Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Scenes from a weekend with Nana

My grandparents bought this rocking chair at the War Eagle Mill Craft Fair when I was born. My mom rocked me in the chair for years and as soon as I told her I was pregnant with Gracie, she shipped it to me on a huge cargo truck hoping, knowing that I would rock my own child in it for years. 
It is a special chair and I still get a bit drowsy when I rock in it. 

A SF Jazz Ensemble concert in our town center with fog rolling over the hills

lots of snuggles

billy goats in Pescadero...more ollalieberry jam

and some birthday party fun at the gym. 

I love you mama.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Dream a Little Dream

Gracie had her first dream, or at least she remembered her first dream. I came in to see her as she was waking up from her nap and she asked "why are there two Christmas trees for you and William?"
She said there were two trees on the coffee table, we walked into the living room to see them, they were (obviously) not there and she said "did you take them down?" I explained that she had a dream and that the story was a pretend story in her imagination while she was sleeping. Isn't that fun? "I like my dream mama. There was a cow taking care of the trees. On our farm."
Keep dreaming my dear child. Keep dreaming.

Friday, June 25, 2010

One Hundred

This is my 100th post.

When I originally started this blog it was going to be a vehicle for getting photos to grandparents, organizing recipes, documenting this great life that we have and celebrating the everyday wonders in her life. What I didn't realize was how much I would LOVE creating, writing, photographing, and celebrating.
It has brought more joy to my life than I ever anticipated and I look forward to trying to capture that joy in words or in a photo everyday.

But the truth is...
I have a long list of drafts.
We have too many posts for days of the year.
Our lives are so full that it can't all fit in this small space.
And that....helps me count my blessings.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Summer Refresher :: Strawberry Aqua Fresca

We try not to drink very much juice especially with the news of lead in so many these days. Plus they are full of sugar. Why not just eat the fruit whole and drink a glass of water?

Well, sometimes it is nice to have a fruity (non-alcoholic) beverage when digits soar. While we were vacationing in Merida, Mexico we were offered a variety of aqua frescas every morning with breakfast instead of juice. More fiber, more nutrients, more flavor, more to smile about!

The strawberries are abundantly inexpensive at the farmers market these days so this makes a dent in the huge stash in the fridge. Next up: strawberry ice cream?

Strawberry Aqua Fresca:
2 cups water
juice of one lime
splash of agave nectar
one green basket of strawberries (pint?)
blend together until smooth and chill

**You can do this with any fruit. Cantaloupe, pineapple, watermelon remind me of vacation.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Ocean Love :: More Scenes from Father's Day

Love is the wind, the tide, the waves, the sunshine.

Belly Love

29 weeks.

We are really looking forward to the new arrival in September! My energy is starting to wain so we are crossing our t's and dotting our i's. Plus my Braxton Hicks are so strong that I was starting to get worried I would go into early labor and wouldn't have everything "ready." I really should know better. This isn't my first pregnancy! 

We picked up the baby's car seat and Gracie is getting so excited to sit next to the baby. We were lucky to find the same one as her's which was tricky as it is a previous year's model. 

A friend gave us her moses basket and we love practicing with baby dolls. We are also looking into a baby hammock so that we get more rest this time (ha, ha) 

We are picking up a package of Tushies disposable newborn diapers for the hospital and those first meconium filled poos as well as more California Baby Super Sensitive products (body wash, lotion) which we also take to the hospital. No offense but they use the yuckiest petroleum products in the nursery, and on newborns! I guess that is why Johnson and Johnson, P&G, etc give them free samples. 

My mom is visiting this weekend so we will probably sort and wash some newborn neutral clothes. Maybe just a few pink things just in case. FUN! FUN! 

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Flip Flop Family

We are a flip flop family!

Gracie is loving her new Sanuk flip flops (thanks Grammie!) especially on days when we all wear them. It reminds me so much of my dad as he wore flip flops all summer long (and even in the cold months with white socks none the less.) I must talk about him a lot and the fun things we did or lessons he taught me because the other day we were doing something fun and laughing and she asked me if "your dad taught you how to do this when you were a little girl." I don't even remember what we were doing it was so simple but if it made me smile then....yes honey, he probably did!

Monday, June 21, 2010

A Coffee Cup

that brought tears to his eyes!

After she made his wish come true, she made her own.

Happy Summer Solstice

Fried green tomatoes?

Summer has arrived!

