Friday, September 28, 2007

A Special "Pum-pin"

Now that the foliage is mostly dead in our pumpkin patch, the Kid was able to discover his own special surprise, created by his Daddy a few months ago- his very own pumpkin, with the letters of his name forming a scar on its skin!

Hot Cocoa for a Chocoholic

I have never been a big fan of powdered hot cocoa mixes, finding them much too sweet and not nearly chocolatey enough. But I never complained, instead finding comfort in strong, black coffee.

Then I saw the movie Chocolat a few years ago, and began to have deep longings for a taste of that chocolate; just a little sip, maybe? And so began my restless search.

I thought that my search was ended when a certain retail coffee chain of Northwest origins came out with "Chantico". Oh, one sip and I was in heaven (or at least as close as can be found here on earth!).

But the product was discontinued after just one year.

That's it, I thought to myself with a stomp of the foot, I will just have to create my own chocolatey heaven. And after some trial and error, here is my resulting recipe (be warned, it is not for those who are satisfied with traditional hot cocoa!)

In a small sauce pan, whisk together 1 Tablespoon sugar and 2 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder. Carefully add 1 cup of whole milk, whisking until combined. Heat over medium high heat, stirring often, just until it starts to put up gentle steam vapors. Pour into your favorite mug, top with fresh, unsweetened whipped cream, and enjoy!

If you are feeling a little feisty and want some extra spice, add a pinch of cayenne pepper in with the cocoa and sugar.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

My Blackberry Boy

Another favorite late summer ritual is the feasting on blackberries. Most other times of the year, we fight off these overly tenacious and invasive plants, but the redeeming quality of this imported pest (thanks Thomas Jefferson!) is its wonderfully juicy and abundant fruit which makes our mouths sing and our bellies happy.


A few weeks ago, we had a late summer sausage and smores roast with some good friends. It was so nice to sit out under the stars (after the Boy was in bed!) on a cool evening with a warm fire, blankets and good conversation.

Summer Glory

Wednesday, September 19, 2007


Cantaloupe and Watermelon grown in our very own garden! For those who don't garden, this is a very difficult task for someone with our climate and elevation, and the first time our attempts resulted in edible fruit. Just had to brag a little...

Fine Art

At the beginning of the summer, I somewhat reluctantly bought a new toy for my little artist. I knew that he would get some initial enjoyment out of it, but for a pricetag of $15, I was only slightly confident that it would be worth the money. But his new doodle pad FAR outweighs its price in the value of enjoyment. He has had hours and hours of fun practicing his drawing skills, and we are continually amazed at what he comes up with. Here are a few samples of his work:

July 27-

August 18- Bob the Tomato of Veggie Tales fame

The proud artist, with another Bob the Tomato-

September 14- Bob the Tomato, his favorite muse, this time including mouth and "hair"!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Loving on Baby Girl

My Boy has become quite the little cuddle bug lately, and has added my belly to his list of favorite cuddle items. He previously would choose any spare pillow or blanket left about the house. We refer to baby Girl quite often, and he knows that that term is somehow in relation to my belly, but there is no way that a 21 month old can truly comprehend just what that means. So I have come to the conclusion that he thinks I am growing a fat belly pillow just for him, and so be it if I have chosen to also give said fat belly a name.

Oh, what a shock he will be in for when that belly disappears and suddenly there is a real live baby in our house!

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Drumroll, Please...

The news you have all been waiting for... But first,

Sweet baby profile...

Tiny little feets...

And, the absence of male body parts...

Come on, people, turn your head sideways to the left, and pretend you are changing a diaper, legs up in the air, diaper wipe in hand. See it now?

Yes, its a GIRL! She will arrive sometime in January. Hopefully she will be greeted by a loving big brother and a closet that has a noticeable LACK of pink foofy clothes.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

First Beach Trip

Some intriguing reading for the journey.

Two shovels are better than one!

Splash, splash!

Lunch at the Tillamook Cheese Factory

"Oh, Wow!", he says, looking at all that cheese!

By request, a side view of the pregnant belly...

Barley Stuffed Peppers

I found this recipe a few years ago, and it has become a regular late summer meal; we so look forward to the ripening of our green peppers!

2 large or 4 small green or red bell peppers
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onions
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups chopped tomatoes
1/4 cup snipped fresh dill
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
3 cups cooked barley
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375.

If using large peppers, cut them in half through the stem, discard seeds and pith; or, if using small peppers, cut off the top with the stem, then remove seeds and pith. Blanch in boiling water 4 minutes; drain.

In a medium skillet, heat the oil over medium high heat. Add the onions and garlic; cook, stirring, until softened, about 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, dill, and parsley. Cook, stirring until tomatoes are softened, about 3 minutes. Stir in the barley, Parmesan, salt, and pepper. Spoon the mixture into the prepared pepper shells.

Bake 20 minutes or until fillng is heated through.

These are terrific with grilled meat, or do what we did this time and pair them with fresh baked acorn squash, also from the garden!

Just a Few Pics

The quilt that I started creating for my Boy from old jeans in the months before he was born has finally been pulled back out of the closet and will hopefully be finished in time for his move to his big boy bed in a few months.

A new grape arbor/outdoor dining room that Matt is constructing. The grapes will be planted this fall, and in two or three years, we will have a lovely leafy and shaded room for summer entertaining.

Despite the serious expression on his face, He really did love the quad ride with his Daddy!