6.30.2010

Ah, to be a Kid Again



Blair at Wild and Precious had a couple posts last week containing some pictures of herself as a little girl, along with the reminder that we should do "childish" things every now and then.  Her examples:  watch cartoons, jump on a trampoline, etc.  Put off doing the adult things like cleaning the house to just play.

It's a good reminder, although I don't need it much.  Having a 1-year-old (tomorrow!) and a 3-year-old, I am constantly reminded of the joy of being a kid.  I get to hit balls in the yard, play on playgrounds, run through the sprinkler, eat popsicles, dance and sing, build towers....the list is endless truly.  I get to have a lot of fun now, but I do still have those adult things that must be done.

I thought it was a fun idea to post a couple of my favorite pictures of me as a little girl.  The picture above is pretty contemplative, but I love it.  I wish I knew what I was thinking about.  Look at the joy on my face below - life was all about having fun and not much else!

Discover the Cosmos!



When I was little, I wanted to be an astronomer.  Actually, I wanted to be an astronaut, but some things happened pretty early that convinced me that wasn't going to happen.  Namely, the Challenger explosion and my recognition of the fact that I have bad motion sickness.  However, that didn't stop me from loving the stars.

NASA has a cool site called Astronomy Picture of the Day, which is exactly what it sounds like. A cool picture of the sky, along with an astronomer's description.  Super cool to be able to look up at the gorgeous sky and give names to the stars and clouds and moons and planets.  Looking up at a night sky filled with stars still makes me feel like a little kid in awe of the universe.

6.29.2010

Menu of the Week

*Images from Martha Stewart and Cooking Light


Pasta with Grilled Vegetables and Goat Cheese - This is a great vegetarian option when you want to stay healthy, use fresh produce from your farmer's market, and yet still fire up the grill. 

Shrimp Kebabs with Lemon Wedges and Cilantro, Roasted Potatoes with Rosemary and Feta, Corn on the Cob - Yes, I made these kebabs two weeks in a row.  They're so easy.  And good.  And my husband wasn't home last weekend, so it was a first for him. 


Steak, Grilled Maple Sweet Potatoes, Asparagus, Tomato/Mozzarella/Basil Salad - My husband and I literally kept saying "yum", "oh my gosh this is good", "what a fabulous dinner"...  Not bad for a Saturday night at home.  I will also say that organic meat really does taste better.


Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Strawberry-Avocado Salsa, leftover potatoes from one of the above meals - I haven't made this one yet, but I've heard great things about this salsa. 


Dessert:  Mixed-berry yogurt popsicles.  The farmer's market is starting to explode now, so we have tons of fresh fruit, especially berries.

6.28.2010

Here is Where I Bounce Back



We had to cancel our trip this weekend.  My little boy came down with a bad fever early in the week, and I held out hope that it was just a cold that would pass in time for us to go.  However, it turned out to be a virus of the nasty variety, and I had to keep him at home all week.  Needless to say, I didn't get much work done.  My big boy got hit with the fever on Friday, thus resulting in a canceled trip. 

Now this is where I should say that I focused on all the positives.  The boys are otherwise healthy and will get over it quickly.  All these illnesses now means they will have tremendously strong immune systems so that when they start elementary school, they will rarely get sick.  Better now than in two weeks, when we're traveling down to North Carolina for my little sister's wedding.  All of that is true, of course.  I would hate to think about the boys carrying an ugly virus on a plane and then getting my niece and nephew sick as well. 



But I have to admit that I couldn't focus on that.  At least not at first.  I just cried.  I had so been looking forward to this weekend.  Seeing two of our best friends, who we typically only see twice a year.  Getting a break from work and home.  Playing in the pool, walking on the beach, enjoying drinks and kids and good conversation.  My husband has been traveling a lot for work lately, and as a result, home falls entirely on my shoulders.  I needed a break, and I didn't get it. 


