Friday, July 31, 2009

Art is Personal

When you are a TRULY dedicated painter,

and have incredible bouts of creativity and concentration,

paper or canvas is really so unnecessary

to create delightful art.

Or, at least, to create delight!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Monday, July 27, 2009

Weekend Happiness

There was more clearing of the backyard this weekend. Michael dug up at least three clumps of trees with root structures like this one. Slowly, but surely, we are getting somewhere.

We had another toddler birthday party this weekend, so another tote was whipped up. In this one we deposited a Charlie and Lola book. My kids love them, hopefully Nate will too.

My parents dropped in on Friday on their way home from another visit. My mom always seems to have some goodies for me, and in my pile was this quilt. It was in my grandmother's things, but Mom wasn't sure if my grandma made it or where it came from. I like to think it was a child's play-mat with so many interesting shapes and colors to look at. Check out that giant squirrel! If you blow it up, you can see some other gems in there.

And last, but certainly not least, my favorite part of the weekend in which Calvin learns to ride his 2 wheel bike like a champ!!!!

My not so favorite part? Crashing into Ellie.

Friday, July 24, 2009

From the Gardens

This past week has been busy with running the boys to vbs each morning and trying to remind myself how to do this job of mine after a few days off. My dear husband treated me by digging out my back garden while I was gone! And my thoughtful MIL had the kids make these sweet handprint tiles for me

in addition to getting me started on still more perennials. I seeded a whole bunch of things as well, so it will be fun to see what manages to make its way up.

In our little veggie garden, a lot of things are growing, but not ready. We picked some nice zucchini this week though and enjoyed it in a recipe from the website for Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver.

The recipe from that site is, as follows:

A Year of Food Life

Barbara Kingsolver with Steven L. Hopp and Camille Kingsolver


¾ lb pkg orzo pasta (multicolored is fun)

Bring 6 cups water or chicken stock to a boil and add pasta. Cook 8 to 12


1 chopped onion, garlic to taste

3 large zucchini

olive oil for sauté

Use a cheese grater or mandoline to shred zucchini, sauté briefly with chopped

onion and garlic until lightly golden.



¼ cup grated parmesan or any hard yellow cheese

Add spices to zucchini mixture, stir thoroughly, and then remove mixture from


Combine with cheese and cooked orzo, salt to taste, serve cool or at room


While rejected by the kids (tasted briefly, but rejected), Mike and I enjoyed it. Good with a little red pepper... and for you meat eating types, sausage.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

A Break, a Reunion and an Anniversary

The kids just spent the last 4 days at Nana and Papa's house. A welcome break that always brings with it a bit of sadness with being away from them. Still, I got some lovely squeezes when we picked them up today so I'd say it was worth it. While they were away, I took a mini trip to an old home of mine.

A dozen or more years ago, I spent one heavenly summer living on a gorgeous lake with a girlfriend. We paid her family for our electric use and a few other whatnots, took half our baths right in the lake, and spent every second that we weren't at our jobs out on the water working on our tans.

A few things have changed (we now use an spf a good deal higher than 4, I've popped out three babies, she's lost her mother), but mostly when Jen and I get together it's just like we never left. And being able to hang out and catch up at the lake is just a little slice of heaven. On Friday we were joined by 4 other high school gals (I bailed on our 15 year reunion) and spent some time reminiscing, gossiping and being silly, but it was my time on Thursday that really left me refreshed. Pretty easy to feel that way when looking at a lot of this:

And doing a lot of this:

I did bail on the official reunion, but I saw the people that I wanted to see and I had a good reason to ditch the girls on Saturday. Happy eleven years Michael. Couldn't have done it without you. ;-)

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


I have a lot of knitting plans, you know. Some (very few) recently finished:

Some recently started:

And a couple somewhere in between:

But they have all just become a whole lot easier to take with me thanks to a thoughtful blogging friend. Can you believe she made this for me? Just whipped it up and sent it out of the blue! Thanks Nicola!

I love it and I am certain it is going to help motivate me to knock off those knitting plans. This one. And this one. And this one.....

And, I'm glad I didn't have to make one for myself because, if I had to tack that on to the end of the planned sewing projects, I would probably get to it sometime mid-century.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Weekend Roundup

In the end, I didn't care about the fire under my bum being there or not. Had a jolly picnic with friends:

A little fire to ourselves:

And some basketball in the dark:

A delicious birthday cookout at Unc and Amy's:

And, while we did not get a lot of yard work done in between, we DID finally get our topsoil delivered for the front beds. Thanks to the help of a thoughtful neighbor, we also managed to get it IN the beds before (JUST before) it started raining cats and dogs. And we saw "City of Ember," which I really enjoyed and now feel the need to check out the books.

