Wednesday, August 31, 2011

From the backyard

A few shots from what our backyard has been giving us 
as the last days of August comes to a close...

 Magda made a mini-habitat made from blades of grass and morning glories 
for what she is sure is a butterfly egg she found...

Apples and pears from the fruit trees we are lucky enough to have in our backyard.
The apple tree is very old and the pear tree was planted in last 10 years but both are yielding lots of fruit...


 the black-eyed Susans that are every where in our backyard and the random colorful flowers we planted from seed last spring that have constantly graced our home in vases throughout the summer...As much as I love Fall, I will miss going out to the garden to gather up an instant bunch of color to brighten up our home!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Back to School!!

The storm came and the power went out...dashing all our plans for the weekend.  But we quickly got back to normal (escaping Irene relatively unscathed...) and when Monday morning rolled around--
we were ready for BACK TO SCHOOL!!  

First grade and last year of Montessori, amazing!  
Shiny new pencils, brand new notebooks; looking forward to seeing old friends.  

Love this time of year.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

My friend

Before the earthquake on Tuesday, my work colleagues and I were all gathered announcement needed to be made...please, lets all gather together--its important...They were the worse kind of words because we knew it was the worse kind of news. Unexpected, to say the least, because we thought he might have had a few months more or a few weeks, at least...not only...merely...a few days.  

When we got word that the cancer was back on Friday, after a cautiously optimistic cancer-free summer of radiation and chemo one knew what to say.  We were stunned...

I sent an email:

"We all miss you and love you so much...what can I do to help you and your family?"

His response: let's see, not over yet...

That reply came last Friday evening; by Tuesday morning he was gone.

He was a brilliant editor, sharp wit and towering intellect, amazing way with words--a lovely, wonderful man.  Devoted husband and dad to 15-year old twins, he was my go-to-guy for all my gardening and tomato questions.  We just clicked and connected from the very start and I adored him.   We just sat around talking about what we had for dinner or what we were going to have for dinner.  He actually encouraged me when I told him I wanted to make home-made wine...But wait: you don't understand: he is the ONLY person who ever actually encouraged me to make home-made could I NOT love this man??

But more than anything, George was my friend.

I always thought the world was a better place because he was in it...and it was.
 And I know, with absolute fact, that the world is better off because he was here.  I never had his family over for dinner; we didn't hang out after work but he truly had an impact on me and I will miss him...way more than I thought possible...

The photo was taken right before taking off at the Albuquerque International Airport....I just thought somehow it fit.

Monday, August 22, 2011

A Clean Home

This weekend, the kids were away with their grandparents at the beach...This weekend, it was just me and Greg...

this weekend was our 7th wedding anniversary...

This weekend, we opened a 2-day can of WHOOP ASS on our, organizing and generally improving our overall quality of life.  

I know--I can hear the groans and the "really?!?'s.  We were planning on going to the Shenandoah Valley and stay at a little bed and breakfast...but nooo...we stayed and we cleaned.

For the was a joint decision.  We weighed the pros and the cons...And now...we feel AMAZING!! As we start the new school year, next week:  every sock has a mate (this alone would have been worth it...), every item of clothing is age appropriate, i.e. no more size TWOs lurking anywhere...every room has been deep cleaned...the basement (which has been a dumping ground since we moved in is a SIGHT TO BEHOLD, a THING OF BEAUTY!! ok, that maybe going too far...but its close!  The porch floor is like 99.9% free of 50 year old adhesive/linoleum.  The playroom, which instilled dread in my heart every time I walked in is now like a friggin' NATURE PRESERVE!! Its so calm in there--I love it.

There are SEVERAL bags/boxes of clothing/items that will be picked up by the local goodwill on to new homes and to people who need them...

You know that saying: nothing tastes as good as feeling thin feels...

well, SURELY this saying must be able to be worded in such a way that it would apply to our situation today, but I am really worn out and can't quite figure it out...but you get the idea.  We did go to a nice sushi dinner Saturday not all work.

And since the house is so picture-perfect, I thought I would take some know, just to remember how the house looked...because this feeling and our clean house will be fleeting...

the kids come back tomorrow.

: )

Friday, August 19, 2011


That Quilt that I saw way back when, last spring--I think...its been there, in the back of mind, ever since I saw it--tugging on my sleeve like a little kid, whispering in my ear...

"hey!! lady, when are you EVER going to make me??"  

I have been brusque, almost rude in my reply:

"Go on kid... Scram!! Get out of here...I can't make you and we both know it!!"  

But because I am border-line obsessive/compulsive when it comes to these things...I could not let that quilt go or get it out of my mind.  I even reached out to the fabulous Dana over at Old Red Barn Co. seeking her sage advice.  Without hesitation she told me she rarely ever uses a quilt pattern and that this particular pattern seemed to her "completely do-able"

Did you hear that Quilt? YOU ARE COMPLETELY DO-ABLE!!

Whoo-hoo!!  That is all the encouragement I needed, so needless to say: we are on!! No pattern, no clue, no nothin'.  BUT this Quilt and I have a rendezvous with destiny and I couldn't be more excited...but I am kinda nervous...and honestly, a little bit scared.  But in a good way.

