Saturday, August 29, 2009

bittersweet

Yesterday the boys and I met up with a friend who lives in our old neighborhood (we moved a year and a half ago). I was surprised and saddened a bit to see that neither of them remembered the park where we spent hundreds of hours, or the coffee shop where we ate far too many cupcakes. When Cal was a newborn and I wasn't sleeping much, I'd eat one almost every afternoon - the sugar gave me a huge, albeit temporary, burst of energy.

I found this piece about the mother and daughter behind the Little House stories very interesting.

RIP Senator Ted Kennedy. I found the speeches by Teddy Jr. and our President at his funeral inspiring, leaving me thinking about how I can do better.

Friday, August 28, 2009

the end

This week included great times with family and an unexpected root canal. I'm slowly starting to catch up on the mundane aspects of life that are unavoidably essential...and ready for a nice quiet weekend. Think we'll have a family movie night tonight - E.T. maybe. You?

Thursday, August 27, 2009

for the belly

(from a recent Sunday brunch at Rover's)

Remember how much I love twitter? Case in point: on a recent afternoon, with corn on my hands and no particular plans for dinner, I saw this tweet from Jerry Traunfeld: "my corn soup from The Herbal Kitchen now on the menu. Cream the corn, blend, thin with corn stock, finish with a little butter. sweeeet." So that's what we had for dinner (and it was amazing!). Most of our recent meals have been simple and include some combination of bread, cheese, vegetables from our garden or the market, and fruit. I'm especially loving nectarines right now.

Have you seen that After 48 Years, Julia Child Has a Big Best Seller, Butter and All?

Several of you asked for the recipe for the
blueberry cake pictured in Monday's post; here it is (adapted from Gourmet):

* 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
* 1/4 cup milk
* 3 large eggs at room temperature
* 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 2 teaspoons finely grated fresh lemon zest
* 2 teaspoons baking powder
* 1 teaspoon vanilla
* 2 1/2 cups flour
* 4 cups blueberries

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 13- by 9- by 2-inch metal baking pan, then line bottom with wax/parchment paper and grease paper.

Melt butter in pan or microwave. Add milk and whisk with fork to combine.

Beat eggs, granulated sugar, and salt with an electric mixer on high speed until mixture is thick, pale, and forms a ribbon when beaters are lifted, about 5 minutes with a standing mixer or about 12 minutes with a handheld. Add zest, baking powder, and vanilla and mix on low speed until blended.

Add 1 1/4 cups flour and half of butter mixture and mix on low speed until blended. Mix in remaining butter and 1 1/4 cups flour in same manner. Increase speed to medium and beat 1 minute with a standing mixer or 2 minutes with a handheld, or until batter is thick and sticky. Add berries and carefully fold in with a rubber spatula until barely combined. Spoon batter into baking pan, gently smoothing top. Batter will BARELY cover bottom of pan.

Bake in middle of oven until springy to the touch and a tester inserted into center comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes. Cool completely in pan on a rack.


Happy eating!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

winding down


We said goodbye to my mother in law last night; always a sad thing to do. The house feels empty now. As much as I hate to say it, I'm beginning to feel a hint of fall in the air. The leaves outside my bedroom window are getting brown around the edges. We're wearing sweaters in the mornings and evenings. I have to stop myself from thinking, every time we do something, "I wonder if this is the last time we'll do this, this summer". I feel chest pain when I think of this little boy starting full day pre-kindergarten five days a week, exactly two weeks from today. I wonder, will the boys be this content next summer; will happy still be so simple?

I cannot avoid noticing how dramatically the light changes by the day.


Our garden continues to grow.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

with Grandma

Yesterday we went to the zoo with Grandma. You may remember we recently tried to see the debut of the snow leopard cubs but left because of the line; we stayed for a long, long time today watching them play. We walked and walked until Cal's legs hurt, so then we had ice cream. All in all a great day. I am so not ready for summer to end.

Monday, August 24, 2009

summer party, Cuban style

(fried plantains)

(plantains with crab caught that day)


A highlight of our weekend was attending a Cuban pig roast at the summer home of friends on Lopez Island; the third they'd had this summer. According to them, it's what Cubans do when they get together. The pig was brined for two days prior to cooking. The boys and I were a bit faint hearted at seeing the pig so we stuck to rice and beans; my mother in law and Alexi report that it was delicious.

Lots of people, laughing, music, eating, beach play...a good time.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

a favorite

We all love this pie; Cal had some on his birthday. (I found the recipe here if you're interested.)

We're spending time with Alexi's mother, and old friends, and out of town for a bit. Still feels like beautiful, endless summer here. Have a great weekend friends!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

sound

Yesterday it was hot here. Really, really hot. We found a bit of relief at the International Fountain. This particular fountain has a water 'show' at intervals that includes a 'cannon' of water shooting up, making a very loud noise. We haven't been to the fountain since last summer, yet Cal didn't want to go today for fear of the noise. It was only the unbearable heat that drove him to conquer his fear. Last summer I was completely unaware that the noise had upset him, though clearly it was somewhat traumatic. Something similar happened this past winter. At the first hockey practice, the scoreboard buzzer (unintentionally) repeatedly sounded long and loud blasts. At the time, Cal seemed unaffected, but subsequently he was terrified of going back to the ice rink. It was only with the installation of ear plugs that he was willing to get back on the ice (with much fear and trepidation). Abbott is also fairly sound sensitive; perhaps genetic? Makes me want to read up on it. At any rate, the water show didn't happen while we were there so no loud noise, and a great time was had by all.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

five years old


Today is the day Cal turns five.

Cal has been strong willed and fiercely independent, playful and silly since he came into this world. He has always had, shall we say, collector tendencies - filling his bed every night with every stuffed animal he owns, and many toys and books as well. Playing with balls has been a favorite activity since he could use his hands; now he's starting and loving his first season of soccer. He was born with an incredible ability to focus; with an intense interest in and understanding of how things work; with a strong spatial ability. Already I see him growing into a fine young man.

I love you so much, Cal, and always will. Happy birthday!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

down by the sea

On our recent trip to Cannon Beach, the sights at low tide impressed us. There were many similarities to our Seattle beach, yet many differences.

I had never seen an ochre starfish before.


Anemones everywhere.


Gooseneck barnacles are sensitive to changes in light. If you wave a hand over them and create a shadow, they retract. This is an evolutionary protection against predatory birds.


Puffins! The only other place I've ever seen them is around Whittier, Alaska.


Tidepool sculpin.

Monday, August 17, 2009

happy, happy


Last night we celebrated the birthdays of two very special boys; brothers, best friends, both born in August. We had a strawberry ice cream cake; Cal's favorite color is pink. Always has been, always will be I'm sure and who could argue with that? I, for one, never will.