October 29, 2010

forget sugar overload

This year will be Bear's first Trick or Treat Halloween experience.

He's been announcing for quite a few weeks his plans to dress as a "Skateboarder Guy" on the big day,

so in preparation, I sewed him a trick or treat bag to go along with his helmet, tee shirt and skateboard that he dresses in on most days costume.

Within seconds he had brought that bag outside filled with nails and packed with a hammer!

 Wishing you all a Happy Halloween no matter how you choose to celebrate your weekend!

October 27, 2010

cayenne coated window

A few mornings ago I looked out my kitchen window 

(here, now you can look through the window too)

to see this


a bunch of little flying friends taking advantage of my sunflowers going to seed.  The same sunflowers that were hovering over the corn I was about to process in this post.  To see these birds,  I had to look beyond the rain speckling my view and the sprinkling of cayenne pepper on the screen to keep the squirrels out (wait, I didn’t tell you about the squirrel(s?) that came in the window last month?  Oh well, you’re too late).  

I had woken up in a bad mood.  Heck it had been a bad week.  I was not feeling the whole "look on the bright side" vibe, but there I was gazing out the cloudy window, seeing the most obvious analogy through to the other, clear side.

So I decided we should go apple harvesting.  I mean that would cheer anyone up, right?  Never mind the fact that just weeks ago I had been up to my armpits in apples!!!!

Off on our adventure to Scott Farm we went.  Have you ever seen “Cider House Rules”?  It was filmed there because yeah, it’s that stunningly GORGEOUS!!!  I climbed around among crates and crates of heirloom apples with the most beautiful textures, smells, names and tastes.  My mood was softening into something more manageable with every cidery wiff. 

(this doesn’t do justice to the 1.5 bushels of apples and 1/2 bushel of pears we came home with)

The apples we brought home were stunning.  Some were rippled and others had pink flesh


some were so tiny that I couldn’t even photograph them without them becoming blurry 

and some tasted like a sweet, tart glass of lemonade.  ALL of them were considered "seconds" by the farm although I struggled to find a blemish on any of them and felt almost guilty to pay a discounted rate.

We had (and still have) so many apples that I announced we would be having an apple fest that night.   

The menu:
steak with apple barbecue sauce
veggie burgers made with rice and apple chunks
quinoa with saut├ęd cranberries, pine nuts and apple
and for the finale...
apple pie made by Bear


He worked so hard on it and I tried just as hard to stand back and watch it happen only giving guidance here and there.  He mushed the dough up onto the sides and patted it over the apples.  He also probably ate about a cup of raw dough during the whole thing.  So be it though, because in the end...


I went to bed that night with a belly full of apples and a better balanced mind (also, a slight mess in the kitchen). 

I'm not about to tell you that every time I look out my cayenne coated window I look on the bright side, but for the time being, when I hear the chickadees chirping away on the sunflowers or smell the autumn apples in their basket, I try to remind myself that Life can only be what I make of it- sweet as apple pie or otherwise.

October 18, 2010

computer laundry day

Do you let your computer file get a bit "messy" just like we might allow laundry to pile up downstairs?  Yeah well, my picture files on my computer were a bit out of control.  At the end of each month, I typically post some videos for friends and family, burn those videos and my favorite pictures from the month on to a disk and then delete everything off of my computer.

I was 3 months behind in this process!

Can you even imagine how good it felt when I finally wrangled all my photos into submission this past weekend?!  I saved a few though to share with you.

Like this one: 

last month we bough a few bushels of corn from the farm stand, ate our weight in corn on the cob for dinner and then froze the rest.  There AIN"T NOTHIN' like the taste of fresh corn in the middle of winter!!!  To prep it, we add the corn cobs to boiling water, wait for the water to boil up again and then remove the cobs and rinse under cold water.  We shuck 'em when they are cool enough to touch and put in baggies for freezing.

When we were at the wedding, my parents sent us home with 

Mmmmm, Concord grapes from their grapevines!  I set about freezing some, eating some and juicing a bunch of them so that I could make jelly (the juicer comes in so very handy for extracting the grape juice goodness!).

You might remember that my family, especially my Dad, enjoy ourselves some grape jelly,

so I made enough to share (Dad, act surprised when you get this for a birthday gift in a few weeks).

Since during that week I was spending most of my time in the kitchen, I streamlined it a bit and came up with two quick tips along the way.  I'll share my brilliant thoughts with you.

