• A drink recipe with YOUR name on it!

    A drink, like anything else you can create in this life, is an opportunity to make something from nothing, and to make that something entirely unique, intentional, and nuanced. From a playful tiki drink with a nod to Scandinavian heritage, to an effervescent, welcoming champagne cocktail in a lady’s signature color of peach, I love to design drinks around themes, colors and flavor memories to capture a moment or a feeling. When I do this for event clients, it often leads to some of my favorite new creations and menu fixtures.  I first had a drink made for me when I was at my corporate job at Microsoft HR, working…

  • Mary’s Simple Goodness Sisters’ Sidecar

    We, and about 200,000 other people have been inspired by Mary Heffernan as an entrepreneur, woman and mother for a long time. Venise began following her on Instagram and like so many others, was captivated immediately by the story of serial-entrepreneur Mary, her husband, and their 4 daughters (all named Mary) who moved from Silicon Valley after owning and selling her first few businesses there, to fulfil their dreams of ranching in rural Northern California. Since that beginning, they’ve grown their ranch into one of the most successful, direct to consumer food businesses that Instagram & North America has ever seen. As folks trying in our own way to do…

  • Sunset Magazine Wants You to Put Simple Goodness Sisters’ Marionberry Mint Syrup on Ice Cream

    Simple Goodness Sisters is featured in the July/August issue of one of our favorite magazines, Sunset Magazine. Sunset Magazine is THE magazine of the West, a stunning pictorial and literary trip up and down our coast and across our Mountain passes, and color me purple, we’re IN IT! It is a highlight of my month when the magazine arrives at my door, and the hours I spend perusing its pages are a trip to a life I imagine myself having: adventurous escapes through PNW wonderland, small garden transformations to beautiful backyard oases (this has been an ongoing quest of mine for two years, just ask my friends who have grown…

  • The Gin and Tonic That Will Convert You: Simple Goodness Lemon Herb G&T

    At the end of this blog I will share with you the cocktail recipe for a Gin and Tonic that will actually convince you that you like Gin and Tonics. But first, I’ll tell you a funny story about the pre-cocktail days of Venise and Belinda, aka the Simple Goodness Sisters. And also, I’ll stop referring to us in the third person. You’ve heard a lot of Grandma Nancy, aka “the Nanc” if you’ve been following along with us for a while. you haven’t yet had the pleasure of hearing about her sister, Aunt Patty, but today is your lucky day. Aunt Patty and Grandma Nanc are one of many…

  • 5 Tips for Building Raised Garden Beds

    It’s been a while since I (Venise) blogged. When it comes to our strengths Belinda is the stronger writer so I generally let her shine on the blog while I dig in the dirt. But, I am excited to share some gardening tips with you so I taking a break from the dirt to try to put some words on a “page”. Since Ross and I have been feverishly working to rebuild our raised garden beds and get everything installed in time for the busy growing season it is a great time to share 5 tips for building raised garden beds. Leave enough room for your equipment I am making…

  • Flowers Crowns and Pregnant Cows: an Ode to Motherhood

    Motherhood- holy cow. I could write 120,000 words on the subject, and I can also sum it up in a sentence: it’s the most beautiful, impossible, challenging and rewarding job/privilege I’ve ever had. It’s a job I’ve always wanted, but I never could have imagined how it would play out. I was an odd adolescent (are you surprised?) and I used to have this fantasy of being a fiercely independent, single mother to a precocious, female toddler and traveling the European continent as a duo, selling my handcrafted chocolates. Yes, it was a fantasy stolen directly from the movie Chocolat, and it is a great example of my younger self’s…

  • Happy Mother’s day: an ode to stepmoms

    Mother’s Day is a busy day for us because we are blessed to have a lot of moms in our lives. We’ve talked a lot on this blog about how our grandmother’s inspire us and we have talked about what our awesome mama did so right in raising us, but until now we haven’t given our stepmom, Jill, the spotlight. And let me tell you, she deserves it. Stepmoms have it hard from the start. They come into your life with their Pocahontas drawing skills and as a bratty 7 year old you demand their artistry be put to use immediately as a sort of test to entry into your life. When they kindly demure,…

