Friday, July 30, 2010

Someone loves tomatoes

Our tomatoes are starting to yield a little bit of fruit around here. We planted three different varieties: cherry tomato, yellow pear tomato and an Early Girl, I think.
Gus called me over to the tomato plants the other day and said, "Mom, there's something that looks like a yellow egg plant growing!" Sure enough, our first yellow pear tomato was ready and Miss Louise was more than happy to be the recipient of our first yellow beauty.

I think that is chocolate ice cream on her face, by the way, her other favorite summer treat.
And you? What kind of tomatoes do you have planted chez toi this summer?

Monday, July 26, 2010

Birthday Sewing

For Louise's birthday this year, I really wanted to sew her a birthday dress and continue a tradition I began when she was one. A week before her birthday I found the perfect fabric and although I knew I had no time to be attempting such silliness, I decided to go ahead. The fabric was only found at faraway fabric stores or even a local store in NE Mpls... but that meant packing up three kids to a fabric store and hoping for the best. Instead, I found a terrific resource here in my own backyard, almost. An online fabric store called Cia's Palette is located just over a mile from here and... she delivered my fabric! I wanted to kiss her when she arrived at my door! Not only did she deliver it, she also consulted with me over the phone about which fabric would make the best contrasting fabric and mailed me some generous samples in the mail from which to compare.

I finished the dress after her birthday, but at least I finished it within a month of the date. Next year, my sister warned me, I had better get started after Christmas.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Geek Squad

Carl recently learned about the Geek Squad, Best Buy's computer tech guys who dress the part and live up to their name. He digs the way they drive geek-mobiles and dress up in ties to go to work. He also loves that he is the first kid to make his own Geek-Squad lego mini-fig. (Geek Squad: if you come across this post, drop the kid a line! He'd love it!)
These pictures encapsulate much of our daily existence: Legos and being outside. In fact, if I were to type a list of our top five summer activities, this is how it would look:
1. Go outside.
2. Play Legos.
3. Go on picnics.
4. Read together.
5. Hang out with the cousins, most likely doing the above activities.

Of course we do other things, like eat a lot of frozen treats, make stuff, ride bikes and draw, but really.... haven't we covered most of the basic tenets of childhood?And you? How are you passing these lovely summer days?

Friday, July 23, 2010

The Green Kingdom

I saw a picture of kids in green crowns on my friend Kerry's blog and asked her how she learned to make them. Her response, "Really? I just wrapped them and twisted 'til they looked right."

So we made crowns of green and pretented we lived in a green kingdom with Gus as King and Louise as Queen for the afternoon.

Next on the list? Dandilion crowns... but I think we're a little late in the season. Maybe purple coneflower tiaras?

Saturday, July 17, 2010

The Summer of Berries

We love berries around our house. We have three varieties from which the kids make their daily rounds of pre-breakfast sustenance. Many years ago we planted red and golden raspberries from cuttings from my parents' plants. Mysteriously one day some black raspberries popped up and appear to be on steroids. No matter how much I whack them back in the fall, they come back full force in the spring. It has been an amazing year for berries... the best crop we've seen around these parts. No, she did not get into my lipstick. This is 100% black raspberry slime. Do I need to start worrying now about her teenage years?
And you? How do your berries grow?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Using up the Veggies

My dear friend Stephanie came to visit last week with her boyfriend Rolf. They live in Angola (in SW Africa where they speak Portuguese) and she visits the midwest once a year. Minneapolis and Iowa are always her stopovers to see friends and family and we happily play hosts for as many days as she allows us. We had a lovely time hanging out... cooking, eating, drinking, playing with the kids, remembering old times, taking a cooking class at Cook's of Crocus Hill, going to the cabin and more. We had a few friends over for a last minute barbeque, or as Rolf calls it, "a brai." I think that is the S. African way of saying "amazing BBQ."
Ron and Rolf were in charge of all-things-grill and meat while Stef and I took over the crisper drawer and its overabundance of vegetables from several CSA shipments that hadn't been completely used up. Our goal was to use as many of those veggies as we could. I think we did pretty well: roasted vegetables with sundried tomato dip, refrigerator pickles with radishes and cucumbers and fresh dill, a Swedish beet salad with apples, onions, sour cream, a bit of lemon juice and s/p, and then a salad we had noticed at Whole Foods and tried to replicate with beet greens, swiss chard, shredded carrots, sesame oil and ginger. The steaks and chicken legs were amazing, but I found myself more impressed with the potatoes and onions individually wrapped and placed in the coals in the bottom of the wood-fired grill. I don't know if the men were more excited to eat it that night while it was fresh, or the next morning heated up for breakfast. Mmmm.

Monday, July 12, 2010

A bit of calm

We have had a wonderfully jam-packed summer so far. Camping, cabin, friends, hikes, swimming, reading, Chicago, house guests, cooking, playing in the garden... and so much more. As I sit down here at the computer (which is a million times faster than it has ever been, thanks to Rolf!) I realize now that I need to sit still for a few days.
This afternoon after our lovely guests left, the kids and I went over to Lake Nokomis and I let them lead. We just walked and discovered and named trees and looked at rocks and talked to dogs and swung from willow branches and learned how to use a pump on a water well and rolled in the grass and laughed and laughed. And that was that. No hurries or let's go or c'mon. I just followed their lead, carried their water bottles and snow peas and just let them be kids.
I think I shall be back here more often now. I have a back log of photos I'd like to share. Hope you didn't give up on me.
Go, run, take off your shoes and feel the grass and sand. We did. I shall sleep well.