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Coffee Date

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Oh, hello, my dear friend! If you and I were able to get together today for a coffee date, I’d gush over how beautifully radiant you look. You are such a stunner! Ow, ow! Tell me your secret? Did you find some new, awesome skin care line? Or are you just that naturally beautiful?

Then, I’d tell you how glad I am that we could finally get together for another coffee date. Is Spring always as crazy for you as it is for me? It’s pretty much non-stop go, go, go from March through June around here. But I’m definitely not complaining, because it is all super duper fun stuff! And as exhausting as spring is around here, I will never complain about sunshine, warm breezes, and skirt (without tights) weather returning. Spring is my jam.

Anyway, I’m glad we could both find some time to sit down together. Do you have any fun stuff going on over the next few weeks?

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I’d ask you to please excuse the dirt under my fingernails and the blisters on my hands—they’ll pretty much be that way from now until November. It’s gardening seasoning! It feels so good to get back in the garden, especially because I was a little busy being 3,000 months pregnant and taking care of a newborn last summer, and didn’t get to log many gardening hours.

I’d ask if you are you planning on planting anything this year. Please tell me you are! Gardening brings my family such joy that I want you to experience it, too. You’d tell me you don’t have the space to garden, and I’d smile and tell you that everyone can garden, just as long as you have a sunny window (and even if you don’t, we can work around that). I tell you I’ll come over next weekend and help you set up a windowsill herb garden while we down a pitcher of margaritas and gossip about stuff. How’s that sound?

I’d tell you that gardening is so much fun with a kid! We’re out in the garden doing our garden-y stuff (we got peas, spinach and lettuce planted this past weekend), and Juniper is there right along with us. She’s getting muddy, eating dirt and grass, and giggling at the warm breeze. Just like I did growing up here. It gives me the warm and fuzzies.

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Speaking of the JuneBug (it was only a matter of time before the conversation turned to the little nugget, wasn’t it?), I’d tell you she is rocking it with solid foods. We’re doing baby-led weaning, which is where you skip pureed baby food, and instead jump right to giving a baby “real” solid foods (with some modifications to prevent choking).  But you probably already knew that because you’re a hip and with it Mama, but you let me tell you about it anyway so I would feel good about myself. You’re awesome.

Anyway, she wasn’t really interested in solid food for months, but over the past few weeks, she’s really gotten the hang of it. She’s tried everything from refried beans to Indian food to étouffée—she’s getting quite the culinary experience. Her favorites right now are guacamole, tomatoes, bell peppers, and any kind of carb (pizza, breadsticks, tortillas, oh my!). It’s so much fun watching her experience food!

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Can I confess something to you? Juniper loves tomatoes so much, that so I keep envisioning a future scene of her sitting in the grass in the middle of the garden this summer, with fresh tomato juice running all down her face and arms—and the scene makes me tear up a little bit. I can’t wait for my little girl to eat the wholesome, organic, home-grown food that we’re making for her.

I’d tell you that one of the things I want the most for my little girl is a healthy relationship with food, so we’re working hard to cultivate that (pun intended). I want her to know where her food comes from. And to know that she has control over her body and what she puts in it. And that food is a wonderful, joyous, incredible gift—not something that should ever bring her anxiety or fear. I hope having her in the kitchen and in the garden with us will help set her up for a life with a healthy relationship with food and eating.

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I’d tell you that I think raising kids in general is rough, and raising boys has its own set of obstacles, but that I sometimes lie awake at night worrying about raising a girl (if that’s how she identifies, and if not, there is a whole other set of worries) in our misogynistic society. I’d tell you that I want her to be able to go for a run by herself when she’s in college, without fearing the worst case scenario. I’d tell you that I want her to be able to order whatever she wants from the menu on a first date without feeling guilty about her choices. I’d tell you that I want her to be able to make the same amount of money for the same work as her male peers when she gets a job. I’d tell you that I want every door open for her (both in policy and in practice). I’d tell you that I want her to be able to identify as her own person, irrespective of gender, and live without ridicule (although, I know that’s unrealistic).

