Thursday, May 28, 2009

Garden View

I spy something green.

And when I say "green", I mean the color, not the mentality or worldview. It's a strange world we live in when it becomes necessary to clarify such things, but what's a girl to do?

Here are my onions, all in their rows, posture perfect - for now.

My peppers. Fun fact about me: I could eat a jar of banana peppers in one sitting. My mouth just watered when I typed out "banana peppers", I kid you not.

Peas! They can hardly wait to latch on to the trellis Cory made for them.

Word on the lawn is that the green beans have sprouted and the strawberries are presently morphing from limelight to crimson. Stay tuned...

Friday fun: Check out Hooked on Houses and The Inspired Room for more pretty things to look at.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

My kittens.

Here's some of what the kids have been up to lately:

They both discovered a deep and abiding love for room-temp sauerkraut. They were like calves at the trough. You should have seen the floor...

I love seeing my cute pj babies reading with their daddy.

Another day, another painting project.

I emerged from the shower one morning to find two kids with nearly identical tummies. Lucky for all of us, Ruby is still young enough that I can admonish her and then turn right around and take a picture of the damage without her thinking anything about it.

I have a clear memory of wanting to use the juice can as a drinking glass when I was a little girl. Mom didn't let me. I decided right then and there that I would, one day, allow my children to drink right out of the can. I have absolutely no idea why I had such strong feelings about this, but I can now check it off my list. Just look at how happy he is! Seriously, try it.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


While Mom and I jet-setted off to Pennsylvania, Cory, Dad and Keisha were left to tend to riff and raff and generally fend for themselves.

From the way it looks, they put the kids right to work....

Also from the way it looks, Calvin never quite made it out of his pajamas.

(For any of you detail-oriented people out there, this is not our garden in the pictures, but my mom and dad's. My garden can only aspire to be half as lush one day...)

Pretty cute, huh? It's a good thing I took the crappy, broken camera to the wedding and left the Beast with Cory, otherwise we may have missed this. :)

My dad spent the better part of the weekend wearing his back brace and putting the final touches on the John Deere tractor he's been painstakingly restoring for the past 2 years.

It was very fun to witness its debut, in the Pleasant Hill Memorial Day parade. He was proud as a peacock.

And finally, a rare shot of the 3 of us kids - Keisha, Noal and myself. The older we get, the more I think we look alike.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Vickie's Wedding

My busy holiday weekend included a superquick trip to Pennsylvania to witness my dear cousin Vickie's wedding. The pressure was high, as the entire thing hinged upon my approval of her fiancee. Lucky for him, we share a very close-to-the-heart bond which bears the initials RL. Any guesses? Needless to say, Keith passed the test with flying colors.

Vic has been planning this day for months and I just knew it was going to be the loveliest. She has great taste and appreciates simplicity. I was so impressed with what she came up with. And now is as good a time as any to let you know that I was more or less camera-less the entire weekend. When I fully realized the situation at hand, I felt like weeping. Then, I felt like that might be overkill, so instead, I made a few bad faces to myself and did the best I could with our old camera that didn't work half the time and when it did "work", took very overexposed shots.

My cute mama was my travel companion. We flew on an airplane and shared a hotel room for 2 nights and had so many laughs. We watched a documentary on Bernie Madoff and ate Taco Bell in bed and read our books and laughed some more.

A little blurry and such, but this shot just speaks right to my heart. This is the best summary of Vickie. She's all house-wifey and picknicky and multitasky (she was on the phone) and downright pretty, with a shiny, vintagey diamond ring, to boot.

Here are some of the brilliant ideas Vickie came up with for her garden wedding:

I seriously want these all around my yard. Mason jars, tied with rafia, hanging from shepherd's hooks, filled with flowers. So heart-breakingly pretty. If only the camera had done them justice...

The tables in the tent were all decked out in red and blue. Red buckets stood in wait for BBQ chicken and rib bones. Carboard carriers for Redbridge gluten-free beer (Keith is on a gluten-free diet) held ribbon-wrapped napkins and silverwear.

More of those drop dead beautiful blooms. (Rumor has it she bought 30-odd dozen flowers (including roses for her bouquet) for about $70 at a local produce market.)

Here I am, with the Mastermind Bride herself. I swear, swear, swear, she is fully clothed in this picture. Blasted camera.

After the sweet ceremony (they wrote their own vows!) and the delicious food, Mother Nature cut loose with an insane storm. Torrential downpours and even hail. So exciting! And Vickie, in her post-ceremony '50's dress, took it all in stride.

It'll make for such a great story, down the road. Heck, it makes for such a great story now!

Vickie - it was an honor to be there for your wedding and to cut up your pineapple. I had a great time and I can't wait to get back out there. xxoo

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Smitten Kitchen's Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble

It's that time of year - the brief moment in time where strawberries and rhubarb are in all-out abundance. Granted, our home-grown strawberries are still a couple of weeks away, but the store-bought variety is cheap right now, and they really aren't half bad.

I'm always looking for a good strawberry rhubarb recipe to tackle, and this is one of my new favorites. I found it at Smitten Kitchen and it's simple and divine. (Hint: Lemon really does make almost everything better!)

We had ours warm with a scoop of Breyer's Vanilla Bean ice cream. Heavenly.

