Coffee Date

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If you and I were to go out for coffee today, I’d order the biggest chai latte they sold. I’m off the java (the acid kills me!), and chai lattes are my savior. And I’d also probably order a cookie. Because cookies are awesome. And if I don’t get to have coffee, I certainly do get to have a cookie.

Then, I’d start off by apologizing profusely for not catching up more often. Can you believe it’s been eight months since the last time we saw each other? We really have to get better about carving time out for our little dates. You’re so important to me! We’ve both just been so darn busy enjoying our wonderful, glorious lives.

Gosh, how do we even start filling in the last three-quarters of a year? I’d ask you to kick things off by you telling me all about how your beautiful family is doing. You’d tell me all about how healthy and happy your family members are. You’d tell me how you feel supported and loved every single day. And I would smile ear-to-ear, because I love it when people I love are happy.

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The conversation would transition over to me, and you’d ask me about my own family. I’d tell you that Craig is as amazing as ever. He’s the best diaper-changing, hug-giving, coloring, bubble-blowing, story-reading, craft-doing, snuggling Daddy a little girl (and her Mama) could hope for. He’s working hard in school and graduates this May! It’s been a long road, but he’s the first person in his family to graduate from college, so it’s a huge deal in my eyes. I’m so proud of him. I’m so lucky to have him as my partner in this beautiful life. We’ve been together for a decade now (!), and it seems like with each year that goes by, I find a new and different way to love him. I know a lot folks warn off from marrying young, but for us, growing up together has been such a blessing.

And then there is my heart. My brilliant, adorable, clever, hilarious Juniper. Can you believe she is almost 20 months old now? Time flies when you’re the most awesome kid on the planet. She is sharp as a whip and talking up a storm. Her favorite things right now include: jumping (anytime, anywhere), dancing to the intro music on All Things Considered, Legos, playing in the mud, owls, and reading. Always reading. Give that girl a pile of books, and she’s a happy, happy toddler.

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I’d tell you that I could gush on about all the awesome things about my kid for hours, but I don’t want to suck up all of our limited time together with talk of me. Let’s talk about you! Did you do anything interesting for Valentine’s Day?

Once you had finished telling me about your amazing, love-filled Valentine’s Day (seriously gushing over here), I’d tell you that we kept it pretty chill around here. We had plans to get together with my whole family to celebrate my Dad’s birthday, but a snowstorm put the kibosh on the party. So instead, we just drove the 1/4 mile over to my parents’ house to have dinner and watch a basketball game. And drink a lot of good beer. Chili dogs and beer might not be the most romantic of Valentine’s Day dinners, but they sure were delicious!

Mentioning beer would remind me that I brought you a gift! We’re a full-bore homebrewing operation now, so we constantly have a supply of (really flipping good) beer in our house, so I pulled together a mix-a-six for you. I highly recommend the Scotch Ale, it’s my favorite (and SO good with pizza!).

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And then I remember that you aren’t a huge beer drinker (silly me, I forgot!), and give you my second gift—a jar of our maple syrup. I’d tell you that after taking a few years off, we’re back to home sugaring, and it feels so good!

Making our own maple syrup is one of my favorite farm tasks. It’s just so flipping cool! I mean, you drill a hole in a tree, put a bucket under, and then that stuff becomes syrup! For pancakes! It’s amazing.

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Speaking of the farm, you’d then ask me about how plans are going for the summer garden, and I’d sheepishly tell you that we now know we bit off way more than we could chew in the past few years. We just got so excited when we moved here and had all this space that we started running before we even knew how to walk. We just weren’t ready to make that big of a transition. So this year, we’re going back to basics.

Our plan is to plant four raised beds, and that’s it. It’s 97% less square footage than we planted last year (literally, that’s the actual percentage), but we’re excited to get back to fundamentals for a year. We might even have time in the summer to focus on other fun homesteading tasks (we’re currently crushing on the idea of getting ducks).

