Monday, August 30, 2010

Monday Menu

Hooray! I'm back in menu-planning land. My stove and sink are finally installed again, and I can plan meals better now. Here's what I'm planning on cooking this week:

M-minestrone soup and rolls
W-spaghetti and meatballs (triple batch of meatballs for putting in the freezer and using in the future) with mixed vegetables
F-frozen pizza and salad

What are you making this week?

Friday, August 27, 2010

jarred summer

left to right:
peach pit jelly syrup, tomato soup,
canned peaches, white peach jam, and pluot jam

Mum and I have been working hard.
2 1/2 bushes of peaches, yellow and white,
1/2 bushel of pluotsk and 1 bushel of tomatoes
have all been reduced to splendid fragments
of summer-in-a-jar.

During long, dark winter days,
we'll savor the sweet and the salty,
remember warmth and bounty.

moments and milestones

[picking raspberries at Grandma and Grandpa's]

Upon seeing a mouse running through our house, I shrieked a little shriek. After finding out what my deal was, Little Man who has learned (and is now relearning as Brother is going through the shrieking stage) not to shriek, seriously instructed me: "Mama, don't scream at mouses."

When his Daddy came home, Little Man narrated very excitedly: "There's a mouse in the house and it scared us and mom screamed!"

Later in the evening he got out some Lincoln logs and began building what he designated as a house for the mouse

I am proud of Little Man's budding bargain hunting skills. We went yard saling last weekend and he got the following for $2: a duck figurine that he loved, a little nerf "shooter" (it kinda looks like a tiny cannon with two plastic missiles), a nice stick horse, a Little Man-sized wooden chair, and a book about ostriches.

Little Man enthusiastically to Brother: "You know what? God made you!"
Brother has been holding onto whatever is supporting him with just one hand and walking around. Sometimes he'll even let go and take a little step or two unsupported, but he still likes crawling the best.

Little Man finger painted for the first time this week.

[being silly with bows from Brother's birthday]

["helping" with the kitchen remodel]

Brother almost climbed onto the couch all by himself.

Brother drew his very first "picture" this week using colored pencils!

Brother has started standing up from the floor without any support.

Some friends gave us a big box of pluots (a cross between plums and apricots). The boys both love them, but Brother's affection for them is special. I think he would eat nothing but pluots if I let him. Anyway, one day he discovered the box, and we found him covered in pluot juice eagerly devouring pluots grasped in each fist.

[Daddy's arrival home from work is the highlight of their day.]

Thursday, August 26, 2010

mixed up but not crazy quilt

I introduced this quilt in this post, so I won't belabor the details again. Just let me say that I decided to make a wall hanging quilt entirely by hand. I started it (I think) over four years ago. Obviously, progress has been very slow. It seems like every summer, I have a spurt of productivity on it and determine to finish by fair time. And every summer my passion for hand sewing quickly fades.

This summer is different, though. I think I really will have it done in time to enter it in the fair. In the last few weeks, I have finished assembling the remaining squares, embellished them, sewn all the squares together, and tied it using fancy buttons. All I have left is the binding. I love how it is turning out. To say that I am excited about being so close to finishing it is an understatement!

Monday, August 23, 2010

button bobby pins

Inspired by the fellow farmer's market vendor who made these flower hairpins (she also made some with antique button on them), I embarked on a simple and fun project last week.

I looked through my collection of antique and vintage buttons and picked out some of the prettiest.

Then I gave them a good bath in warm water and mild soap. For some reason my great-grandma stored a tiny sample tin of moisturizing (greasy) hand salve with her buttons. It was in a cute little tin , but over time some of the contents leaked out and combined with dust to make an icky coating on the buttons.

Then I attached the buttons to bobby pins with a few stitches and secured them with super glue. And voila! I have an assortment pretty bobby pins for pinning back my bangs during the 25-50% of the time I don't like them. I love the vintage button pins. I thought about giving some of them away, but I'm not sure if I actually will...

Update: Please note that using the dab of super glue that I recommend will make your button and bobby pin inseparable friends for life. One commenter suggests using hot glue instead, which would probably yield more temporary results. I have an unreasonable aversion to hot glue, so I'd rather use super glue, but you might not, so there you have it. : )

Saturday, August 21, 2010

flowers from my guys

Little Man picked these pretty little yellow flowers for me while out with his Daddy. I was delighted when he proudly presented them to me and immediately found a tiny vase in which to put them.

