Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Blooming Poppies

When I went to bed last night, I had these on my poppy plant.
 Within minutes of waking up today, I had these.
 Minutes later...
And this,

Today has been the best poppy day ever!  Talk about quick blooming. Every time I check, a new one is open. Aren't they beautiful?  Delicate too though.  They'll be gone almost as quickly as they came. Imagine whole fields of these!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

First Farmer's Market Outing

Herbs, Pumpkin plant, Zucchini plant, Impatiens, Pepper plants, hanging plant...our first finds this summer.

Farmer's Market

 I love the pink flowers against the light green idea what type of bush this is. It may be the last thing in the yard that I have yet to identify.
My "herb garden".  I have big plans for the tarragon (top plant).  Will post the recipe soon.  Basil is just a staple and I hope to have an abundance at the end of the season to use for pesto. Last year I barely used the rosemary. I just love to smell it on the deck!

Monday, May 24, 2010

A History Lesson

Ben and the Emancipation Proclamation
By Pat Sherman

A compelling true story of a slave eager to read who brings a crowd of slaves to their feet when he reads aloud Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation.  I love teaching the girls history through the eyes of other children of the time.

Here's a snippet from the book.
Ben studied the signs, trying to remember the letters. Broad, B-R-O-A-D. King. K-I...
"Boy?" The man had turned to stare at him. "Shouldn't you be getting along?"  "Yes sir." Ben threw his carrying sack over his shoulder and hurried away. Don't let them know you can read. That's what his father had told him. Slaves weren't allowed to read.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Izzy-isms From Last Summer

1. Mom, I saw left-over tuna casserole in the fridge. Can I eat that instead of ice cream for dessert? (So, guess what she ate for dessert?)

2. Lots of strange phrases about her gums. (This is probably due to her recent first visit to the dentist and her awareness of baby teeth coming in. She pays close attention to Audrey's teeth count and awaits Pieta's first tooth.)

3. Mom, I'll take care of you and I'll go get dad to help you too. (After I got stung by a bee on my foot and needed to ice and elevate it.)

Friday, May 21, 2010

Trying to Imitate the Best

It turns out parent/child music classes offer more than I thought.  I noticed the amazingly cute wardrobe on this little girl during our six week session and through inquiry and the huge label on the back of the clothes found out about Matilda Jane clothing.  Much to my surprise (no, not really) I found the clothing online and the expensive price tags attached.  The real reason I choose not to buy a dress is they can only be purchased through Trunk Shows (similar to an Usborne Book Home Show, which any of you can host and I will gladly do for you anytime).  No, I confess, it was mostly the prices.  Even though I have been known to splurge on occasion, these prices were out of my range.  But, I fell in love with the clothing.  Like Izzy fell in love with ironing.  Only mine was a deeper love, like with the actual fabric and knotted straps.  So, I decided to try to sew one dress that even came close to the vision of these.

With Mary's tutoring and just plain taking over at certain points, I was able to piece together something that I can proudly call my first sewn dress.
 My Izzy. 
(Please try to ignore the rusty hand rail and weird residue on the front door. One of these days I will have a camera that blurs the background like the one above with cute Matilda model girl. Man, will that come in handy!)

In the last year I have also become acquainted with fabric designed by Amy Butler and have frequented Treadle Yard Goods to purchase fun fabrics.  Amy's fabrics helped bring Matilda's inspiration to life.  Thanks, Amy. Thanks, Matilda. Thanks, Cute Girl from Music Class and Big Huge Label on back of cute girl's dress.

P.S.  Notice how the blue fabric at the hem of her dress is strikingly similar to the background of this blog?  I salivate when I see these blues.

Learning from the Best

Izzy and I spent a Saturday recently with Aunt Mary. Our goal was to sew and learn all the tricks of the trade.  I especially needed the reminders about measuring, marking the line to cut, etc. I never have been good at being exact.  With Mary at my side I was able to successfully sew my first dress. More on that later.

Izzy was successful in making her very first pillow case and blanket for her doll.
She found that "sewing" meant lots of preparation before the actual stitching.  She's handles a scissors well.

As well as an iron. In fact, in as much as a four and a half year old can actually fall in love with something, I think it is safe to say that Izzy fell in love with ironing and has asked to do it since. Thank God! At least one person around here enjoys it.  Train 'em early I say.
And the finished product!  A bitty blanket and bitty pillow for her bitty baby (whose name changes like the wind).  
Well done, Isabel. Thank you for the generous giving of a whole Saturday, Mary!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Summer Recipe Challenge

My super cute recipe box given to me at my wedding...and the newly thinned out interior. The picture on the inside of the lid is of me and the neighborhood kids I grew up with. I received a recipe book (also at my wedding) with hand written recipes from the kitchens of the women in the old cluster and each page also contained pictures of my youth. Lots of fun and yummy memories. What a great gift! In the spirit of efficiency though, I kept the pictures and recipes, but pitched the bulky book!