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I’d then tell you that this is garden stuff is all kinda related to my overarching theme for 2016—simplify. You’d bust out laughing and almost do a spit take, because, I know, I know, simplicity has never been my strong suit. I like bright colors and glitter and 12 fonts and stickers—at least I used to.

The past year or so, minimalism has really been growing on me. Maybe that’s just what happens when you get older? Or when you have kids? I dunno. Whatever it is, I’m seriously craving simplicity, calm, and peace in my surroundings. My goal for this year is to simplify the shit out of my life.

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Speaking of calm and peace, I’d ask if you wanted to take a yoga class with me? I’m not sure what “clicked,” but I’ve been doing yoga everyday for the past six weeks, and I feel amazing. At some point, yoga stopped being about fitness and started being about my self-care. I know those sound like similar things, but in my mind, they feel distinctly different. Those 20 or so minutes I get on the mat each evening are as essential to my life as breathing oxygen or drinking water.

I’d tell you that yoga is teaching me so much (most importantly: I don’t have to beat my body into submission to fit a certain definition of “healthy”). I’d love to take a class with you if you’re free anytime soon! I know you are a super swamped, so if you can’t do an in-person one, I also am signed up to take an online series starting in a few weeks. Maybe we could do it together?

Okay, I hate to cut this short, but I have to run to the grocery store (I swear the grocery store is my second home; hazard of the job, I suppose). Let me know the next time we can get together! Let’s make it soon, okay?

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.

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52 Responses
  1. jodi

    I was JUST thinking yesterday….I would love a coffee (chi tea) date! Just wondering what yoga you have been doing every night…….your own, videos, etc? please share,

  2. Lydia

    I would ask you if you shop at Kroger, If you do, have you tried their new online ordering/curbside pickup option? BECAUSE IT IS AMAZING!

    1. Cassie

      I’m a Meijer girl (the Krogers around here have really wimpy organic produce sections), but the idea of curbside pickup sounds AWESOME.

  3. You have such beautiful surroundings! It’s my dream to have a little bit of land where we can have chickens and a large garden.

    For me the wanting of simplicity comes from the chaos of having children and the pressure to keep up. I found my wanting to simplify really ramped up once my kids started going to school. Homework, activities, etc Sometimes just having a day with no plans is such a treat.

    Congrats on being together for 10 years! We celebrated our 10th anniversary last year. I was 21 when I got married and looking back I think ‘I was so young’! But when it’s meant to be, it’s meant to be 🙂

    1. Cassie

      You are so right on the chaos of children thing. You don’t quite realize how much stuff you own until you have to move every single item out of the reach of adorable, reaching hands, do you?

  4. Katherine

    Gotta say, as a major beer drinker, I definitely wouldn’t turn down that mix-a-six! 😉 We’re also getting our homebrew operation off the ground at a much slower rate – the curse of a 660 square foot apartment.

    1. Cassie

      We have a pretty large operation (we’re doing 8 gallon, all-grain batches), but we’re thinking of starting doing some speciality 1 gallon brews that I was thinking of writing about on the blog! One gallon batches would be perfect for an apartment. 🙂

  5. Yes, please please write more about your homebrewing! We’ve been brewing (in 5 gallon batches) for a few years and I only just recently decided I want to push ourselves to get better at it and start going all-grain and try to write our own recipes.

    1. Cassie

      My Dad writes all of our recipes for us, and they are always spot on. Making the switch to all-grain was when our beers got SO much better. It’s like the difference between cooking a Hamburger Helper dinner or cooking from scratch. 🙂

  6. Karla

    Thanks for the invite and the yummy drink. If you don’t mind, I’d like to have a London Fog instead of the Chai. So yummy!

    And then, please tell me where you got the adorable hot pink sandals in the first collage – upper left corner photo! To die for!

    I’d love to taste your beer. It looks like hopsy perfection!

