Sweet Pursuits is a busy mama’s quest to find simplicity and joy, in the kitchen and in the home.
A brief look back
This website is actually 11 years old, but I’m going to guess this is your first time visiting. If so, welcome! When I started this blog (way back in 2008), I was a single 20-something year old, living alone in a big city condo, attending pastry school (and later, working late nights on the pastry service line at fancy restaurants.) My colleagues, friends and family wanted updates and photos of my adventures in pastry school, so I started this blog then. I kept most of those posts up — you can see them all here. Fast forward to 2019, life now includes two kids (aged 5 and 3), a business to manage, a large-ish house (to clean and renovate), a farm & orchard to run, an Air BnB to host, and dinners to get on the table every night.
From the outside, life is pretty much textbook as far as what I dreamed of. A big house in the country, a small business, a couple kids? YAY! But in reality, I often find myself stretched so thin, often on the verge of tears, and no clue where I can pull back just to get a bit of reprieve. (ie. I can’t not cook dinner. I can’t not run my business. I can’t not clean the house. I can’t not spend quality time with my family! And so on and so on). It’s a very full season of life, and sometimes it feels perfect, while other times feels like much.too.much.
well hello, minimalism:
For the last couple years, I was always behind, never really thriving or enjoying. I spent too much time forgetting key events, not recalling when was the last time that I actually wiped the baseboards, and of course, every evening at 5pm, realizing I had no idea what to cook for dinner. I was spending too much time looking around the house, frustrated with all the things that needed to be put away, tidied up, cleaned. freshened up (our house is very early-1990’s decor).
I would find myself cruising Pinterest and blogs late at night for advice/inspiration/hope that I could somehow find the magic key that would make things more streamlined. I knew it was just a busy season of life, but I wasn’t enjoying it like I’d hoped to. It seemed like there was a magic ticket out there, and if only I could unwrap just that ONE golden piece of advice, life would magically fall into place in one fell swoop.
During one of those late-night searches, I came across the concepts of Minimalism, and something just clicked. Not in the stark, ‘everything is Black and White, and I own precisely 20 items’ way. But more, in the ‘everything we have in this house has a purpose, has a home, and is something we use and love’ way. While our house never looked jam-packed, the fact that it is a big house (just over 3000 sq ft) means that it holds a lot of stuff. And a lot of stuff, even if there is space for it all, is stressful.
By learning about Minimalism, it changed things. It changed my way of thinking. It gave me hope that if I could be more intentional with what items shared our space with us, I could save time and gain headspace.
Immediately, I started to get rid of stuff. Life started to feel lighter. It made me like our house better when there was less stuff in it, even when the style of the house isn’t my style. We are still working through our home and curating what items truly need to share space with us, but already, it is a life-changing difference.
Minimalism in the kitchen
Before I had babies, I always thought maybe one day I would have a legit food blog; a place to share recipes, cake decorating, techniques. But there was a problem. As life got busier, my time spent in the kitchen was more utilitarian, and less enjoyable. Having picky eaters who tend to get hangry as the evening gets closer, an over-stuffed kitchen and being short on time….all good reasons to not feel the love in the kitchen. Before babies, I used to love spending hours cooking – making pasta from scratch, trying out new recipes and creating my own. What used to involve making a tasty side dish (orange scented roasted baby beets with crumbed goat cheese, yes please!) soon quickly transformed to the ubiquitous bowl of cherry tomatoes and baby carrots as a side. No inspiration, no effort. The kitchen no longer held the leisurely appeal it used to. And so, the dream of having a food blog dissipated, knowing it just wasn’t the right season of life. It would be too hard to be inspiring to others, when I couldn’t drum up the inspiration within myself.
After discovering Minimalism and Intentional Living, it has changed my relationship with the kitchen. I am coming to realize that I need my kids to learn to love food: both in preparing food and eating it. If they don’t learn it from me, they likely won’t learn it at all. Plus, as I got rid of excess stuff from the kitchen, I started to enjoy spending more time there. WIN!!
I want my kids to grow up in a house where meals are celebrated, family memories are made around the table, and weekends are spent baking and cooking together. Our kids are 5 and 3 now, and are at the age where they really want to help out with cooking.
This is a very transformative age, and I want to do it right. It’s time to kick this kitchen funk to the door, and fall back in love with the kitchen again.
And so, after 11 years of on-and-off writing this blog for just personal reasons, this is the official launch. Sweet Pursuits is a busy mama’s quest to find simplicity and joy, in the kitchen and in the home. Instead of feeling overwhelmed, it’s time to celebrate this full season of life. This is my journey, but I know one thing is always true: when one person has a question or a problem, there are always so many others out there with the same question. I know that there are many others out there struggling with the same overwhelm and quest for joy and simplicity.
If you’re a busy mama with little ones of your own, (or not a mama, but just have a lot of other responsibilities on your plate!), feeling frustrated with how to manage dinners, what on earth to pack for lunches, how to make your house a home, and how to juggle all.the.things, this place is for you. For us.
This is an exciting, full, exhausting, satisfying season of life, and we spend our days making the house & home run. It’s time to prioritize finding some joy, some beauty, and some inspiration in this incredibly important job we have. You’ll find easy recipes for family dinners, baking recipes to pack for school lunches (and that kids can help with!), cooking and kitchen streamlining tips from a professional chef, tips and tricks to declutter/live a more minimal lifestyle, easy DIY’s to upgrade the house, and even some productivity tips and stories for how to thrive as a Work From Home Mom.
Read on, and let’s kick find some joy & simplicity in our everyday lives at home and in the kitchen!