Fried green tomatoes for those of us too impatient to let our tomatoes ripen:
slice green tomatoes
dredge in a combination of cornmeal and spices
tonight I used Rub with Love: African Peri Peri (thanks Auntie Beth!!!)
fry in evoo
eat on the porch with grilled chicken and corn on the cob
preferably followed by strawberry shortcake

A Dirty Dinner

We harvested onions today! I am not sure if they were ready because some of the bulbs are quite small but I was ready to have the cucumber bed cleared out. We are going to call if the "salad bed" because we are planting cucumbers along the edges to grow up the trellis, and lettuce underneath which hopefully will be cooler to prevent bolting. And tomatoes are of course nearby. 

It is getting quite hot to garden during the day so if we can't get there early in the morning we enjoy eating a picnic dinner there in the summer months. Gracie and I created a special dinner for tonight that we thought we could share with the birds...Worm Pasta.

She broke the whole wheat spaghetti into worm size pieces while I made a simple bolognese sauce (which does look quite bland and dirty except for the fresh basil sprinkled on top) and I am hoping the bite sized pieces are easier for her to eat on the go too.

We also took a lemon vinaigrette and picked fresh lettuce for a salad from our bolting lettuce bed. It is getting bitter so we need to pull it up and plant new seedlings which is so hard as it is so beautiful.

And for dessert? Strawberries!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Thank You Papa Bear

For being a terrific father.

For your love, your laughter and your commitment.

For showing me what type of man I will always deserve.

Happy Father's Day. You are loved beyond words.

A Fantastic Friday

For Picking Berries at Webb Ranch

And a special find hidden in the bushes

Happy Father's Day.....or Weekend Actually

YOU are the BEST!

We have a fun weekend planned to celebrate what a fun, loving, fantastic father you are.

On Friday we are going to go berry picking again but with a little girl this time.

On Saturday we are going to eat those berries on our pancakes, head to the beach and hopefully watch some surfers along the way.

On Sunday we are going to enjoy some good coffee, listen to some good music and have a great dinner.

And all weekend we will try to get you down the hill as much as possible. Of course you can change or veto any or all of this at any time. Of course when I asked Gracie what she wanted to do for Father's Day she said "let's go camping in Santa Barbara!"  I only wish we could get reservations. Next time honey.

I love you sweetheart!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Ten Things

I am enjoying right now. (Thank you Amanda Soule for the inspiration!)

1. Our garden harvest no matter how big or small

2. Exploring our creek and catching newts and macroinvertebrates

3. Getting ready for the baby

4. Cooking or doing dishes with hummingbirds and butterflies in our front yard

5. Potlucks, birthday parties, summer concerts and catching up with friends

6. The long days

7. The cool nights with windows open

8. Planning special family summer outings

9. The growing anticipation for September

10. Everything she does

MP Summer Concert Series

Here's the lineup for 2010

It takes place at Fremont Park, located at the intersection of University & Santa Cruz Avenues in Menlo Park.

6/23: Lavay Smith & Her Red Hot Skillet Lickers (40-50’s JAzz)*
6/30: Zoo Nation (U2 Tribute)
7/7: Pat Wilder & Serious Business (Blues)
7/14: The hitmen (70’s Funk)
7/21: Fito Reinosa (Cuban Salsa)
7/28: The Contenders (Classic Rock)
8/4: Tom Rigney (Cajun)
8/11: Sun Kings (Beatles Tribute)*

*These nights are block party nights

Let me know if you can join us for a picnic dinner. We'll get there at 5:30 or so.

Monday, June 14, 2010

And then there were....none!

That cute little gopher sure likes beets. They're gone. All of them. We have a few in the fridge that we picked before the devastation so I will roast those tonight. I had only picked a quarter of the bed so that we could prolong the gorgeous harvest. I should have picked all of them I guess. We walked into the garden to see all of the leaves wilted on the dirt and no sweet bulbs under them. They are tasty and he knows it. 

I am not sure if I have mentioned my favorite way to eat beets but it is roasted in the oven.  No peeling, no boiling, super simple. I just cut them into quarters and toss with olive oil and a little salt and pepper and roast them until they are tender. 

We'll plant more tomorrow.

Today's Fashion

Who knew pants make the best hats?

Graduation and Grilled Bruschetta

My cousin's son graduated from high school on Friday and is heading to Northeastern in Boston in the fall. I had mixed emotions as we are so proud of him but it is hard to think about him being so far away and missing things like our family's Thanksgiving traditions. He has grown so fast as he was the ring bearer in our wedding and I remember his kind words as he stood next to Ryan at the front of the chapel.
"Tears of joy I presume." It all goes by so fast doesn't it?