    1. Cassie

      They are the KEEN Rose Sandal. I LOVE them. I pretty much live in them in the summer. They are so comfy! The day I bought them, I literally walked out of the store, put them on in the car, and then walked for about two miles around town in them. <3 <3 <3

      http://amzn.to/1TraplI

  7. This type of post is my favorite from you – I love the glimpse into your everyday life! What plants will you be planting this year? I love planning out the garden – last year though, we fell REALLY behind on weeding, and our entire bean patch was gone. It kinda broke my heart to see it just dead like that. The yoga class sounds really interesting too! I’d LOVE to see more about the homebrewing! Kalen made some beer once, from a kit, but it was a light beer so it was just used for cooking, but I know we’d both love to be able to make a Scotch Ale or something else delicious! I know I told you this on Facebook, but I LOVE the story of you and Craig, and now Juniper of course!

    1. Cassie

      I think we’re just sticking with the classics in the garden this year—a few tomatoes, basil, cucumbers, zucchini, some beans, and maybe some onions. It’s such a small amount for us, but we’re excited to really get to focus on making it great!

      And, oh my gosh, the weeds. If only tomato plants were as resilient as weeds. 😛

      1. Weeds are AWFUL! And we’re in the country too (also with a lake!), and the bugs are terrible out in the garden. I’m constantly dive bombed by horse flies lol!!! We do tomatoes, peppers (bell, banana, and jalapenos), radishes, squash, eggplant, zucchini, lettuce, beans, cucumbers, herbs. I want to do spaghetti and butternut squashes this year, maybe acorn too. We did potatoes once but that was just too much hassle. And the groundhog that lives in our barn eats cabbage. Jerky groundhog.

    1. Cassie

      Isn’t it so fun? It’s one of those things that doesn’t feel like you should be able to make it at home…but you totally can!

        1. Cassie

          It doesn’t make a mess. It does release a lot of humidity into the air (which is honestly pretty nice in the middle of winter). I wouldn’t do it if I had wallpaper I didn’t want to peel off or my kitchen was small. We have a big open-concept kitchen, so there is a lot of room for the steam to escape. 🙂

  8. i love love love catching over coffee with you..i have been following your blog and living for a while now and have been really considering a farm-ish life. i live in ft worth downtown right now which is great but my heart is craving more for calming, simple living, and focus on growing/gardening etc….i had a chill valentines day as well..

    i have started a linkup on my blog every Friday to do coffee date posts and you should join sometime,,i hope its not every quarter 😛

  9. amanda june

    I’m so with you on the minimalism kick! My husband and I just got back from a long, multi-leg, multi-country trip and after packing up all our stuff 9 times, and staying in clean, relatively empty airbnbs and hotel rooms, returning to our apartment filled with our stuff (too much stuff!) just felt overwhelming. We’ve in the midst of a major clearout, and it feels so exhilarating! I have definitely also been meaning to get back in a yoga groove…but for now, my stretching has been limited to reaching for all that stuff I’m giving away 😉

    1. Cassie

      We had a similar experience (although on a much smaller scale) this summer when we went to Canada for three weeks. We were able to pack everything the three of us needed into three duffle bags. Why do we have so much stuff!?

  10. amanda june

    Oh oh also, the coffee. Have you tried an aeropress?? I know you guys usually French press, but brewing with an aeropress delivers a much lower acidity (and a smoother cup). It might be easier on your stomach. The thought of no coffee makes me so sad for you so I wanted to suggest it!

    1. Cassie

      Oooh! I might have to try that. We have done cold brew (which is supposed to be much lower acid) and have had good results—but it requires planning ahead, and we’re not so great at that. 😛

      1. amanda june

        oh yes, I love cold brew too! What did you use to do it? Some methods are kind of fussy, but if you have a Toddy, it’s really simple and you can make a big batch at once — doesn’t require planning ahead too often 🙂

  11. Liv

    Love these posts as always! Question, what would you do with the ducks? Just curious if it’s for fun, or dare I say a yummy roasted duck (although I feel like the answer will be no). My grandmother raised them when she was alive and gave all her 8 kids a duck each Christmas; as a dark meat lover, SO yum!