You’d then pat me on the shoulder and tell me that I need to simmer down, because thinking about all the obstacles your children will face in the future is a slippery, dangerous, anxiety-ridden slope to go down. You’d tell me that I’m doing great, and that the best thing I can do for her is to be an example for her to model. You’d then go up and get me a brownie. Because, like I said before, you’re awesome.

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Well that escalated into a way more deep of conversation than anyone should have over coffee (and a brownie), didn’t it? Let’s talk about something light and fluffy. Like…animals! How are your pets doing? I would say we should set up a playdate with Puppyface and your dogs, but Puppyface is an old disgruntled lady who hates pretty much everything.

I exaggerate. She’s a super sweet dog who sniffs Juniper’s head and sleeps the day away on the couch. But she is getting up there in age, and she had so many surgeries when she was young (after getting hit by a car) that arthritis has set in and makes life a little bit rough. We still take her out and let her dig in the garden and run after squirrels, and then we give her her medicine, and let her sleep the rest of the day away on the couch. She’s been such a good sport with all the changes in the past few years. For the longest time, it was just the three of us, but then we moved, and then a kitty came along, and now a tiny little human that pulls puppy tails. Puppies are the best.

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Speaking of animals, I’ve totally buried the lead here, but I gotta tell you something awesome—we got chickens! We’ve been talking about getting chickens for years, and have put it off for one reason or another. One day a few weeks back, I finally just said enough and ordered 15 mixed layer chicks. They came in yesterday, and we set them all up in a cardboard box in our basement. We, unfortunately, lost one girl in transit and then two more from travel stress (I’ll write a long post about it soon, but there were shipping delays that caused issues), but all the rest of them seem to be doing wonderfully. Fingers crossed. We already love our girls so much.

I’d tell you that once you get home, you should totally check out our live baby chick webcam. You’d laugh at me, because I’m ridiculous. Who puts up a chick webcam? THIS GIRL. That’s who! It is so addicting to watch! And if you keep watching, you might even see a cameo by me or Craig. And we may or may not be talking to our chickens like they are babies.

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You’d then ask me about the coop, and I’d roll my eyes and laugh, because, of course we don’t have a coop yet! More prepared people would, you know, build a coop first then buy chicks, but that just ain’t our style, so we’re in coop building emergency mode. We have the plans. We have the location. We even have a mockup! This weekend, we’re headed to the hardware store to buy all the supplies and then it’s time to get our Bob Villa on. I ask if you want to help, and tell you that I’ll pay you in free-range eggs in a few months. You say you’re in, because you’re an awesome friend, and you’re also empathetic and can tell we’re a little bit desperate. I tell you I would not recommend going about your first batch of chicks in this order.

Speaking of crazy long to-do lists, I’d look down at my watch and tell you I’d love to stay longer, but I gotta go get to gettin’. The chicks need more food. The baby needs food. And I should probably eat something other than a brownie. Until next time, my friend.

What’s going on in your life? Catch me up!

Cassie is the founder and CEO of Wholefully. She's a home cook and wellness junkie with a love of all things healthy living. She lives on a small hobby farm in Southern Indiana with her husband, daughter, two dogs, two cats, and 15 chickens.

