Tuesday, August 31, 2010

So Long

Where did it go?  It was just a wink ago and it was May.  A blink was all it took this year...a blink and a warm breeze and there it went.

I know it's not technically the end of summer until later next month, but the first day of September always has signified the beginning of fall for me.....or maybe the beginning of Indian Summer, if we are lucky. It's the time of year when I want to watch all the brat pack movies because they are all about school and starting school. There is a line, talking of the love of fall that says "I would buy you a bouquet of sharpened pencils if I knew your name and address" ... I love that line. I want to use a thermos and a lunch box for all meals. I'm sure I will get over this happiness faze when the frost hits for weeks on end, and even then I'm mostly fine, until it snows....but until then I will bask in it.  

Song: Goodbye Summer, India Arie (One of my favorites!)


We moved on to the letter "N" this past weekend. It was a super super simple meal with absolutely no actual cooking involved, with the exception of making the salsa earlier in the day. But we ate it in the middle of a hot summer day, before we proceeded to go about our fun activities for the afternoon.

For N we had:
Nachos (with homemade salsa, you can find the base recipe here)
Spiced Nuts (today it was chili lime and cracked pepper almonds)
and then later in the day we had Nuttella Lattes and Hot Chocolate

I had never tried Nutella before. I didn't know what it was all about, but as soon as I found a latte idea using it, I was all over it. Nutella is basically hazelnut flavored chocolate. And the commercial with the woman spreading it on the toast, now really grosses me out. But, I'm not really into chocolate toast. Neither is my kiddo. In fact, he really despises chocolate....unless it's hot chocolate, which even then, some days he won't tolerate either.

To make the Latte:
Mix a tablespoon of Nutella with about a half a cup of coffee.
Then steam your milk and add it to the mix and top with froth.
Sprinkle with nutmeg.  Simple as can be!

Lady Bug

She's two.
She kind of tootles around exploring all kinds of things.
She's easy going.
She's soft spoken.
She always has "an idea" of what we should do.
She loves lady bugs and it shows.
She's getting big...and it's fun to watch!

Song: Ladybug Picnic

Sunday, August 29, 2010


Over the years since I've lived here I've met and become friends with so many great people. Some, I've known for longer than others. Then they get married. Then they have babies. Then they introduce me to their siblings and I get to become friends with them as well....and pretty soon, I get to know the whole family! I love that. I love that about my little area that I live in!

This is one of those families. See all these beautiful smiling, cheek pinching faces?...I've gotten to know them over the years. I look forward to seeing them.

And now I know where they all came from!!!!

Choke Cherries

This past month while eating outside at my picnic table (almost all meals are eaten outside during the summer, as I want to soak up every single second of warmth that I possibly can as I know it will come to and end all too soon for me.) I looked up and saw these. After asking around, I discovered I had my own little chokecherry stash right in my back yard.  So, of course I had to make something out of them.  I'm not a huge jelly eater  (I like it, I just don't think of it as often as I should)  My son and husband eat waffles on the weekends, it's their thing (I don't love  big breakfasts) so I made them some awesome chokecherry syrup!

Also, on our little 4 mile hike we came across a GIANT patch of chokecherries and I had 3 men and one little boy filling plastic bags and water bottles full of berries....and I made more syrup. The thing about chokecherries that I love... they are free. And to make syrup, not all that much more. Water and sugar. That's it!


7 cups chokecherry juice (or however many cups you have)
6 cups sugar (Nearly equal amounts)

Wash cherries and drain well. Place in 8-10 quart kettle and add enough water to completely cover the cherries. Boil until tender, about 15 to 30 minutes. Strain through a cloth jelly bag or fruit press. Combine sugar and measured juice and bring to a boil. Boil rapidly for 20 to 25 minutes. Pour into hot sterile jars and seal.

You can add liquid pectin to make jelly. Follow instructions in pectin package.

