Saturday, June 30, 2012

on the eve of July




Hi from the east coast.

We're too hot. We've been swimming, eating chilled soups and dining after the sun goes down, reconnecting with friends and family, catching lightning bugs in jars and loving it all.

I'll be back here at the end of next week. Best wishes to you on the eve of July.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Tuesday





We spent the evening with these two, with nearly everyone in the world they love there to cheer them on, aside from a few too far away to make it. Before we ate she said, this is what our wedding felt like. Now, we celebrate the upcoming arrival of their baby. And it's the best description I have of holy. Sharing a meal. The love for the baby girl; for us all. In another thirty of so years, perhaps we'll be together again, frailer versions of ourselves, celebrating the wedding of that baby.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

four years ago



One of my aunts is visiting - my favorite aunt, she'll tell you - but I'd never get away with publishing that one. I have family politics to consider.

We've been busy showing her some of our fair city. Here we are at Sitka & Spruce for lunch today.




Today is the fourth birthday of this blog. Four years! How can that be true?

Thanks so much for reading. It's been a great adventure.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Thursday



Summer hums along at its languid pace. Everyone is indolent. Even the usually-bustling grocery store clerks take their time, inhaling the scent of the strawberries at their unhurried pace.

Happy Thursday to you.

PS - My friend Joanna has a great series on Summer Essentials.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

what summer looks like so far













Home is a good place to be.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Monday



Abbott, last summer, on the swing at Alexi's childhood home.

Over the weekend another family dropped by, and we spent the better part of an afternoon on the beach walking (some of us running), overturning rocks, looking in tidepools and watching the geoducks squirt. The last leg of the way home, each of the dads had a boy on his shoulders. As I watched the two men sherpa their boys up the hill, I thought to myself that the scene in front of me sums up why we celebrate Father's Day.

We're all healthy, at last - thank you for your well wishes. Today was spent catching up after after a week of lost time. At Costco this morning I had the boys in tow for the first time in many months, and was talked into buying a book entitled, "1,000,000 Years of Weapons". Summer's here.

Happy Monday.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Friday



This is the view I see every day as I leave school. I love taking it in when it's sunny, raining, when the mountains are visible and when they aren't, when it's rich with autumnal colors and when the trees are bare. Today's the last time I'll see it until September.

Happy Father's Day to all you dads and dads-to-be out there. Enjoy your weekend.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

thoughts from a wise friend

A while back my friend Erin said she realized she feels out of sorts when a day goes by without making something. Baking bread, taking a picture, working on a sewing project; whatever. The creative act makes her feel steady, more like herself, or something along those lines. I thought the statement was brilliantly self-aware. Since then, I've paid attention to myself in that regard; I'm the same way. Amidst the busyness of every day those small and big acts of self-expression keep our sails full.

Happy Thursday.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

the rest of the story



Yesterday morning after taking the boys to school, I stopped at the grocery store and bought 10 ears of corn and a big bunch of basil. I shucked the corn, and cut it off the cob. The fourth grade end-of-the-year picnic was happening that evening. Fried chicken, pasta salad and dessert were covered, so I decided to bring a vegetable. Corn, specifically. Kids and corn are like fish and water, and my family loves this particular dish.





Then the phone rang. Abbott was in the school office, sick. I went and picked him up; needless to say, we didn't attend the picnic.

I had enough corn to feed an army - I'd doubled the recipe - and a houseful of people in varying stages of the stomach flu. I did go ahead and cook it; some of us will eat it, a little at a time over the next few days. So it goes, sometimes.




Confetti Corn
slightly adapted from Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics by Ina Garten

5 ears corn, shucked
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup chopped red onion
1 small orange bell pepper, 1/2-inch diced
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons julienned fresh basil, minced fresh chives, or other herbs of your choosing

To remove the kernels from the cob, stand one ear of corn vertically on a cutting board. Using a sawing motion, run a large knife between the cob and kernels. Repeat with the remaining ears of corn.

Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Add the onion and saute for 5 minutes, or until the onion is soft. Stir in the bell pepper and cook for 2 more minutes. Add the butter to the skillet. After it melts, add the corn, salt, and pepper. Cover the skillet, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook until the corn is tender, 5 to 10 minutes. Season to taste, gently stir in the basil or other herbs, and serve hot.

Yield: 6 servings

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Tuesday




What a week it's been. Three of us - one after another - have been under the weather in the worst way. I hope the fourth person in our household dodges the bullet. Yesterday when Cal was home, sleeping and reading in my bed he idly wondered if others have a bed as special as this one; said that he couldn't imagine one nicer. We must be really lucky to have it, said he. Whenever I remember my grandmother Louise, more often than not I also think of the swivel chair that was in her bedroom, and the back door with its sunbeam-shaped windows. I wonder what pieces of home they'll carry with them throughout their life.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

one Sunday evening in June





Friday, June 8, 2012

for all the years



This year I’m one of the room parents for Cal's first grade class. Everyone loves his teacher. Everyone. As Cal said on the way home from the end-of-the-year picnic earlier this week, "I wish Andrew could be my teacher for all the years.” I agree. As a gift from the class, I put together a basket of ingredients and food-related items for him, as he loves to cook. I included a batch of this granola.