Today, somehow I managed to go through my entire recipe box while watching 5 kids under 5 years old. I threw out the ones I never make and never will make. I found some good ones to repeat or try for the first time and have set them aside to make this summer. Its a mix of main dishes, desserts, salads and veggies. I thought that by keeping them in a separate and visible place, I will remember to try them and I promise to write about my success at summer's end.

Here's the list. If you'd like the actual recipe, I can get one to you via some form of electronic device or the antiquated telephone (yes, we still have a land line and I will take mine to the grave.) More on how I feel about that later.

  1. Colorful Fruit Kabobs (because anything on a skewer tastes better)
  2. Strawberry Frozen Jam (this presupposes I will be picking fresh strawberries!)
  3. Cucumber Salad
  4. Broccoli Salad (a staple for me to bring to potlucks. You have never seem broccoli disappear so fast.)
  5. Peach, Mozarella and Basil Salad (Yum, anything with cheese and basil)
  6. Zucchini Tomato Salad (because we have magic dirt in the garden that produces thousands upon thousands of zucchini)
  7. Creamed Spinach
  8. Tortellini Salad with Feta Cheese (again, see the cheese comment on #5)
  9. Tomato and Mozzarella Burger
  10. Skirt Steak with Pepita Sauce and Warm Tortillas (has anyone else heard of "skirt steak"? I have to admit, this was a new one for me. Just which part of the animal is it from?)
  11. Shrimp and Feta Vermicelli
  12. Grilled Chicken & Pineapple Quesadilla (newly posted on my newest blog discovery, thanks to Jen and Shellee - The Pioneer Woman
  13. Roman Chicken
  14. Rustic Peach Tart
  15. Chocolate Zucchini Cake
  16. Caramelized Peaches and Ice Cream (the peaches better be great this year!)
So that's it. There's my summer challenge. At least the cooking portion of it. I will have to come up with a few more challenges. I work well with goals and deadlines!

I am a sucker...

for skirts like this. And it's from one of my favorite stores that asked to use my name and one of my favorite colors for its logo. Hee hee. I may have to splurge before June, when I may impose a month long can't-buy-anything-over $5-limit. The only exceptions would be groceries and gas. I am still thinking about it, but don't want to cheat on the spirit of it by buying everything in sight while its still May. So, maybe the skirt is out? And, its awfully expensive. But, it has great pockets - a must for tooling around town with the kiddos. Keys, credit card, a kleenex, Burt's Bee's lip balm, even a certain feminine product would be safe and secure in this baby. Who needs a purse when you have pockets?

Friday, May 7, 2010

Raising Girls and Helpful info

Listened to this interview and found I agree with a lot of it. I have always been bothered by words printed on the butt of girls (little little girls') clothing...this is only one small point of the author's book, but speaks to something much bigger in our culture.

Investing in our children's "spiritual core" is so important. I've been thinking about specific ways to do this in our home.
  • Reading about heroic, holy, strong women and girls
  • Talking about modesty and pointing out what is and is not modest
  • Providing lots of opportunities for open conversation about what is going on in their life and what they think about it
  • Responding immediately as a mom when they ask a question, express the desire to spend time with me
  • Encouraging their own prayer life
  • Encouraging them to write down or capture their memories, what is important to them
  • Allow for good one on one relationships with other strong and wise women (encouraging Kate to play tennis with Aunt Jill, for example)
  • Help them think through decisions and using their free will to make the best choices based on the unique individual they are
There are lots more....any other ideas out there?

Thursday, May 6, 2010

A cold and cold weather

Well Maddie has been home sick with a fever and cold for three days now. With only one or two instances of strep EVER in our home, I am convinced it is a virus and will fade away. Had hoped to get to more gardening done this week and weekend, but the temp has dropped and wind is something fierce. I can really understand why "they" say to wait to plant until after Mother's Day. So, for now we wait patiently for health and pray against anyone else getting sick. The weekend is packed with fun, service and fellowship. I hope it can all be accomplished.

Yesterday I went through each room of the house looking for those items that we absolutely do NOT need or use. I have a small pile saved up to sell at our garage sale in two weeks. I like our small spaces since we cannot have much anyway, but I always look for new ways to be efficient or streamline our things and spaces. I usually use the rule that if it hasn't been used in one year, it probably will not be used again. I rarely regret getting rid of anything with this method of downsizing/cleaning house.