  • How Henry eats his veggies: one picky 1 year old’s menu

    It drives me crazy that my child won’t eat a balanced diet. Let’s just start there. In theory I know that kids are often picky, heck I was, though that was mostly my sister’s fault. I copied everything Venise did and she remains to this day a particular eater. In practice, Henry’s picky eating aggravates me to no end. I take food really seriously, always have. I love eating it (as an adult I am a pretty adventurous eater), growing it and cooking it. I also hate waste. So watching my child refuse to eat the veggies I have lovingly prepared for him is incredibly frustrating for me. When I first became a parent, feeding…

  • The signs of labor in cows

    Two years ago we welcomed our very first calf on the farm when Mama struggled through labor and delivered a healthy heifer (girl) calf we named Mae. Fast forward two years and our baby is all grown up and having babies of her own. Mae is scheduled to calve sometime soon. If we were full time farmers who had the opportunity to spend more time in the barn and less time in our corporate offices we would have been regularly observing and recording Mae’s heat cycles and would know when she was bred. But, alas, we are busy modern day farmers who work day jobs and try to do our best when…

  • Mother’s Day: A lesson from my mama

    I got teary listening to this song and singing along at 50 odd miles an hour on the way to work, going way too fast on Hobart-Issaquah road and directly past a waiting cop. Luckily I didn’t get pulled over, but even if I had, it might have still been worth it. I was having one of those moments of living completely in the moment. I got all kinds of emotional thinking about all of the wonderful, supportive, strong people in my life, especially those who raised me. It was Mother’s Day this last weekend, and this day has never meant more to me than this year. It isn’t just because  I am now a mom and…

  • Egg Bound Chicken

    To be a great farmer, one must also be a great detective. Because our animals cannot speak to us in words, we spend a lot of time trying to guess their needs. Over the past few days we have had the chance to hone our detective skills when we noticed one chicken who wasn’t being her usual chicken self. Rather than hanging out with the other chickens she has been laying in the goat stall on the ground, which is never a good sign. When the other chickens were flocking to the feeder in the morning fighting for food, she hardly turned her head, an even worse sign. It didn’t take…

  • My Own Subversive Garden Plot: raised bed kitchen gardening at the Kelly house

    In his Ted Talk “My Subversive Garden Plot” Roger Doiron suggested that gardening is a subversive act, through which sassy little garden gloved rebels can take back control from the industrial food complex and the obesity epidemic and gain food freedom.  When I watched it a couple of years ago, my black thumb was inspired. I highly recommend watching it, here at the end of this post. He is fresh, and funny, and so right. Now, before I am accused by my dear friends and readers as sounding completely hippie-washed, consider this fact- at the height of the Victory garden movement during World War 2, forty- FORTY-percent of our nation’s food came from kitchen gardens grown in…

  • Yellow Cake with Whipped Cream Filling and Vanilla Buttercream Frosting and a bittersweet “See You Later”

    I have no idea how to hold it together while writing a post about goodbyes, however temporary, so let’s just call this a cake recipe post. Today, my very best friend since the age of 15 is finally, after years of waiting, off to begin officer training in Alabama with the United State Air Force. I show my love in layers, so his going away party cake was my biggest creation yet. I am happy for him to begin this adventure, since adventure has after all been the common thread in our stitching, tugging us along in life in varied directions, states, relationships and careers. I’m proud that he made…

  • Designing with Bead Board

    I am currently obsessed with bead board. I love the antique charm that bead board instantly brings to a room. Generally when people think of bead board they think of white paneling that is 36″-42″ tall. However, if you are willing to think outside of the box when installing bead board you can achieve a look that is different and refreshing. Recently we finished installing bead board in our kitchen and our barn guest room. In addition to my tips and tricks below, make sure you check out my before and after pictures to spark your creativity. If you have pictures of a project you have done or are working…

  • Kitchen Cabinet Refinishing

    One of easiest and most rewarding remodeling projects is upgrading cabinets and counter tops. This will be my third kitchen remodel and each time I have skipped the expensive option of replacing the existing and opted for a facelift. In this house, I love the fact that the cabinets are original to the house and solid wood.  I have priced enough cabinets to know I couldn’t afford new solid wood cabinets and since the existing cabinets are fully functional I saw no good reason to tear them out…waste not, want not!  Besides being way cheaper, revamping old cabinets is a whole lot faster and when I started this project I…