Friday, August 29, 2008

Thursday, August 28, 2008

News Flash

Katie, now 7 1/2 months old, just this morning, over the course of about 35 minutes, crawled from the kitchen to the living room, back to the kitchen, then to the toy corner, and finally, when she was tired and ready for a pre-nap snack, crawled over to me as I sat here in my chair, and cried to be picked up.

Technically, it is probably called "creeping", since her belly still polishes my floor.

She is exploring her world, people, and at a much faster rate than I could have predicted!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

What's for Dessert

Thanks to the efforts of my Mama and Daddy picking all of those beautiful blueberries for me, I created my own variation of a classic:

Blueberry Pie

2 recipes of your favorite pie crust (if you want mine, simply ask! I couldn't find it in time to add to this post, but I will be happy to share once I can locate it again!)

6 cups fresh blueberries
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 egg, beaten, with 1 tablespoon cold water
Turbinado sugar

Gently toss blueberries with remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Let set for 30 minutes or so, tossing occasionally, until all dry ingredients are moistened. Pour into prepared pie shell, top with remaining pie shell, crimping edges well. After cutting slits or a design into the top crust, gently brush with egg mixture and sprinkle with Turbinado sugar.

Bake in a 375 oven for 45 minutes. Serve with your favorite vanilla ice cream (if you can't make it yourself, try Safeway's Homestyle Vanilla- it is YUMMY!).

What's for Dinner

Wanting a light, easy, and tasty supper, I wandered out to the garden while the kids were napping to see what I could find. Zucchini in ABUNDANCE, that's a given. A few scrabbly Spinach plants that haven't yet given up, and that towering row of Dill. Hm. I think I have it!

Rotini with Chicken, Zucchini and Spinach Dill Pesto

1 package rotini (my favorite store variety is Barilla PLUS)
large handful of spinach leaves, about 2 cups
1 head of dill flowers or seed pods (mine are half spent)
large handful of grated parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste
olive oil
1 small-ish medium zucchini
2 grilled chicken breasts, very lightly seasoned

Cook rotini according to package directions until slightly al dente. Set aside about a cup of the starchy liquid. Drain, then return to the pot.

Meanwhile, place spinach, dill, parmesan, salt and pepper into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until combined and condensed down to a fine chop. Drizzle in some olive oil while continuing to process, until the pesto comes together to form a creamy spread-like consistency. Set aside.

Chop chicken breasts into coarse, bite-sized pieces.
Slice zucchini into thin rounds.

Toss zucchini and chicken with hot pasta. Add starchy liquid to pesto, then pour over pasta mixture. Gently stir until pasta, chicken and zucchini pieces are coated with the pesto mixture.


Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Pickles and Relish

A huge thank you to my new friend, Lorraine, who kindly shared her favorite Zucchini Relish and Bread & Butter Pickle recipes with me- they are both absolutely delicious. (Of course, I couldn't leave well enough alone, and made slight adaptations to both recipes due to pantry limitations, or my own stubborn artistry!)

We are trying to come up with a good name for the Zucchini Relish, to keep it separate from pickle relish. Zelish is too much like my Grandma Zella's name, and Matt thinks Zucchish sounds funny. Any ideas?

I actually started to giggle a little when I tasted the pickles, because they were crisp, and had the EXACT flavor I was looking for. Grow, cucumbers, GROW! I want to make me some more...

A Few Smiles for You

Taking Larry for a spin...

Her bellybutton is hard to resist!

Thank you to my very talented photographer sister, Joann for this photo:

Monday, August 25, 2008

Little Miss Sunshine Can't Wait To Grow Up

She is "creeping" all over the place now, but that Big Brother of hers just moves way to fast to keep up with! Here she is gazing longingly at him and his big boy toy.

My August Valentine

This year for Valentine's Day, I received from my Sweetheart, several pouches of flower bulbs. They may not have been so pretty that rainy February day, but they held the promise of summer sunshine to come. Here is one of those love tokens in full bloom...

Aren't they Lovely? And their fragrance is so sweet, just like the love and companionship I share with my Soulmate.

Escaping the Heat

With three days of 100 degree weather and no air conditioning, I was happy to have my little sister Joann here visiting. She probably wasn't so happy about the heat, but it helped to keep the kids attention diverted! Here we are trying to cool down a little...

Mean Mama

Jack was really excited about the package he got in the mail recently...