So here's where I bounce back.  I wasn't able to do it on Friday, but I'll look back on the weekend and focus on the positives now.  We did manage to have a little fun.  Some highlights include: 
  • a picnic lunch at the community farm
  • trip to the big farm/playground
  • a family nap (I am fairly certain that has never happened before!)
  • great food on the grill
  • two pitchers of sangria
  • visit to the farmer's market, which is growing each week.  zucchini, summer squash, and raspberries filled my bag on saturday
  • more time in the sprinkler and pool
  • a new baseball tee for the big boy.  watching K show him how to hit was a lot of fun
Okay, I feel better now.  I have regrouped.  Now I can focus on getting caught up at work this week, and I'll look forward to the upcoming long weekend.  




All images via it's mary ruffle

6.25.2010

It's Good to Have Friends


...even when they don't have parents with a beach house.  But I must admit, it sure is nice when they do.  We'll be here for a lovely long weekend.

UPDATE:  This is where I should have been for a lovely long weekend.  See the following post for the reasons why that wasn't the case.  I'll leave this picture up to remind me of the beautiful ocean and good times with friends that will come again in the future. 

Broken Bells - The High Road


Today's music pick comes from Broken Bells.  Their self-titled CD came out in March.  Check it out, and have a fabulous weekend!

6.24.2010

This is the House


*Images from Apartment Therapy

This does it.  It captures the style I want almost perfectly.  It has New England charm and simplicity, it has great use of color, lots of books, and it looks like people actually live there.  What a great space.

(Okay, so I included all three pictures, but it's the same house, so I posted to the "What's your style in one picture challenge?" at From the Right Bank.) 



6.23.2010

The Virtual Choir


This is pretty amazing.  Composer/conductor Eric Whitacre created a virtual choir.  He asked singers to record themselves singing their respective parts, and he videotaped himself conducting.  He merged their voices and videos electronically, and the results are shown in the video above.  It's hauntingly beautiful. 

6.22.2010

Atonement


I watched Atonement again this weekend.  By myself, Saturday night, beer in hand....it seemed like a good choice, and it was.  I had seen it in the theater, but it was worth watching again.  I adored the book, and although the movie doesn't quite measure up - no movie can totally capture a book - it comes close.  It is exquisite.  The entire movie is gorgeous.  That green dress!  Stunning.  I am not sure anyone else could wear it the way Keira does.  Even though it is tragic, the beauty is what strikes me most.



*Images from various sources

6.21.2010

Five Senses Weekend


I was by myself with the boys this weekend, and although I was absolutely wiped at the end of each day, it was a really nice couple of days.  Hooray for Summer!

See
- Clear blue skies
- The little boy walk halfway across the room to me.  Wow he's getting big. 
- The abundance at the farmer's market.  Not so much as what we'll see in August of course, but the beautiful greens of peas and lettuce, red strawberries, and yellow wildflowers.  Not to mention the fresh seafood, bread, pasta...and the families enjoying the splendor.   I'm with Sara at Portland Sunshine - the farmer's market is my version of church. 

Hear
- The big boy squealing as he ran through the sprinkler
- The little boy "talking".  I so wonder what he's saying. 
- Big booms of thunder.  I adore summer thunderstorms.  A great way to cap off the glorious weekend.  The boys had just wrapped up another session in the little pool, we brought everything inside, and then the downpour began.  We sat on the front porch and watched the lightning, counting until the thunder came.  The really close ones resulted in two boys clinging to my legs, but they loved it.  The big boy kept waiting to see more. 

Taste
- My dad's macaroni salad
- Homemade popsicles (orange-mango this time...another winner, and can I say how nice it is not to feel guilty about giving the big boy a popsicle?)
- Sugar snap peas from the farmer's market - The big boy and I sat on the front porch and ate them raw.  One of my favorite parts of the weekend.
- Grilled shrimp skewers - super easy, and the cilantro gave it such a fresh taste. 
- My favorite tart.  Seriously, this is probably my all-time favorite dessert. 