Saturday, August 28, 2010


These two are a couple of tag teamers. I love seeing them I love seeing what they are doing. What stages they are in, and how they work together.
One cracks up all the time.
The other.... serious sal.
And I know, it's just when they are with me. I know that they simultaneously smile. I just have a hard time catching that!!!
This is the look I get.
Exactly at the same time I'm getting this look from the other.

But regardless of their looks, I love watching them grow!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Mmmm Mmmmm

Getting back to the Alphabet
We had our "M" dinner the other night. Seems like our dinners are getting a little less elaborate, but that's Ok...we're still working together and we're still practicing writing and that's what counts!

For M Dinner we had
Muffins (Homemade and fantastic!!!)
Mango Ice Cream (Also homemade... see the blackberry ice cream recipe and just use mangos instead!)

FOR THE MUFFINS: (From Tasty Kitchen)

1-½ cup All-purpose Flour

¾ cups Sugar

½ teaspoons Salt

2 teaspoons Baking Powder

⅓ cups Vegetable Oil

1 whole Egg

⅓ cups Milk

1 cup Blueberries


½ cups Sugar

⅓ cups Flour

¼ cups Butter (or Earth Balance) (I thought this was too much..I kept having to add flour to it to make it crumbly. Maybe start with a little less and then go from there!)

1-½ teaspoon Cinnamon

Preparation Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease muffin cups or line with muffin liners.

2. To make the muffins, combine flour, sugar, salt and baking powder. Place vegetable oil into a 1-cup measuring cup; add the egg and enough milk to fill the cup. Mix this with the flour mixture. Fold in blueberries. Fill muffin cups 2/3 full, and sprinkle with crumb topping mixture.

3. To make crumb topping: Mix together sugar, cup flour, butter, and cinnamon. Mix with a fork, and sprinkle over muffins before baking.

4. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes in the preheated oven, or until done.

When I was in college I had a very limited array of recipes I cooked and ate. I worked at a little place, not far from where I lived, waiting tables. It was one of those smokey places with bright sunshine coming in and all the regulars wore worn out cowboy hats and dirty boots, were perched on their chairs at 6am and  knew your name along with any other detail of your life you were willing to share. I didn't share a lot, but sure did like a good share of their stories. Of course I knew what they ate.  In the back though, was a different scene. My cooks (I called them mine, because if you didn't get along with cooks, your life was miserable!) were completely different than myself. If you know me, you know that I'm kind of on the "preppy" side... in a weird way.  The cooks.....were not.  They were tattooed and pierced and had long hair.  I got along with them immediately, and they got along with me and we had a great time together for those three years.  Well, like I said I didn't cook a lot. So, one day I was complaining a bit about that and one of the cooks handed me this recipe. I've been making it regularly ever since, and it's dear and precious to me, because it was one of the first things I learned how to cook for myself and like.

10 Manicotti noodles
1/3 of a container of Chive and Onion Cream Cheese (I've not found a way not to buy the whole thing, I've also tried different kinds and it's never as good)
1 large bag of mozzarella cheese
1/3 of a jar of marinara sauce (or whatever tomato based sauce you like, I like the garlic basil kinds)

Cook noodles according to the directions. Drain.

Grease cooking pan. Stuff noodles on each end with mozzarella cheese and the cream cheese in the middle. Sometimes, it helps just to cut them open and fold the noodle back over the top.

Spread a layer of marinara over the top. Spread a layer of cheese over the top of that. Bake at 350 until golden brown.

When's the last time you listened to this?

Song: Mmmmmm Mmmmmm, Crash Test Dummies

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Country Boy From the City

I've been trying to get together with this little guy for over a year now. Seems like something has always been getting in the way... you know like blizzards and rain and you know, everything that gets in the way of things. He's from down south and I was so excited to finally meet him and his mom!
But I also I got a bonus.......

I got to meet his awesome older cousin (I know they look like brother and sister, don't they!)
They both photograph amazingly and I was so happy the rain stayed away for just a little bit while we got these done. Just a little bit was all we asked for. (We were completely surrounded by rain clouds!)

