9 months

Ansel, You made it to 9 months in August! Holy smokes kiddo. We went to Lake Michigan to celebrate. You like the water, but were scared of the waves, that is okay.


This towel though. Exponential cuteness.august02

As a 9 months old you are pretty neat. You learned to crawl super fast, especially if it means you can get  to someones phone, a roll of toilet paper, or me right at the moment when I’m cooking and cannot hold you. 

Once you were crawling you started pulling yourself up on everything. And once those skills were mastered you decided it was okay to learn to sit by yourself. Seriously though you just barely learned. It is adorable watching you sit your little cheeks resting on your chest while you play with a toy. august03

Favorite things:

  • Pizza! Pizza! Pizza! you can’t get enough, many a tears have been shed when the pizza is gone.
  • Eating with your fingers! You love it!
  • Squash.
  • Biting leaves off plants in the garden.
  • Giving raspberries.
  • Bath time! 
  • Eating fuzzy lints off the floor.
  • Flirting with old ladies at the grocery store.

Not so favorite things:

  • When I stop you from pulling the lamp down on yourself.
  • Fruit is meh
  • Falling

What can I say, you like almost everything right now!

At 9 months you were like 22 lbs, 30″, so chunky and lovely! 



Utah Family Part 2


After our tromp through the desert we headed up north to visit with the Wood Family! Ansel at this point was in love with getting attention all day long, and hated driving in the car the rest of the time.

2015summerw00 2015summerw01Michael being the greatest uncle to his new best friend2015summerw02 2015summerw03We stayed at the cabin for a few days soaking up even higher altitudes, clouds and trees.2015summerw07Mr. Wood took lots of beautiful photos of the hummingbirds and the nature2015summerw08 2015summerw09 2015summerw10 2015summerw23 2015summerw25 2015summerw26The miraculous everybody shot! All Ansel wanted to do was grab Simon’s hair.2015summerw27 Then we left and it was sad. But my brother Michael and his wife Danielle took car of us before we flew out of Vegas and watched their baby girls play video games and dance with Mr. Wood and it wasn’t so sad anymore.

The End.

The Desert Family part 1

We did our pilgrimage to the ancestral grounds this summer! First south, then north. Here are some photos.

Also, I cut my hair.

Also, Ansel is getting humongous. 8 1/2 months!

Also, My Mr. Wood is a stud

2015summer01 2015summer02
2015summer192015summer03 2015summer04The desert feels like the cleanest place. It dries out the gross inside of your body and fills it with sage, clean air and sunshine.2015summer05 2015summer06 2015summer07 2015summer08The Chadaz Cousins, who are very good at playing with Ansel even though all he does is scratch their faces, featuring the family Emu! Sorry Aunt Marilyn we snuck into your yard while you were getting surgery…2015summer09Great Grandma Brimhall2015summer10
2015summer18Great Grandma Malaska2015summer12

The beautiful men in my family. You know what they say, if you can’t handle the heat get out of the kitchen.

Or something..2015summer14 2015summer16

Grandma-Grandpa Malaska and babe. Accidentally but perfectly color coordinated for the last photo before our leaving!2015summer20 ugh, why must we be so far?

The Salad Sandwich

Salad Sandwich | www.dearsweetwood.com

Can we talk about something?

Like… There was a time that I thought getting a sandwich on wheat bread was the worst part of my week. Or the time of my life where eating a salad was as difficult as tying my shoe. Unfortunately for tiny Shannon my mother made salads constantly. It was such a chore to eat. My brother opted for combining his lettuce with whatever we were eating for dinner (the lettuce pizza–I’m sure you’ve heard of it?) but even pepperoni couldn’t soften the blow of that cursed side dish.

Now days? I gladly make salad for dinner. Just salad. Like a giant plate of salad.

Isn’t growing up crazy?

However, man cannot live on leaves alone. So over at the Wood house we regularly switch up our salad routine. 

This one though… Friends. Strangers. Listen. This salad sandwich. It has changed our world. To the point that if someone offered me a choice between this salad sandwich or a burger, I would have a difficult time choosing. If you don’t know, I have a thing for hamburgers. And this isn’t just puffed up food blogger talk, this is real. 