  12. Kera

    A friend of ours gave us some duck eggs this week and I’m thinking of making a carbonara with some of them. It shall be the most decadent of all the carbonaras!

    I do love these posts from you, friend. I’m right there with you in being super idealistic about gardening… we’re already being overzealous (my partner decided to plant THREE types of broccoli last night?!), but it’ll all work out!

    Also if you ever want some homebrewing tips and tricks, my partner is a pro brewer and we have a really sweet homebrew setup. I’d love to exchange product sometime 🙂

  13. Julie

    I love love love these posts. I love that you take the time to do them and I so enjoy looking into your life this way. You’re definitely an inspiration and I look to your blog for many different reasons and I always find what I am looking for! Thank you for being open and honest and just an awesome person! Can’t wait to see how the garden and other things go this year, with the idea of simplifying 🙂

  14. My favorite kind of post! And simplify is good. Sometimes I look at other people’s lives and wonder if I should be doing all of those things too, but then I remember that hell no, my family is living the kind of life we want and doing what makes us happy.

    1. Cassie

      Keeping up with the Joneses/FOMO has been such a HUGE thing in my life in years past. But it is so freeing once you finally release yourself from that pressure. It’s awesome! <3

  15. Amanda Costella

    I really love these posts so thank you so much for sharing and being open and honest about your life. It really makes me extra connected to you and your blog. You are an inspiration to me in so many ways. I love the simplify idea for 2016! we are looking to start a little garden this summer so I can’t wait to hear about yours

  16. Love this post!

    Tips for a non-yoga(er) to get yoga(ing)? I keep telling myself to try it and I have but I always feel like it isn’t for me. BUT I’m not sure if I’ve given it a fair shot.

    1. Cassie

      Find a teacher that has a yoga philosophy that is welcoming of all abilities (like, ahem, my friend Krissie, who I’m sure will also reply to this). I always thought I was never “enough” to do yoga. Not flexible enough. Not small enough. Not determined enough. Not focused enough. Until Krissie taught me that you can make yoga fit to YOUR body, YOUR mind, and YOUR spot in life. Make yoga work for you, not the other way around.

      1. Hi Ashley! And thanks Cassie for inviting me to comment.

        I think the first thing to think about is what you want from yoga. Do you want a workout or some relaxation or both? Or is it just another “should” in your life. If you want something in particular, there are a lot of resources to find that. And there are a lot of ways to ease into the kind of practice you need.

        One place you can start right now. Place both feet on the floor. Place one hand over your heart. Close your eyes. Take three deep breaths, and tune out everything but your breath. Welcome to yoga.

        Maybe when you have 5 minutes, roll out your mat or a beach blanket and commit to rolling around and finding stretches that feel good. It doesn’t always have to be choreographed. Just start to learn what parts of your body feels free and what feels constricted.

        A few of my favorite online resources:

        Me teaching a short (3-minute) series you can do anywhere you have a wall :: http://www.krissiebentley.com/blog/2015/4/23/yoga-for-small-spaces-a-video

        My teacher, Anna Guest-Jelley’s youtube page :: https://www.youtube.com/user/CurvyYoga/featured

        I also enjoy Yoga with Adrienne, although sometimes I move a little slower than she does :: https://www.youtube.com/user/yogawithadriene

        Your yoga will be a little bit different than everyone elses. And that is perfect. Feel free to reach out to me with any specific questions!

  17. What a fun post! I’m drinking chai green tea right now and planning a yoga session for tonight.

    I loved how you said Yoga isn’t about fitness anymore, but about self-care. That’s exactly how I feel about it these days.

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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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