...until he saw what was in the box!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Make Your Own Laundry Detergent

This is a recipe that I got from my BLESTB sisters... It has been circulating online for awhile, but I thought I would share it with my readers.

For the last several years, I have been trying to convert all of my cleaning products over to as natural as possible, because I really hate the idea of those chemicals around my babies. I use a vinegar solution for most of my regular cleaning, but hadn't found anything for laundry as yet that I liked. Well, so far this one looks to be a winner. I have used it several times, and my clothes seem to be coming out just as clean as before.

You will need:
16 cups water
1 bar of soap (Ivory, Castile, or whatever you have on hand), grated
1 cup of washing soda
1 1/2 cups borax

Boil the 16 cups of water in a large pot. While boiling, add your grated soap and whisk continuously until it completely dissolves. Remove from heat.

Next add borax and washing soda. Whisk it up really well. Continue to whisk throughout the day as it cools. You may use it right away if you so desire, in its liquid form, but ultimately, it turns into this weird grainy textured gel.

I recommend a 1 gallon bucket with a lid, or other wide mouthed sealable container. I put mine into a gallon jar, but with the small mouth, I am struggling each time to scoop it out. I use about 1/2 cup per load.

For front loading machines…use 2 heaping tablespoons

This a no/low suds soap…

Sources: to June 6 post)

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Monday, August 11, 2008

This Picture Confuses Me

A Bountful Harvest

Miss Emily Jean couldn't help but be infected by the happiness of her parents, grandparents, and bachelor Uncle Edward as they daily worked to bring in a bumper crop of wheat and corn. They would eat well during the coming winter months, and that made everyone rejoice. Farming wasn't an easy life, and many years the pantry was empty long before the Springtime thaw.

While the adults were busy working in the fields, and she cared for her baby brother, she resourcefully used a scrap of fabric, some leftover crochet string, and crushed walnut shells from the tree in their yard to make a commemorative pumpkin pinkeep, a secret gift for her Grandmother. Everyone would remember the bounty of 1828 for years to come, and she wanted to be a part of the celebration.

Three quarters of a century later, that pinkeep has been found, tucked away in the bottom of a trunk. It is darkened with age, but still retains its fir branch "stem" and a few rusty pins and needles.

And it will be offered for sale on ebay to the highest bidder, starting tomorrow afternoon. :)

Saturday, August 09, 2008

And the Biggest News of the Day...

Our Girl, just a few days shy of 7 months old, is now scooting on her belly across the hardwood floors quite proficiently. Look out world!

So Sorry, my Dear...

But I simply couldn't resist putting the fluffy tulle bow on your head. It was left behind by a dear young couple who just last weekend opened a belated wedding gift at our house. When doubled up, it fit on your precious little head so perfectly, and I just had to do it! The funny thing was that you seemed to actually enjoy being adorned by a big white bow, and spent several minutes hamming it up while your Daddy with his blackberry and your Mama with her camera took photos.

The Shirt Says It All

I only chose the shirt. The rest of his attire was all his own choosing. Thanks to Christy, who sent the hat home. He now insists it MUST be worn when going out for a walk, and says over and over... "yee(high pitched and quiet)-HAW(low, gutteral and loud)! Cowboy hat." :)

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Self Portrait

I've sprouted an extra head. To the ancient tribal woman who first invented the sling, a resounding THANK YOU on behalf of my "Hold-Me-RIGHTNOW-Baby".

What the Firstborn Was Up To

while I fed the Baby yesterday afternoon...

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Two New Designs

I am sending these samplers to the Aurora Days antique sale on Sunday, to hopefully be sold along with all of my Sister-in-Law's antiques. So, if you have fallen in love with either of them and simply must have it, you had better speak soon!

Monday, August 04, 2008

Poor Gracie

One of my dearest and oldest friends, to both of our delight (once we individually got over the shock of being pregnant again and for the first time!), has a baby girl just a month apart in age from our Girl. We try often to get them (and us) together.

Well, I was just about in tears cracking up when I was editing the most recent photo session. Looks like my Girl has become quite the martial arts expert at poor Gracie's expense. Sorry, my dear friend, I'll try to work on her manners before your next visit. :)

You really have to see it in a slide show for the true funny-ness to be experienced, but I think you probably get the jist.

And finally, a shot of both girls looking sweet at the same time...