Salad Sandwich | www.dearsweetwood.com

I don’t know how you could not like vegetable sandwiches after eating this. This is really more method then recipe, but the key is the bread and the sauce. To be sure my favorite part of a salad with all the dressings is the dressings–so this recipe celebrates just that. If you are a leaves only type, I encourage you to step out of that cabbage patch and come join my veggie-explosion over here. Add whatever veg is in season or your favorite produce. Things like onions, radishes, olives and tomatoes are sure to debut in the coming months. 

Salad Sandwich | www.dearsweetwood.com

Also, the bread is a monster crouton. I like to make a few croutons with our salad meals whenever we have stale bread on hand. I just chop up the bread and throw it in a frying pan with some oil and spices. Tastier and fresher then the box. This is the same method, but with a whole slice. Crispy and flavorful, not dry. Do not skimp on the crouton bread.

And before I go further, since it is a Salad Sandwich you could eat it with your hands. But since it is a Salad Sandwich, you should eat it with a fork and knife.

The Salad Sandwich | www.dearsweetwood.com

Are you convinced yet? I feel like you are not convinced yet. But I’ll stop before you tire of my exuberance. It is just good! I mean, look at all the pictures I took of it! Mr. Wood was so sad when he came home and I told him what I had just eaten. But a girls got to do what a girls got to do before the light is gone.

Enough. Recipe :

The Salad Sandwich
Serves 4
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  1. 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  2. 1 tbsp juice from pepperoncini jar
  3. 1 pepperoncini chopped
  4. 1 dash garlic powder
  5. 1 dash hot sauce
  6. 1 tbsp parmesean
  7. salt and pepper to taste
  1. 1/4 head Lettuce
  2. 1 Cucumber
  3. 1 Carrot
  4. 1 Avocado
  5. 1/4 Green Pepper
  6. Slices of your favorite cheese
  7. 8 thin slices of bread
  8. softened butter
  9. 1 tbsp oil
  10. Garlic Powder
  11. Salt and Pepper
  1. Prepare veggies by washing and slicing each. Thin slices are best.
  2. Prepare dressing by mixing all ingredients together, keep in fridge until ready to use.
  3. Heat a large skillet on medium heat. Drizzle a little oil in the pan. Spread each side of bread with a little butter (less than you would if you were making grilled cheese). When the pan is hot place your bread slices in and cook until golden crisp. Sprinkle one side with garlic powder and then flip and cook that side until golden crisp.
  4. Assemble sandwiches by generously layering veggies, cheese and dressing. Lightly Salt and pepper the avocados and cucumbers. Enjoy!
  1. You can thin the dressing out by adding more pepperoncini juice. Thicken it by adding more mayonnaise.
  2. Add any veggies you like to the sandwich!

6 Month Ansel

Happy Six Months lil’ handsome.

6 month01

You are completely breathtaking. Mr. Wood and I love to play with you as much as we can. You just laugh and smile all day (mostly).

Once the camera is out however, you only give your serious face.

You want to eat everything. Today we tried tiny dots of plain yogurt. You sucked them off my fingers and made a face that was a mixture between disgust and amazement that we would willingly consume something so inedible. You did want several more licks though. The only thing we eat that you insist on tasting every time is pizza crust. To the point of baby tantrum if you don’t get a lick.

You could suck on a pizza crust and be happy forever. That is how I know you are our true son. Goober.

6 month02

You have recently learned how to kiss me. When I ask for a kiss you give me a big sloppy one and it is the best part of the day. It only works when you are hungry, so you are just tasting my face, but that is okay.

Your favorite toy is the tag on anything and everything. You could gently caress and pinch the tag on a pillow for a half hour if I let you.

You have also started to roll around. Now that you have discovered self propelling you are equally excited and frustrated as you spin quick circles on the floor in attempts to reach something right in front of you. Soon baby cakes, soon.

6 month03Finally. You are totally huge. 19 something pounds and 29 something inches. Luckily you still love cuddling, so for now all that hugeness makes for prime squishes, kisses and loves.

IMG_3897 jpg

Happy Half Year!