Touch
- My boys soft skin as I slathered them with sunscreen
- Bare feet on grass, dirt, sidewalk, floor.....I didn't wear shoes all weekend. 
- Cool water on my feet while sitting in the hot sun

Smell
- Sunscreen.  It's no wonder this smell transports us to warm sunny days.
- Barbecue chicken on the grill
- Fresh flowers on the dining room table
- Not exactly sure how to describe it.....you know that smell after a summer thunderstorm? 



Cherries!

*Image from Martha Stewart

As you know, it's cherry season, and the big boy loves cherries.  The little boy is starting to love them, too.  What I don't love is having to pit them.  What a pain!  Enter this OXO Olive & Cherry Pitter.  I am truly not a gadget girl, but I think I must have this one.  Problem is, my birthday and Mother's Day are already behind us.  Hm.  I think I may just have to get it for myself.  I'll earn it by picking my own cherries at the farm and making a cherry something.  Here are a few recipes that have caught my eye:

Fresh Cherry Tart - I'm such a sucker for tarts
Cherry Lemonade - I have a big bag of lemons just waiting to be turned into lemonade.  Adding cherries would make it extra special, don't you think?
Cherry Pie - I've never made a cherry pie before.  Perhaps it's time to give it a try?
Seared Chicken Salad with Cherries and Goat Cheese Dressing - Yum. 

6.18.2010

Colin Ruffell


I am loving the paintings of artist Colin Ruffell.  The blue in the one above makes me happy.  The orange in the one below makes me feel calm.   One of these days, we are going to purchase some real art for our home.

Dad


I was walking through South Station last week, and I stopped to enjoy the sounds of a barbershop quartet.  I could only stay a minute, but that sound instantly made me think of my dad.  My dad has been gone for many years now, but there are certain things that always make me think of him.  I don't hear barbershop very often, but it's certainly something that brings him to mind.  He sang bass in a quartet for many years.  When I got home that night, I went through my photo albums to see if I had any pictures of him singing.  I was psyched to discover that I did have one - that's him above, second from the right.  I can even tell you the song they're singing in this photo - it's called "Hang on the Bell, Nelly".  One of my faves and probably the one I remember most clearly.  

I thought about my dad a lot that day.  I miss him.  He never got to meet my husband or my boys.  He would've loved them, and I think he would've gotten a kick out of seeing me as a mom.  

In honor of Father's Day, here are a couple other things that remind me of my dad...


Sunsets on Lake Ontario, where I spent most summers as a kid.  Here's a classic gorgeous lake sunset.



Buffalo Bills football.  When I was in college, I started talking on the phone with my dad most Sundays.  All Sundays in the Fall I'd hear the Bills game in the background.  

*Image from Sports Illustrated

This isn't associated with a particular memory - it's just one of my favorites...


Happy Father's Day!

Tift Merritt - Mixtape


The first single from Tift Merritt's newest CD, See You on the Moon.  Enjoy and have a fabulous weekend!
image via Lost Highway

6.17.2010

The Glass Castle - Jeannette Walls


I just finished The Glass Castle, by Jeannette Walls.  It took me about five days to read, which is fast for me considering I only read before bedtime.  I was riveted.  Not so much by extraordinary writing but by the characters.  I read in disbelief that this was truly someone's real childhood.  Someone who actually survived.  It's exasperating at times, because it's unbelievable that the parents could be as....I can't even think of a word to describe them.  Damaged.  Drunk.  Naive.  Immature.  Gifted but stupid all at the same time.  None of them capture it.  I'm not usually one for sad memoirs, but you can't help but be drawn in by this one.  Especially since the kids are so appealing.  You find yourself rooting for them, hoping that they escape.

Here's a review from the NY Times if you're interested in more.  The book has been out for years, so perhaps you've already read it.  If you haven't, add it to the list.

Kitchen Inspiration

*Photos from HouseBeautiful

The more I see simple white subway tiles, the more I think that's the way to go in our too-far-in-the-future kitchen.  I love color, but perhaps I can add pops of color in other ways, like getting one of those awesome standing mixers in a fun color like red.  I doubt my cabinets will ever look as put together as those above, although they are awfully pretty, aren't they?  But I could see owning some fun bowls or other dishes that I could put on display, and perhaps it'd be better to be flexible.  I love the crisp clean white, especially against dark countertops.  I also like the leg detail on the island, making it appear more like a piece of furniture.