Busy weeks ahead with good things. Finally feels like it might be summer.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Fire up the Bar-B!

Busy weekend ahead. A cookout with friends tonight and a small birthday celebration for my brother on Sunday. I need to straighten things up around here first and in between those event we need to cram in more outside work if the weather cooperates. Forget the BBQ, somebody better light a fire under my butt!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Tie-Dye Party

I have a very brave friend. Yesterday, she hosted a tie-dye party in her little backyard with a pretty large amount of the under 8 set. There were a lot of parents around too, but in many ways that just seemed to add to the chaos. A fun time was had by all though, in spite of the (yes, still) dreary weather. I swear these photos were taken in the only 10 minutes of sun we had all day. Is it EVER going to feel like summer here? I digress.

Tie-dying, if you have never done it yourself is incredibly fun and easy and even if you screw it up, you can't really screw it up. That is my kind of project, especially with kids. Korana threw 3 big buckets of RIT dye in the driveway in three colors (she used dark yellow, teal and fuchsia), we all went to town wrapping stuff up in rubber bands and then we dyed away!

Our instructions were to "think of it like easter eggs" - the longer you dip , the darker it will be. Feel free to combine and blend. Some of us were haphazard. Others, like this young man (ahem), were careful about each color and placement.

Tate made purple, which he was delighted with (even though I think I managed to fade them too much because I don't think I let them dry properly before washing and wearing). After "painting" them (Tate's words), we threw them in the kiddie pool to rinse, took the rubber bands off and hung them to dry!

Here you can tell the sun was gone again, but what a fun and cheery (almost) substitute!

A word of warning, if you attempt a gathering like this: be sure anyone who hangs on the upper racks wrings out their shirt well. Tate's purple swirls got a few big drips of green and yellow from a rather wet one way at the top. But, like I said, no harm done because you really can't screw it up.

Monday, July 6, 2009

More From the Suburban Garden

Well, after practically drowning in all the thundershowers we got last week, we did manage to have a decent holiday weekend. The fourth was a little chilly for my taste, but Mike's parents and grandma knocked us out with good food! Just look what they did to Ellie! ;-) I forgot my camera, but luckily Mike had his new iphone baby. I swear he's probably the last techie on the planet to get one! Not the schmancy newest version, if you keep up with that sort of thing, but a pampered baby nonetheless!

Sunday was a perfect sort of day and we spent our time after church outside attempting more pruning and gardening.

The new header shows my front garden that is now full of flowers and seeds courtesy of my mother-in-law and grandmother-in-law. They generously divided up some of their perennials, so I could start some flowers here. In spite of its scraggily beginnings, I know it will fill in nicely and next year I could have quite a lovely bed. We are still waiting on topsoil to fill the front beds for some bushes and plants there. It has been so soggy that apparently bulk topsoil is not being delivered! So it goes.

Tate's little garden is coming along too. I need a cage still, but we planted some yellow grape tomatoes and 2 green pepper plants. There are also some sunflowers in the back that I think, even in their barely sprung from the earth state, are being eaten by something. Grrr. Yesterday, we added a ring of carrot seed around the tomato plant. The kids are all so excited, in spite of the fact that none of them are particularly fond of carrots!

I STARTED to tear up my flower garden in the back as well, but that 18 inch strip was all I managed. I am not sure if there is an easier way than digging it up with a hand rake, but this awful crab-grass (?) that we have here is TERRIBLE to pull out. The roots are really these thick vines and I am sore today just from that little bit. (Please no comments on how completely out of shape I am.) I'll just keep plugging away, because I have some more divided plants to get in the ground and a lot of pretty seeds to try. Mike's mom also bestowed a birdbath on me. Just a simple one, but I am so happy. There are some really beautiful ones that I have been slightly coveting, but free is so good! It is surprising how perfect something free and useful becomes :-)

Mike spent his day pruning the monster maple in the back. He did an excellent job lifting the branches that were growing so low they needed to be ducked under to get to the trunk. It looks SO bare to me right now, as we prune back and cut out all the overgrowth, that sometimes I get a little depressed about it. So many of the kids secret play places have been whacked off and exposed and I do feel so much more fishbowly to all our suburban neighbors. BUT, I also see the value in this and that it needs to be done to create a space for healthy growth and something more beautiful and at least SLIGHTLY controlled.

And then I can't help but see the metaphor in that for my own growth as a person: emotionally, mentally, spiritually. If only I can keep that perspective, both inside myself and in my backyard. Ouch. I think I am going to just focus on all those (currently imaginary) blossoming apple trees that are going to flourish along the back fence and on those tiny branches of new growth yearning to stretch out under that canopy of maple. Eventually, they will stretch out to the sun and so will I.