Tuesday, June 30, 2009

summer life

I flat out love summer.

Monday, June 29, 2009

our weekend

a friend's pirate birthday party
dinner outdoors at our favorite neighborhood restaurant
Seattle Sounders soccer game
entertaining friends
evening on the beach

The weather was gorgeous.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

have a lovely weekend

Here we are at the end of our second week of summer vacation. This past week the boys spent their mornings at a nature day camp at Discovery Park. And we've swam, spent time at the beach, ate outside, played games, done lots of kid crafting, made banana bread, lego ships, listened to MJ, made our own coloring pages, made a vending machine out of strawberry cartons for use in a future tree house, and watched a movie. (Yes, I'm feeling a bit exhausted this Saturday morning.) I've been reminded of the great importance of playing outdoors a LOT every day; this has resulted in some nice evening walks and trips to the beach. Last night I saw the first ripening blackberries in my neighborhood.

Here are a few great links from the past week:

If you haven't already, be sure to visit this lovely blog. I only discovered it a month or so ago, and I feel like I've found a long-lost friend.

Chelsea has started a great Portland street style blog.

Public piano installation

One more rhubarb dessert
- our favorite yet (dessert recipe is at the end of the link).

Friday, June 26, 2009

bright and beautiful

at Canopy Blue

Yesterday was filled with sadness for me at the news of the deaths of Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson. It was hard to get my brain around it all as more news kept coming in and I was hearing and processing it. At the end of the day my sadness has resulted in a wave of nostalgia for my childhood. I remember admiring Farrah's hair; I remember huddling around a television with friends and being absolutely electrified by the moonwalk. I was in junior high at the time, and we all tried it. Of all the media I looked at yesterday, this piece about the moment that made Michael the King of Pop was the most compelling to me.

Have a good weekend.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

in my neighborhood

I'm not going to win any blog awards with a title like that, am I? Oh well it's all I could think of. I've been wanting to show you these bits of beauty I've been noticing on my running route this past week. The fireweed always makes me so homesick for Alaska. What's catching your eye at this moment in June? You fill in the blank: late June is tall grass, is fireweed, is....

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

happy days

(see the eagle?)

We've been enjoying long happy days at the beach.

The most profound, life changing thoughts I've encountered about music are found here.

Excerpt from Brian Eno's piece for NPR's This I Believe:

'I believe that singing is the key to long life, a good figure, a stable temperament, increased intelligence, new friends, super self-confidence, heightened sexual attractiveness and a better sense of humor. A recent long-term study conducted in Scandinavia sought to discover which activities related to a healthy and happy later life. Three stood out: camping, dancing and singing.'

Monday, June 22, 2009

father's day

I hope you all had a great Father's day! We made waffles with strawberries and whipped cream for breakfast, then went to the Fremont Street Fair. Followed by Abbott's last spring soccer game. Came home and made a strawberry pie...in retrospect, I guess you could say our day was pretty sugary.

Jean, our 15 year old houseguest from France arrived safely on Saturday. Cal, true to his nature, has been full of questions for him: "Jean, have you ever been on a locomotive?" "Jean, have you ever been surfing?"

The boys both made Alexi a book for Father's day; great treasures.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

for your weekend

What are you up to this weekend? We've got a 15-year-old houseguest from France arriving today, to stay with us for the next three weeks. He was here last summer and was a delight to have around. He's the grandson of the family Alexi lived with as an exchange student in high school.

A few great links for your weekend:

rhubarb soda and rhubarb cosmopolitans

the perfect last-minute Father's Day card

I'll be making oven-roasted vegetables along with Copper River salmon on Father's Day.

the world is getting smaller

Happy summer solstice!

Friday, June 19, 2009

this Father

This photo was taken almost seven years ago; it's a scene so familiar from that time. I remember so many nights (resulting in daytime naps like this), hour after hour, Alexi would patiently carry Abbott around on his forearm, facing him, and rock him and sing to him. After I'd nursed him and he still wouldn't sleep, we didn't know what else to do, and this often worked. I remember so well those early days of parenting, when we were trying to figure out what we were supposed to do. (Guess that pretty much describes what we're still doing, doesn't it?)

The boys rely on Alexi to love and calm them now, just as they did as infants. Recently I've watched as the boys have learned to play hockey - a sport Alexi loves and knows so much about. The 'coaching' he does comes in the form of patience, as he takes them skating again and again and again, and reminds them that it's about having fun, not about the competition..and I know he absolutely believes it.

Watching him become a Father has been the greatest inspiration to me in being the Mother that I want to be.

Happy Father's Day, Alexi! Thank you for all that you do; it means the world to us. And I wish all of you Fathers out there a very special Father's Day weekend full of love.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

making strawberry jam

Recently Erin had a post about making freezer jam with strawberries. It sounded straightforward and fun, so I went ahead and ordered a case of wide mouthed ball jars, bought 5 boxes of pectin and 10 pounds (!!) of sugar at my grocery store, and a canning funnel at my neighborhood hardware store. Today I saw local strawberries for the first time this season and bought two flats of them. The season for local strawberries always seems quite short here - maybe a week? - and so I thought, "now or never". Alexi gave me an incredulous look when I announced after dinner that I was about to start making jam. The process was really quite simple - clean, mash, add sugar, let rest. Add pectin/water mixture, stir, put in jars. Repeat. I don't know how in the world Erin managed to do it by herself in an hour and a half; it took us closer to two and a half hours with all four of us working, and the kids actually did help. Lots of stirring needs to be done, and those two extra sets of hands allowed me to continue chopping, and Alexi to man the jar station.

One quart of berries equals about one batch of jam. I used five and a half quarts all told for the five batches I made. Apparently the high quantity of sugar is necessary for the pectin to set properly. Some pectins require less sugar, but Erin said her mother didn't like the taste of the low-sugar version, and since I don't know anyone who has tried and liked it I stuck with the tried and true. The canning funnel was so great to have as it really would have been difficult to get the jam into the jar otherwise.

As we were working, Alexi remarked that the smell reminded him of making jam in the summer in his childhood. I hope that someday the smell of strawberry jam might also take Abbott and Cal back to a happy time in their childhood.

Recipe I used via Erin is here.