her toys in baskets under the table so she can easily pull them out and play on the floor or table. Genius, I know. However, I don’t like how you can see all the toys through the top of the table. (I’m still in denial that a kid is taking over our house – so I try to hide it as much as possible)


So, instinct says – time for a new coffee table. But… that’s not really in the budget right now. So I’ve come up with a plan of sorts to make this a fun play table for Helena, but also a nice/unique coffee table for us adults to use as well.

I’m one of those people that wants to put chalkboard paint on everything. (I wanted to chalk up our old refrigerator back in the day – but Micah quickly nixed that) So naturally, chalk board paint came to mind as a solution for our table. How fun would it be to have a table that is actually OK for your kids to draw on – or to keep score when you are playing Rummy 500 with your husband (or when your sister Tabitha comes to visit and wants to play canasta all night long)!

All kidding aside, I really do want our home to be a creative place – not pretty and stuffy. I want to raise Helena with creative experiences and opportunities like this. For now she will probably just eat the chalk… but eventually I think she will enjoy a little self expression 🙂


My plan is to remove the glass and give it a few coats of that velvety, black chalk board paint. I’ll leave the wood alone for now – bite mark and all. (Adds a little rustic charm, right?)


Hopefully I will be back on Monday with a finished table…or an update at least. This could totally be a flop, I know. I’ve looked around the internets and have seen a lot of coffee tables adorned with chalkboard paint – none of them glass though :/

So we shall see… If you have any tips on painting glass, using chalkboard paint, or feel the need to stop me before I ruin my table – please do tell!


Let them eat dirt…

Let them eat dirt…

With the recent cutback to our income, we’ve had to get a little creative with meals…






Helena found a terracotta pot on our front porch this morning that was just right (Goldilocks style).

Like a moth to a flame she was drawn to it (and all the dirt inside).


She was so captivated by it that she sat still for several minutes trying to experience it in every way. Tasting the dirt (of course), dumping it out, filling the pot with dirt again – crumbling it between her tiny, chubby fingers.


I was struck with the thought that she was so content to just sit there, playing in dirt. Not a pretty artisan toy we picked out for her at the farmers market. Not a shiny plastic gadget with lights and sounds. Not an ipad.


Now I won’t be a naive young mother and assume she will always be like this. I am sure the day will come where she is no longer content to watch the ant crawl along the driveway as her sole form of entertainment. But I am relishing in the fact that she does now.

I want to be more like that. To be content without all the gadgets and shiny pretty things that I am constantly “pinning” and telling Micah, “We NEED this! WE NEED ALL THE THINGS!” This is hard because it is totally my hobby. To make things pretty; better. I am always trying to improve our home – constantly moving things around, re-arranging furniture. Micah calls it puttering.

I don’t think there is anything wrong with wanting to improve your quality of life. (Like finally find a home for that picture frame after moving it for the 7th time.) Or trying to make your home a beautiful oasis for your family. What bothers me is becoming consumed by always wanting more.

I’m hoping this new season in life will teach me contentment & spark creativity. What is it that they say – Necessity is the mother of invention?



don’t worry, we feed Helena other things besides dirt.



Yesterday morning Helena & I drove over to school to sign some very important papers.

The ball point pen pressed into the duplicates as I scrawled my signature on the final line, next to the date. As I re-read everything carefully, she began to squirm in my lap. I gave her a cracker and she stood at my feet, happily swaying. I looked down at her. “This is for you, baby girl.” I felt relief, fear, excitement as I set the pen down.

I walked down the hall to my “old” art room, peering in the dark glass. I had forgotten my key. A lump rose up in my throat. “Did I make a mistake? Am I throwing my career away?” A beautiful reminder began to wriggle in my arms once more and I talked myself down. “This is for you. I will not regret this on your first day of Kindergarten, as you graduate High School, on your wedding day…”

I will be back to sort through stacks of warped tempera paintings, wobbly pinch pot towers and the infamous junk drawer in my desk. I never did get that under control…

a beautiful reminder
school parking lot selfie 🙂