I've written about Kim Boyce and her book here before. Another of my favorites is her maple pecan granola. There are at least as many granola recipes out there as there are boxes of cereal on the shelves at the supermarket, and I would venture to say I’d probably like them all. I like it every way - with seeds and nuts and dried fruits of all kinds - but this combination of chewy dried blueberries, toasted pecans, and shredded coconut is magic. It all gets snacked away very quickly around here; not much of it makes it to the breakfast table.

Kim explains that the idea of boiling down the syrup is to get an intense maple flavor without the granola becoming overly sweet. I’ve substituted some of the wheat bran called for and added flaxseed meal to the mix, as it is such a nutritional power house.

Your house will smell amazing for hours.

Maple Pecan Granola
slightly adapted from Good to the Grain by Kim Boyce

Dry Mix:

2 cups pecan halves
3 cups rolled oats (or any rolled flakes such as spelt, rye or barley)
2 cups natural unsweetened shredded coconut
¼ cup wheat bran
¼ cup flaxseed meal


Syrup:

1 cup maple syrup
2 ounces (1/2 stick) butter, cut into small pieces
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 cups dried blueberries

Heat your oven to 325 degrees. Spread the pecans onto a baking sheet and toast for 20 to 25 minutes, stirring halfway through, until light golden brown.

Butter two rimmed baking sheets or a large roasting pan.

Measure the oats, coconut, wheat bran, flaxseed meal, and toasted pecans into a large bowl and toss them together. Squeeze half the pecans to break some into small pieces.

To make the syrup, put the maple syrup into a small saucepan. Place it over medium high heat for 7-10 minutes to reduce the syrup to 3/4 cup. After measuring, pour the reduced syrup back into the pot and add the butter and salt. Swirl the syrup until the butter melts.

As soon as the syrup is done, immediately pour it over the oat mixture. Use a spatula to coat every last flake. Divide the granola between the prepared baking sheets, spreading it evenly.

Bake for 10 minutes. Remove the sheets from the oven and scrape the outer edges of the granola toward the center and the center out to the edges. Put the top sheet on the bottom rack and the bottom sheet on the top rack to ensure even baking. Repeat this two more times for a total of 30 minutes.

Allow the granola to cool thoroughly on the sheets; this allows clumps to form. Once the granola has cooled sprinkle in the dried blueberries.

Yield: about 8 cups

Thursday, June 7, 2012

I Know An Old Woman Who Swallowed A Fly



I am in love with Cal and his classmates' depictions of I Know An Old Woman Who Swallowed a Fly...I start humming every time I look at them. I found this brilliant video of Peter Seeger performing the song live in concert in 1963. The audience sings along in parts, and there are a few particularly terrific moments when the camera pans the crowd.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Wednesday






Hi.

Cal tells me he wants a dog for his birthday. He's been spending his free time doing image searches on the ipad, investigating different breeds of dogs. I don't know if I'm on board with the idea, yet. If I'll ever be. We'll see.

This morning I awoke to find Abbott in bed next to me, and as I watched him sleep I thought of The Daddy Book ('All daddies like to watch you sleep', or something to that effect). We love the book; it would make a great Father's Day gift for a father-to-be.

Speaking of Father's Day, I ordered The Splendid Table's Summertime Grilling Guide for Alexi; proceeds support Public Radio.

Happy Wednesday to you.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Monday morning











Tomorrow, the planet Venus will trek across the face of the sun. NASA has a nice website dedicated to the event, including a link to watch it via streaming video. Sometimes you get that advance warning when you won't experience something again, sometimes you don't.

It's a gray, wet day here; I've lit a candle thanks to my friend Stephanie mentioning doing it and it has eased the cold and the dark.

I hope your week is off to a fine start.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

things for which I'm full of gratitude and anticipation



Fourth grade field trip to a Buddhist monastery this past week - part of their study of world religions.

We’re down to the wire - two more weeks of school. I've spent considerable time and energy this past week plotting out our summer; reviewing and adjusting and making more plans. Making lists for our travels - what will we need to bring? Who will watch the cats? What appointments need to be rescheduled? Looking for a chess camp - a last minute request of Cal's. He who never wants to go to any camp, now asking for one. I suspect it has something to do with his being in first place in the school’s chess club tournament. There will be houseguests and swim lessons and camping. Homemade popsicles and iced coffee. Tomatoes! A wedding! Visiting friends. The promise of fireflies in those weeks on the other side of the rocky mountains. I look forward to being too hot, and wearing my sundresses once again. Sitting outside until the sun goes down, then sitting some more. Our lives, until September 5, when it will all come to a screeching halt and the fall rhythm will start all over again. I can hardly wait.