Strawberry-Rhubarb Crumble

Yields 6 to 8 servings.

For the topping:
1 1/3 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons Demerara sugar (or turbinado sugar aka Sugar in the Raw)
Zest of one lemon
1/4 pound (1 stick or 4 ounces) unsalted butter, melted

For the filling:
1 1/2 cups rhubarb, chopped into 1-inch pieces
1 quart strawberries plus a few extras, hulled, quartered
Juice of one lemon
1/2 cup sugar
3 to 4 tablespoons cornstarch (some commenters found the flour option a little too, well, floury so this has been updated)
Pinch of salt

1. Heat oven to 375°F. Prepare topping: In a mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, sugars and lemon zest and add the melted butter. Mix until small and large clumps form. Refrigerate until needed.

2. Prepare filling: Toss rhubarb, strawberries, lemon juice, sugar, cornstarch and a pinch of salt in a 9-inch deep-dish pie plate. (I used an oval dish this time, because they fit better in the bottom of a shopping bag.)

3. Remove topping from refrigerator and cover fruit thickly and evenly with topping. Place pie plate on a (foil-lined, if you really want to think ahead) baking sheet, and bake until crumble topping is golden brown in places and fruit is bubbling beneath, about 40 to 50 minutes.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

I Aim To Please


Thank you for being my most faithful male reader. I am rewarding your loyalty by granting your wish. Enjoy. And I'm sorry that I don't have any pics of #38.


May day

Yesterday was one of those pitch-perfect days. I worked for 4 hours in the morning, while my babies were living it up at one of their favorite places to be: Aunt Jamie's house.

On the way home from retrieving them, we stopped by a new second-hand store in town, New To You, where I discovered that I had a $22 credit. I found a few things for the kids, including one slightly too small basketball jersey for one obsessed little boy.

At home, I put Ruby down for her nap and Calvin and I went out and watered the flowers and the garden. I hung some more clothes on the line. We found a frog in the yard and Calvin could not be convinced to pick it up and carry it back to the pond, so I did. Calvin was so proud of me! His exact words, "Mommy, you're so brave of that frog! You saved the day! Daddy will not believe it!" (Sidenote: frogs are bumpy and squishy, all at the same time.)

After Ruby's nap, we all went in to the school, where we walked a couple of laps around the track with Nana, Linds, Jamie and the boys. Jamie, ever prepared, brought Ice Pops in a little cooler. Mine was purple. I even got to take a kid-less lap with Jamie, during which we kvetched about pediatric doctors of many different varieties.

Before dinner, we made one last trip (raise your hand if you believe that!) to Zimmerman's.

Ruby kept wandering off on her own. I think she may share her mommy's love for flowers.

I had no idea Cory was taking pictures while we were there, but it sure doesn't surprise me.

Two flats of flowers and plants later, we were headed home for dinner.

What can I say, I like a little noodles with my sauce.

After dinner, baths and bedtime, Cory and I spied a tiny row of what looked like blades of grass in one of the boxes. The tiny blades of grass appear to be exactly where we planted our carrot seeds. It seems a little premature to get too excited, but it is quite possible that something we planted is growing.

Lying in bed on clothesline-crisp sheets, I realized that it's only May. We still have 3 full months of Summer ahead of us.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Goods

First of all, you know you had a productive trip to the flea market when you arrive home and entirely forget about roughly half of your purchases.

When we finally made it home on Saturday I was so excited to get everything unloaded and photographed. I wanted one picture of everything together:

It's sort of hodge-podge, but the wind kept blowing everything over and it was freezing out! Even while I snapped, the background annoyed me, yet I couldn't muster the fortitude to move it all to a more picturesque location. All that mattered was that everything was present and accounted for.

Can you believe I bought a towel with a red stripe on it? Neither can I. Maybe it's the dawning of a new era. Or maybe I've been subliminally drawn into the Obama "Change!" campaign. Or maybe I just couldn't turn down an old, flour-sackey towel that had words and a blue stripe on it.

Terrible picture, cute chair! I'm thinking it will find its home somewhere in Ruby's room, although I've thought things like that before and been wrong. I'll keep you posted.

Holy Moley. I fell right in love with this thing. I actually found this the day before the flea market, at one of my favorite antiques stores in Tipp City, Ohio. It's pretty substantial - and it's galvanized! Bestill my heart.

Here's the bird's eye view. Can you imagine the possibilities for all of those little cubby holes?

Well, that's it! What do you think of my finds?

Wait a minute...I feel like something might be missing. I can't quite put my finger on it, but it's quite possible that I forgot something in the truck....

Ah, yes! Indeed, I forgot not one, not two, not three, but 4 items in the truck! Like I said, you know it's been a good day...

I think my most exciting purchase is that screen thing lurking in the back. I'll show you what I have planned for it very soon.

In summary, here's what I brought home:

8-paned window for my mother-in-law: $8
Green chair: $15
Old Beaker: $2
3 tin numbers: $3
Tea-Towel: $2
Wire "battery" shelf: $15
White metal stool: $18
Blue sap bucket: $10
White enamel basin: $1
White rusty bucket: $2
Metal screen: 15
Metal tool box: $22

Total: $113

I better start saving my pennies again - September will be here before I know it!

** Run over to Flea Market Style to see some more fantastic flea market finds!