6.16.2010

How Cute Are These?


I showed you the dress, and now here are the shoes.  Super cute, super high, and even super comfy.  Perhaps the gold will make my legs look tanner than they actually are?  Here's hoping...

6.14.2010

Menu of the Week

*Image from Cooking Light


Spinach and Ricotta-Stuffed Shells, salad, bread


Chicken, mashed potatoes, green beans


Sloppy Joes, salad (carrot sticks for the big boy)


Lemon Pepper Shrimp Scampi, roasted asparagus


Dessert:  On Saturday, we enjoyed the strawberry-almond tart.  Probably my favorite springtime dessert.  For the week, I made some of the best brownies ever, and a second batch of homemade ice pops.  This time - orange mango.  The big boy is loving the ice pops and even said he doesn't want any brownies.  Fine by me! 

6.11.2010

Are You Ready for Some Football?

*All images from here

Soccer, to us Americans of course.  Like most Americans, I don't watch a lot of soccer, but I very much enjoy watching the World Cup.  Similar to the Olympics and the Tour de France, the international competition is intoxicating.  I will of course root for the USA, although we're not a powerhouse.  I will cheer for South Africa, although they are not very good and may not even make it through the opening round.  How cool is it that the games are in Africa, though?  Love it.  Mostly, though, I'll be rooting for Spain, in honor of my Spanish brother-in-law.  The very cute Spaniards running around in little shorts are just a bonus.  They are very good and actually have a chance of winning the whole thing.

Will you watch?  Who will you root for?






Update:  In case you needed another reason to watch.....read (view) this:


The Black Keys - Tighten Up


The Black Keys are great.  Not sure what I think about the video, but at the very least it is interesting.  From their new album, Brothers.
image via celebrific

6.10.2010

Summer of Fun

As I've mentioned, I'm determined to maximize our family fun this summer.  Unfortunately, I still have to work, so we'll be having this fun primarily on the weekends.  We have a vacation week in July and a couple Fridays off as well.  Here's a little glimpse at the types of things I'm planning to make sure we all enjoy ourselves while the weather is warm.  Mostly small things that are super easy to do, and we've done quite a few already!
  • Go strawberry-picking
  • Make homemade ice pops
  • Ride bikes
  • Visit the local Farmer's Market
  • Blow bubbles
  • Go to the Public Garden and ride the swan boats and the carousel
  • Go puddle-stomping
  • Go to the beach
  • Make sangria
  • Celebrate the little boy's 1st birthday
99 Balloons - 5x5 Photographic Print
  • Get a treat from the ice cream truck
  • Ride an airplane
  • Paint pictures
  • Go cherry/peach-picking
  • Do a new puzzle
  • Discover new grill recipes
*Image from Martha Stewart
  • Visit Grandma's house
  • Fill up the kiddie pool
  • Take advantage of friends that have a pool
  • Visit the playground
  • Chase butterflies (or dragonflies, or bees!)
  • Have Grandma/Aunts visit our house
  • Go to a Red Sox game
  • Read books
  • Build a sand castle
  • Discover recipes for smoothies
  • Take a picnic
  • Go blueberry-picking
  • Pop popcorn
  • Take advantage of friends that have a beach house
  • Run through the sprinkler
*Image from here
  • Go see the animals at the farm
  • Make homemade lemonade
  • Make s'mores
  • Visit the cottages on Lake Ontario; Play with cousins
  • Take a walk to the Elm Bank

    The Poisonwood Bible

    a

    I finally read The Poisonwood Bible, by Barbara Kingsolver.  It's amazingly well-written, heart-wrenching, and eye-opening.  It transports you to the Congo, and it helps remind us of all the things in our lives that we take for granted.  Cars, refrigerators, ice cream, bug spray... Most people I know have already read - and loved - it, but if by chance you haven't, please put it on your must-read list.

    poisonwood bible cover by rgvinhim.
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