Monday, August 23, 2010

Three Musketeers

The three Musketeers came to visit last week for some pictures. They have a gotten so big since the last time I saw them. The littlest was still a baby and now she's walking and kinda babbling a little bit. It's remarkable how time flies past and kids grow without even realizing it!

Friday, August 20, 2010

I Want to Catch My Life....

It is said that “The camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera."....which I found to be so true.  I look at the world around me, nearly 24 hours a day as if I'm looking through a lens, in only without one. Which way the light is making the silliest object look different. How the light will cast a shadow.  How a person or baby would look in it. How the colors meld. If I'm having a conversation with someone and my mind wanders... it's normally about how the sun is hitting them.

The thing about photography.... sometimes, it doesn't allow to look at things normally. 

I have forgotten, in the past couple of years to not worry about composition. About light. A snapshot. What is that?  I've forgotten.

So..... my goal. To catch things more. As they happen. Without reaction. Without worry. I want to catch my life as it happens...no matter how it's composed.

My baby is a dancer. A singer. A foot tapper. A hummer. He doesn't know he does it. He gets consumed by music. He shuts his eyes when he sings sometimes.  To be honest, I don't know why, I worried about my children and music. I wanted them to like it. Like I do. Sometimes..... you know, people don't. When I was pregnant with him, so much music made me sick. Literally. I was so afraid he wouldn't like it (the things you worry about when you are pregnant are not normal all the time).... I was that mom that played music though the earphones on my belly, because even though I couldn't listen to it, I wanted him to.  So, I know now I don't have to worry with him. He's an air guitar playing, head banging boy. Jump up and down,  sing into the hair brush,all over the place boy. And he has perfect rythm. Always has.  I love it.

He didn't know I was looking. I caught him dancing in the tub. I love it when he dances in the tub.

Song: Joshua Radin, These Photographs

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Color Corner

It's been a little crazy around here and we haven't had a ton of time to do fun projects together. So today we took the time. We put on comfy clothes. We picked out what we wanted and we went for it.
Michaels was having a sale on canvas's, so I grabbed a 24x36 and started on the project. I'm not huge on posters. Not even framed ones. I really dread the day when Park will want to design his own room. I'm sure I will try to convince him of all kinds of things.

Today we painted his all time favorite thing in the whole entire universe. Tyrannosaurus Rex. I drew it. He painted it. His favorite color.

And now... he finally has a giant T-Rex hanging in his room!! Right in his little color corner. (that's where he sits and draws and colors.)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Sharp Dressed Man

Getting my little one to wear anything but dino gear is a real chore. I pretty much gave in a couple years ago to the whole thing fighting it thing. Now....I just have to get creative. While we were out, he spotted this. The awesomest tie in the whole universe. No... it doesn't have T-Rex on it, but it did have some other of his favorites and that was perfect. He was so proud to put it on!!!

And of course, since he got it I had to take pictures of it......isn't he handsome?!!!

Like I said... I gave in a long time ago. These are dinosoles. They are his third pair. He went with the Stegosaurus ones this time. Of course they light up.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

I know I have a few people waiting on pics this week (from a bit ago!) I promise I have not forgotten about you, had to finish a little project (I've had several people ask lately if I ever don't have a project I'm working on....) and then I will be back in the editing room until I'm done. Thanks everyone for being patient!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


Patience is a virtue.
I say that at least once a day.
to myself.
to my kiddo.
Because, really waiting for something, makes it even sweeter and better.

This little tiny one came to visit clear from across the country. I was soooooooo happy she did. Along with her came a bunch of others I was so happy to have at my house. It was the perfect reason to celebrate. A new life. A new perfect little girl...with A LOT of hair!

I like this one because the binky is almost bigger than her face. :)

Thank you to my family for driving far and away to get together.  You know how much I like to entertain and you put up with me!!

Love to all!

Song: Baby Mine, Bonnie Raitt and Was Not Was