Lakes and Friends


We are right in the middle of finals week here in the Wood home. Granted I am not writing any papers, but Mr. Wood has spent enough time typing  for the both of us in the last few hours–let alone the past 3 days. We decided that next time we need to get him a laptop neck tray (typing of the dead style) so that he can take walks with babe and I, and still write. So while he types deep into the night it is my job to record our more happier histories of the past month.

Like this lovely lake trip with our dear bosom friends Q and E. Naturally their whole visit was lovely. We walked, talked and ate delicious food till our hearts were full. Q and E got a small glimpse into the life with a young baby on antibiotics and the rashes that follow. Also, Spring finally came out. The only thing better then the floral explosion of spring after a icy drought? 



Like a siren of the sea I cannot turn away from that face. Those cheeks! The glittering eyeballs! 


We visited Tiscornia Beach in Michigan and their North Pier Lighthouse. The further out you go, the colder it gets–but at the tip it is just fresh air and blue water as far as the eye can see.


It was a cold day. The sand was hot and littered with lady bugs.


The end.

Storms and Gardens

window storm | www.dearsweetwood.com

Spring is timidly peeking her head over here in Mishawaka Indiana. We keep urging her forward, but in the end she is going to take her sweet time. 

I can’t get over the beauty of after the storm however. Evenings freshly washed cleaned by rain will always be my favorite moment.

We have also started our little garden. 

Happy Friday!

gardening | www.dearsweetwood.com

photo courtesy: Mr. Wood

DIY: Easy Soft Pleat Curtains

Pleated Curtain DIY | www.dearsweetwood.com

As you know we are renovating our house. A lot of things have been changed, but one thing that has had the biggest impact with the lowest price tag is our windows! Before all the windows had these dusty, skinny metal blinds the color of 1998 computers.

dsw blinds

We took them out, and replaced all the windows we could with curtains. You know that I love cloth right? Like it is my favorite thing. I like to put cloth wherever I can. In the main room of the house we needed something neutral and warm to compliment our ridiculously bright furniture, plus it had to be dirt cheap. Solution? Drop cloths! I know right?

So a 6′ x 9′ drop cloth is only $10 at home depot. A giant piece of cloth, that was already hemmed on every edge! I was dying. Plus they are this glorious taupey color, with little specks of color and tons of rough nubbly texture. We are loving these curtains so much that I want to share a tutorial with you! Just think, all this:

Pleated Curtain DIY | www.dearsweetwood.com

could be yours!

Now there are tons of ways to make curtains quickly. I wanted something clean looking, but still really easy, so I made up this method of pleated curtains. If you are willing to make more of an investment you could go the fancy route and get pleating tape, and those metal pleat hooks–but this version you can do with easy to find items.
Pleated Curtain DIY | www.dearsweetwood.com

The tutorial probably doesn’t make sense, unless you notice that my curtains stand about 2 inches above the rod. I like the effect.

Pleated Curtain DIY | www.dearsweetwood.com



  • Drop cloth
  • Grosgrain ribbon
  • Sewing machine fitted with a denim or upholstery needle
  • Iron







Start by washing and ironing the drop cloths. Note that the edges, although hemmed, are not even, so adjust appropriately when making your curtains

easy DIY curtains for $20 | www.dearsweetwood.com

easy DIY curtains for $20 | www.dearsweetwood.com 

Good Luck! Add some cozy diffused light to your living space!

WIWOW: Killing the Ugly

www.dearsweetwood.comJust a brief glimpse of the slow evolution that our house has been taking.


dsw blinds

Do you know how much I hate old dirty metal blinds? Like are these helping anyone feel better? When looking at them I always feel 2 things. 1: like I’m in some dreary government building, waiting for 3 hours to complete something that shouldn’t take more then 5 minutes. And 2: Like Gregory Peck in Hithcock’s “Spellbound”. If I stare at the parallel lines too long I start to feel crazy in my brain.

But, Mr. Wood took down the last set in our dining area this week, and installed curtain rods. So my goal this week is to finish the outer set of curtains. Meanwhile, we celebrate Easter and spring with fake flowers, because real ones are yet to be found. But the pop of color is so enjoyable I don’t mind.

To Spring! To soft glowing light in place of sharp twangy blades! To Gregory Peck! To killing the ugly in our house!

*throws empty champagne glass on the ground*