Here is one of the many fabulous treats we had at the party. You can prep everything in advance and just assemble at the last minute. Great for potlucks or picnics

Grilled Bruschetta:

Combine and let rest for at least one hour at room temp
6 diced tomatoes
1/2 cup chopped basil
white balsamic vinegar
1/2 red onion (or a sweeter variety)
1 clove garlic

Lightly grill one loaf of bread (sliced very thin) We are using TJ's whole grain loaf tonight

Scoop tomatoes and juice onto bread and serve.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Jamaica Sun Tea

My dad always had sun tea either brewing or chilling during the summer. Gracie wanted me to tell her a story about my dad teaching me to make sun tea when I was a little girl and then got really excited talking about how she would someday teach her kids and they would teach their kids and so on and so on. Family traditions come in all shapes and sizes I suppose. 

This batch was simply dried hibiscus flowers (1/2 cup for this large tea jar) and water and sunshine for a few hours. Then we chilled it in the fridge and just mix it with ice and agave nectar to make our own Jamaica, a traditional Mexican aqua fresca. My dad usually added mint so we will do that next time. Maybe from our garden. The butterfly garden is looking lovely as was this Tiger Swallowtail.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Millipede Love

Thursday, June 10, 2010

We got ourselves a whole gopher village...O Brother!!!

Here is our new little friend. He likes beet greens. Gracie likes him. O Brother!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

All in a day's work

WOW! What a day at the garden. We harvested our first 3 tomatoes (record time: Sun Sugar), the corn is taller than Gracie, the lettuce is beautiful and good for bartering with neighbors cherries, the beets are ready to be smothered in goat cheese, and the berries are mouth watering. Plus we made a new friend who you will meet tomorrow.

2 raspberries
20+ boysenberries
10 beets
baby spinach and kale
3 sun sugar tomatoes
2 raven zucchini
radishes (from under tomatoes)

6 fresno chilis
2 sugar baby watermelon
1 pepperoncini pepper
4 satsuki madori cucumbers

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Eight Years

Happy Anniversary My Love!

Weed Eater

Monday, June 7, 2010

I don't remember what those loud camping things are.

Gracie: I don't remember what those loud camping things are.
translation: We're having campanelle pasta tonight.

Five minute tomato sauce:
adapted from 101 cookbooks
saute evoo
28 oz crushed tomatoes
parmesan rind
lemon zest
toss with parma grana and fresh basil and "camping yell" pasta

B: What are you doing? Making a mess with my parmesan cheese?
G: No, I'm making a cake!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Zucchini Penne

After having a BIG lunch at Zuni Cafe with Grammie, we all needed something light for supper. This was quick and so tasty. It would be good for a summer picnic too. We'll have all of the ingredients fresh from the garden by then. Grace picked out the Ronde de Nice and Eight Ball Zucchini at the farmers market.

Zucchini Penne:

olive oil
8 small zucchini

cook 12 oz whole wheat penne or other pasta

place in serving bowl:
LOTS of chopped basil
5 large roma tomatoes diced
parma grana
pine nuts

toss with cooked zucchini and pasta and serve.

**While eating dinner Gracie asked Grammie how long she was staying. Then she said "I want you to stay the same size week as Grandpa"

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Living without

To be without some of the things you want is an indispensable part of happiness. -Bertrand Russell

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Well that stinks!

One of the downsides of living in a redwood rainforest is that the moisture makes a lot of things mildewy. As I was trying to wash out her bathing suits in preparation for the warm summer days ahead, and a pool BBQ party tonight, I smelled them to see if I got the mildew out from the stuffy drawer they have been in all winter.

Gracie: Are they still stinky mama?
Me: Yeah.
Gracie: Maybe because we're a stinky family.
Me: Yeah (while laughing)
Gracie: But we're a happy family!
Me: Yes we are honey.

**Ryan had a few sleepless nights during this last experimental run and even slept in the car a couple of hours one night before heading back into the lab. Needless to say he smelled.....stinky.....when he came home. Grace was the first to tell him so.

More Charlie's Soap Love

Yes, I LOVE Charlie's Soap. I already posted about their great laundry soap but I redid my cleaning products so that I have a light, medium and heavy cleaner readily available inside my kitchen sink cabinet( ready for spring cleaning). We bought three spray bottles and then I simply followed Charlie's dilutions for the appropriate ratios for the jobs I have around the house. Heavy is full strength, medium is 1:1, and light is 3:1. All of these are stronger than I need as I have used 10:1 and even 100:1 with great success but I will spray less and use a damp cloth to dilute more. I suggest buying the all purpose cleaner by the gallon. You will use it all but it will last forever. It is pretty much the only cleaning product we have now. 

*Full strength, it is a GREAT pre-laundry treatment. It gets everything out which is wonderful if you have a three year old!