First up, see that pour top on my olive oil?  That's new.  I finally wised up to the fact that I am constantly reaching under the sink for this oil or that vinegar and it takes time to unscrew each top.  I had those bartender spouts floating around, so I corked a few bottles with them and VOILA I cut my bottle opening time by like a whole 1/4 second.

Bear likes to draw.  The area under my sink tends to get sticky with oil residue (not any more with my handy dandy spouts though!) so I keep some of Bear's pictures under the sinkThey make me smile when I see them and I feel good about recycling the paper into another use.

I used all the free time I created for myself in the kitchen to upload and experiment with Photo Shop Elements 7 (PSE 7).  I still adore Picnik the best, but I spent a bit of time in Elements and came up with these:

How cleansing this post felt! I might just go do my real laundry now (oh wait, Champ did it this morning because he is awesome).

Well then, this laundry day is beginning to look better and better.  May your day be the same!

October 15, 2010

A two year old wannabe skateboarder

Meet Bear...

He really

little boy, big ramp

I mean really


likes to ride

at the skate park (I mean really).


He’s quite good at it, too.

feet first

I love that he enjoys skateboarding so much, but


I love even more


that he brings “Fancy Nancy”

Fancy nancy

to read during his breaks.

October 08, 2010

In a nutshell

Happy Columbus Day Weekend!  I saw this adorable idea for boats in this book.  

It was easy!  Just some walnuts,

 A boy willing to smash them and

some wax.  After that, we let creativity take over.

In fact, we just might set sail to the whole fleet in a bowl of water on the dining room table!

 I'm all for exploring new worlds, especially with my son.

Enjoy your weekend!!!


October 06, 2010

I hate scrapbooking…

or at least, I hate TO scrapbook.
I love to look at what others have done, I enjoy being presented with scrapbooked things, I even make a few pages for Bear’s GreatGrandparent’s each month, but- truth be told- 

I. personally. hate. to. scrapbook.

This became a bit of a problem when Bear was born.  Apparently ALL new Mamas keep delightful records of their children (or at least their first one); complete with clever sayings and appropriate rick rack and stickers.  My friends had gorgeous ones, but I was the rebel. The weirdo. The one without any picture collections of my baby.

I was pretty much destined to be a terrible Mama until…

My sister-in-law’s Mom created a gorgeous scrapbook for me to document Bear’s first year.  Such a smart smart gift!  Some pages were fully created, and some sheets were left blank for future moments.  It was perfect and served me well until Bear started to grow and there were memories I was supposed to be capturing, but wasn’t.


I figured out a loophole though.  You see, I already had been keeping  “yearbooks” since we moved to Vermont.   My yearbook idea is a photo album that I keep in our Great Room and into which I put any photos that carry significance for us.


Whenever one book gets full, I move on to another (so calling it a “yearbook” isn’t exactly accurate since sometimes I can get more than a year crammed into one).

The rules for photo entry are simple:
1) events must have happened in Vermont.  Occasionally I’ll slip in a singular picture of say, our beach trip or Bear being a Ring Bearer, but only for timeline help.
2) share the wealth- document lots of faces and good times.  Don’t focus too much on a singular event or person.
3) include notes about the who and when so that the yearbook will be a bit of chronological family history.
and now, with Bear in the picture, I’ve added a 4th rule:
4) document Bear’s life as much as ours, but don’t turn the yearbook into a babybook.


We have about 4 yearbooks in our possession.  I always keep our two most current ones in the Great Room and the rest put away, but within close enough reach to grab should an occasion of need arise.  These moments usually occur with friends or family gathered around the dinner table and someone asks “Remember when?”

Long story short: I have a first year scrapbook of Bear.  It is stunning.  I have travel scrapbooks (I use that term sooooo loosely) in which I’ve pasted vacation photos and  “stuff” from the trip (maps, brochures etc).  And I have an ongoing system to document life as Bear grows with us through it.

I even have a plan for the future thanks to a tip I read  in “Toadstools and Shooting Stars” by Sharon Lovejoy.  She suggests keeping a basket for photos.  Each month as you receive or print out photos, put them into the basket.  Allow visitors, family and children alike to explore the photos.  At the end of each month, sort through the pile of photos and pick out your favorite “keepers” (mine would go into the yearbook) and find new homes for, or recycle, the remaining ones.

Isn’t that a great idea?  And it would totally cut down on all the photo back stock that you and I both have!!!! 

Ok  folks, I’m still trying to figure out how to readjust my blogging.  Comments are closed, but only to make my life a bit easier, NOT because I don’t want to hear from you.  Contact me by e-mail whenever you want to chat or have a question.  :)
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