Leave a Reply

23 Responses
  1. Daniela

    Hi Cassie! I love coffee date posts!
    Your gardening tips are the best!
    For now I’m the windowsill herb garden kind of girl because I’m not blessed with so much space.
    But I will be in the future, it’s in my plans and prays and I want to be able to make a great job as you do!
    I tried to add you on Instagram and you denied me twice, so maybe that’s a personal account for real friends I dont know. I’m just wondering if you are in any other social media besides facebook?
    Your Junebug is the sweetest.
    God bless your family!
    Many kisses and hugs from a Brazilian fan

  2. Katie O'Brien

    Cassie, what is the garbanzo bean/wilted spinach-looking salad that is posted under you talking about cultivating Juniper’s healthy relationship with food? That paragraph is awesome, and that picture looks delicious… I almost want to lick my computer screen to see if it has a snozberry effect. 🙂

  3. Awesome post – you have such a great voice and I actually feel I’m sitting with you over a coffee. On a completely unrelated note, glad it’s not just me going on feminist rants of late. Can’t wait to hear about the chooks (do non-Aussies use that term?) and the garden progress and would also love to hear about how you’re going with baby led weaning – we’re expecting our first in a few months and I’m sucking up all the info I can 🙂

  4. Your description of what you want your daughter’s relationship with food to be like really made me smile— even a little teary. I think generally we’ve really lost a healthy relationship with food, and with growing food, and I think this is an extraordinary thing to try and foster. 🙂 I hope you have many, many beautiful, connected food experiences in your futures!

  5. liz

    Is it possible for me to postpone planting starter plants so that the harvest doesn’t come when we are away on vacation in August? Our freeze date is the first week of May and planting then, means that I miss everything in August–so sad! (our vacation is with extended family at the same time every year and we love it!) Any suggestions? thanks so much-just found your blog and am really enjoying it!

    1. Cassie

      It’s really hard to nail down exact harvest dates. Depending on weather, you might be harvesting anywhere in 6 week window! How long will you be gone for? I’d it isn’t too long, just let the fruit stay on the plants and harvest when you get back. If it’s a while, maybe “pay” a neighbor in free veggies in exchange for harvesting and watering for you. That’s what we do!

  6. Rashada

    I am so excited to live vicariously through you in regards to your chickens.
    I can’t have chickens here (I don’t think allowed in my town anyway, but I also don’t have a good space for them).

    I remember reading about some of your plans for the coop before, so I’m really excited to see how it actually comes together!

    Also, you and Junebug look so wonderful and happy. I wish I was better about finding ways for my littles to play in the dirt

  7. I wish you really could come over and help me set up a garden! I actually bought a planter box for my patio but I have no clue what seeds to plant when so it’s just sitting there full of soil doing nothing. You’re inspiring me to do a little research though. Your garden is stunning!

    And btw, you are an amazing role model and I think Juniper is one lucky little girl to have you for a mother. She’s just too precious for words!

  8. Victoria S

    I love coffee date posts! And yes, I’ve already creeped on your baby chick cam, too fun! Love watching your baby grow as mine is about the same age, he was born June 20. Are you already planning her first birthday party?

  9. Andrea

    I love this!! I feel like we are long lost friends. We are incubating duck eggs to hatch, my 9 month old son is reaching some of the same milestones as Juniper (and Momma has some similar worries as you), and our old Yellow Dog has to exercise on a leash because of his hip arthritis. Thanks for sharing this today, your little family makes me smile.

  10. Ashley B C

    The panic set in for me as soon as I learned my little baby was going to be a girl. I’m right there with you. Model love, acceptance, strength, intelligence, independence, determination…all that stuff. Continue advocating for their healthy futures. If I dwell on it, I feel overwhelmed. If I act on it, I feel slightly better. 🙂

  11. Pauline Shaffer

    I literally just sat down with a cup of coffee to do boring job related things and saw this post and got so excited! It was like a mini coffee date! 🙂 You’ve officially inspired me to at least see about a windowsill herb garden since we do have an exceptionally sunny apt. and gardening sounds so rewarding. Juniper = adorable and your animals and chicks= adorable.
    Have a great day!!

Meet Cassie
Meet Your Host

Hello. My name is Cassie, and I’m a healthy home cooking expert.

I'm a Certified Holistic Nutritionist, and I've been developing healthy recipes professionally for over 15 years. Food is my love language, and my kitchen tips and nourishing recipes are my love letter to you!

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