Benjamin surprised me by delivering these beauties in the middle of his work day on our anniversary. I just love the deep yellow, coral, and orange in the oh-so-fragrant roses, and the yellow daisies are reminiscent of the very first bouquet Benjamin ever gave me.

Don't you think my flowers are a lovely addition to my piano-top decor?

Friday, August 20, 2010

moments and milestones

This week's moments and milestones post will highlight Brother's new haircut. I don't like the expense of getting a beautician to cut our little boys' hair, so I cut it myself. Usually I just give them buzz cuts with our clippers. However, much to my surprise and delight, part of the way through Brother's haircut, it actually looked a bit like a decent taper cut. I'm more than a little glad that not all of his beautiful hair is gone.

Brother had beautiful brown curls before his haircut.
I was so sad to cut them off, but he really was starting to look like a girl...

Trim, trim, trim.
Brother had dramatic mood swings during the haircut process.
First he was okay with it.
Then he was most definitely not okay and wanted Daddy to rescue him.
Finally he calmed down enough to eat a graham cracker
and actually smiled for the camera.

After his haircut.
What a big boy!

Thursday, August 19, 2010


Last night I had the privilege of photographing some of our friends' two darling children: a one-year old little boy and a three-year-old girlie. It just might have been the most fun photoshoot I've ever done. The parents were relaxed, and the evening's activities included paying with pets, swinging and sliding, finger painting, peach eating, flying up into the air, and being wild ponies. All the fun made for happy children, which in turn made for good photos. I had a very hard time narrowing it down, but the following shots are some of my favorites:


four years before today
i married my very best friend

four years of everydays has a way
of turning fireworks to glowing hearth-fire
comfortable, familiar, but certainly not stale

here's to many more priceless
hearth-fire days

(with some fireworks days thrown in for good measure)

Happy Anniversary, my Love!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Brother's birthday party

Last weekend was a weekend of parties. On Saturday we had my parents' twenty-fifth anniversary party, and on Sunday we celebrated Brother's birthday. I had hoped to be able to host it at our house and show off my newly-remodeled kitchen, but our kitchen is not finished. Instead, we celebrated in the pavilion of a park right down the street from us. The weather was beautiful: clear and sunny and warm (not hot) with barely noticeable wind.

For Brother's birthday party, I chose a simple train train motif that I freehanded and primary colors for the theme. His cake was a spice cake decorated with sugarpaste frosting and accents. (The cakes are important to talk about; I spent all day Friday working on the cakes for the two parties.) ; )
See those two dots pressed firmly into the middle of the cake? I had just finished decorating the cake and had my back turned for two seconds while cleaning up when Little Man made them and quick-as-a-wink stuck them on the cake. He was so proud of his addition to his brother's cake that I didn't have the heart to remove them.
Little Man's dots ended up being a happy-accident perfect place for the candle.
Little Man also helped make train decorated treat bags our the young guests. I was pretty proud of them. Inside each bag was a few pieces of candy, two homemade bean bags, a tiny tub of play-doh, a bouncy ball, and a sheet of stickers.
Brother was very excited about his brightly colored cake. He actually was more fascinated by the frosting than by the flame on the candle. He had a little help from Daddy blowing it out.
My boys don't seem to hesitate in the least when it comes to cake. Brother dug right in and quickly devoured his treat.
When it came time to open presents, Brother enjoyed being the center of attention so that he could make eye contact with and smile at all the guests. We finally got him a little bit interested in opening his gifts.
All the friends were eager to help.
Happy Birthday, Brother. We've had a fabulous first year with you and look forward more.

25 years

On the tenth of this month my parents (pictured above) celebrated their twenty-fifth wedding anniversary. Twenty-five years of marriage is something special, so I decided to organize a celebratory open house on the 14th in their honor.

I was thankful that we were able to use the kitchen and large, open area of the church my dad pastors for the party. It was a simple, though lovely event.

I made my first two-tiered cake for the party. It was a chocolate cake with sugarpaste frosting and ganache glaze ornamented with rose petals and chocolate hearts.

We used real silverware, glass plates and cups, and cloth napkins and table cloths.

The decorations were simply elegant red roses in white bud vases on each table.

I am so thankful for my parents and am glad I was able to honor them and their extra-special anniversary.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Yesterday Brother turned one. We had a lovely little party in a park just down the road from us, and I will write about it soon enough. Today, though, what I wanted to share is a photo-journey through Brother's first year. Each month I took photos of Brother on (or near) his month-birthday. What follows is one of the best photos from each month.

just a few days old

one month

two months

three months

four months

five months

six months

seven months

eight months

nine months

ten months

eleven months

first birthday