Dana invited me to do a quilt along, so, when I figure everything out, I think I am going to take her up on the invitation...will let you know more as I go.

(How does one who has no idea show others? Its kind of like a zen riddle, don't you think?)

In the meantime, I have just a little figuring to do and a few details to work just a little figuring and just a few details--yeah, right!!...did I mention that nervous/scared thing--still there...but in a good way...But I am up for the challenge, TOTALLY DO-ABLE, remember??

Ok, I come!!

 wish me luck!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Recipe: Pesto (My 100th Post!!)

Pesto, I know...surely you are thinking couldn't I have done something a little more exciting than something pretty much everyone who likes to cook knows how to make...but PESTO!! come on!! It is truly summer-time in every bit.  And nothing says, "Help, I am drowing in fresh basil!!" better than a beautiful bowl of pasta dressed with this luscious sauce...

My Go-To Recipe I use every time
adapted from Giada de Laurentis

2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
1 garlic clove, peeled
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup grated Parmesan

1 teaspoon grated lemon zest & a pinch of red pepper flakes

  1. In a blender or food processor, pulse the basil, pine nuts, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper until finely chopped.  Add lemon zest and red pepper flakes.
  2. With the machine running, slowly add the olive oil until the mixture forms a smooth and thick consistency. Add the Parmesan and pulse until combined. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Makes 1-1 1/2 cups.

This is great over pasta, grilled chicken, grilled tofu, and on pizza. We like it on fettuccine or rigatoni. For added nutrition, we add some cannellini beans, grape tomatoes and feta cheese.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Montgomery County Fair

The heat wave/humidity kind of broke this weekend and we can't take another minute scraping the linoleum off the front porch, so for a welcome diversion (FAMILY FUN DAY!) We went to the Montgomery County Fair on Sunday...we had such a great time!!  Our first time there...

We skipped the rides and went right past the deep fried butter, beer and twinkies.
(ok, I don't really know if our fair had all that deep fried stuff, but its what I was hearing about this weekend from Iowa!!)

We headed straight for the animals!!

We saw beautiful and wonderful cows, horses, ponies, pigs, goats, rabbits, chickens, sheep, camels, bees, geese, ducks, lamas, flowers, tractors, quilts, pies, fruit & veggies, quilts...a mama cow about ready to give birth...

The kids watched the judging of some sheep and got to pet and walk one around...they milked a cow for the first time and climbed on a huge old combine.  We a dancing poodle show (which was pretty cute), ate some delicious ice cream and saw some beautiful quilts.  

A great day and good fun for us all!!

Friday, August 12, 2011

The Quest for World (ok-house!!) Domination Continues!


The fort building goes on with more sheets, more panels and more rooms...

I have to say, Magda took on the lead role as head architect with gusto, determination and vision.  And for me--the assistant, I just helped a teeny-tiny bit...mainly just reaching to stick suction cups, up-high, where she couldn't...I swear, that's it!!

But the orders for more sheets/panels kept coming and I kept sewing...
I think we are up to four twin-sized sheets now sewn
with t-shirt loops at the corners and mid-points...

Close-pins work awesomely for keeping it all together!

What is it about cozy spaces that makes makes everything so much more fun??

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Recipe: Roasted Salsa

Salsa...I love it..and I love all kinds: 
Pico de Gallo: fresh, raw with plenty of onions, jalapenos and tomatoes; 
all chopped up and mixed together.
Tomatillo: bright and citrusy with lots of cilantro and a beautiful shade of green...
And in a pinch, I will even take most jarred kinds because there is just something so good about a scoop of salsa on a corn tortilla chip that makes my eyes go wide and has me coming back for more.  
I am just hooked on the stuff.

My favorite kind, though, really-hands down, is the roasted kind...can be smoother or kind of chunky, but it has specks and bits of charred tomatoes, onions, etc that just give the whole thing a nice smokey, rich flavor...its super easy to make and I highly recommend it!!

Start with a random amount of ingredients...can be anything really, but this is what I usually stick to:


I went with orange and yellow peppers to mix up the color palette this time--this made for a less red/more orange salsa.  If you use red peppers, it will be, um, more red.

Toss with or pour over everything olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Broil, turning every 10 minutes for 25-30 minutes...or until it all looks like this:

Then, I take this beautiful mess, dump it all in a food processor and add:

-Chunks of fresh tomato--to add a little fresh flavor
-1/2 bunch of fresh cilantro (or more)
-2 or 3 teaspoons of both Oregano and Cumin (or more)
Juice of one or two limes (or you can use white vinegar)
More salt and pepper

Pulse for chunky texture or go to town for a more blended salsa...and that's it!
You've got home-made deliciousness that I guarantee will make you sing!!

Great over eggs or can top anything, really...we are big into black bean bowls lately:
Into a bowl goes: corn tortilla chips, black beans, lettuce, cheddar cheese & topped with salsa.  
Nice, fast weeknight meal.

This salsa is really, really good and you can make it different every time, if you like or stick to the same ratio and same flavor. gets even better after a couple days.