Thursday, August 27, 2009

On the road...

I am headed west for about a week and a half with the babies to visit family.
I will try to check in, but no promises...there will be last minute sewing and 1st Birthday planning going on...so it may be September before I get back here.
If so, have a wonderful week!!!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Aren't these pretty?
I was at the farmer's market last week when I saw them. I knew right then that I had to have them. I would have fresh flowers on my table every week if I could. Flowers from the florist are far too expensive and my flower garden isn't large enough yet. So that is normally a no go...but these were locally grown and an awesome price. They were mine.
Fresh flowers make me incredibly happy...I walk by and I smile, every single time. When we had our last house on the market I had bouquets of flowers in almost every room and I switched them out regularly. Tulips, roses, daisies...I like to think that is what helped sell the house in less than 30 days...and the chocolate chip cookies I baked before each showing. ;)
I have also been sewing Evelyn's birthday presents. She will be 1 year old on the 31st! How is that possible? I will share pictures of what I have been working on after her party. I hope to get some candid shots of her playing with them. I have had fun picking out the fabrics and there has been a lot of hand sewing which is my favorite method...I find it relaxing, does anyone else out there or am I the crazy one?
I am starting to feel like it is Fall. Maybe it's the fact that school has started in our area, but also even though it has gotten hot again, there is a Fall like quality to the air. I can't explain what that means really. I just feel it in my body...Summer is on it's way out. I have the urge to pull out my sweaters, make soups, and take up some knitting. I find it interesting how I shift domestically depending on the season. But, then maybe these are patterns that are ingrained in each of us to some degree. Maybe it's just part of being human. Whatever it is, and maybe it's just me, I love this time of year...bring on the golden leaves and apples, I'm ready.

Friday, August 21, 2009

I gave it a whirl...

A few weeks ago I mentioned that I made fettuccine noodles from scratch and here is the proof. I have had a pasta roller/cutter for my Kitchen Aid for a couple of years now, but I had never pulled it out and gave it a whirl...I was in the mood and went for it. It was your typical pasta dough recipe I suppose...flour, eggs...mix, mix, mix...add the tiniest bits of water at a time if too dry until desired consistency is reached.
That statement always makes me scratch my head. Having never made pasta before, I did not posses the knowledge of the consistency to be desired. So it's times like that when I have learned to just wing it and hope I can figure it out.
I played with the dough, ran it through the roller several times and parts of it kept falling apart. I separated it into smaller pieces and kept trying adding little drops of water...hoping. I was able to get about half of the dough to work and honestly, I my motivation petered out and I gave up on the other half. Oh well.
The cutting and throwing into the salted, boiling water was my favorite part and they came out beautifully!

Look at that! And please note the little Elijah fingers in the picture...
David liked the noddles, he said he couldn't tell that they were any different from something that one would buy. He meant it as a compliment, because at least they weren't totally inedible. However, if making pasta from scratch does not elevate the noodle to whole higher plain in flavor and texture then why bother? It was cheaper, yes, but the effort involved negates that point I think. I don't know, maybe I'll pull the machine out again in a few months. Maybe homemade spaghetti noddles are the absolute bee's knees. But, then again, maybe I have enough other things to do... :)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Corners of my home...

I wanted to show a few more pictures of what we have been doing to the house. This is another view of the living room opposite from the bookshelves that I shared a few weeks ago. We made it an accent wall by painting it a warm chocolate/espresso color. The rest of the living room is the warm mocha color. With both together, the room is so warm and cozy. I am very happy with how it all turned out. I have changed the mantel a bit since I took this picture. One of the things I got last week while trolling junk shops was a cream colored rectangular vase. It is the perfect shape to fit on the mantel and I can change what I fill it with depending on the season. In the fall it could be leaves, at Christmas multi-colored ornaments, etc. I will try to post a picture of it at some point.
This is a view of the top of the bookshelf in the kid's room. I had been searching for a little while for old wooden blocks to spell out their names with. In May, I went to the county fair grounds with my Mom and Step-Dad to a large antique market and that is where I found them. The green pig is Elijah's bank that David painted for him when I was pregnant. The White clown is the nightlight that I turn on when I put the kids to bed. It's vintage and was given to us, by my step-dad who has a clown collection. The other things are just little bits of this and that. Classical CDs that I play to carry them into asleep, an English tea set from when I was little, a sliver cup, a vintage bath ducky, an orange picture clip holding a quote from Desiderata and so on. The blue bird was painted by my great-aunt Marie. I met her once or twice when I was very young. I plan on giving it to Evelyn, since she is "Little Bird" to me.

This incredibly blurry picture shows off their little kitchen area. I love how it turned out. I always wanted a play kitchen when I was small, so I made it happen for my babies. It's a Melissa and Doug kitchen (I love their stuff). I found an old window at a junk shop that I scraped and re-painted and the curtains I sewed from a vintage sheet. Then I filled the cupboards with the play dishes from my childhood and the Melissa and Doug food that my Brother and Sister-in-Law gave Elijah for his birthday. Both he and Evelyn have a lot of fun making a mess of it. I have a lot of fun helping them. :)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Summertime and the living was easy...

I have been thinking a lot lately about Summers when I was a kid. They were long hot stretches of time filled with camping, playing in the park, fishing, bike riding and laying in front of fans. Starting in the early morning hours of each day, the house would be buttoned up tight. All curtains and shutters would be closed to the hot Eastern Oregon sun and all box and rotating fans would be placed on high trying to keep as much nighttime coolness in the house for as long as possible. I remember sweating while inside, but I have no memories of being all that uncomfortable while playing outside. My brother Craig and I were building forts or cities for our match box cars so we obviously had other things to think about rather then how hot it was.
Every evening my dad would play out the same ritual. He would periodically go outside to check the temperature. We didn't have a thermometer, he went purely by the feel of the evening air on his skin to test whether or not it was cooler outside than inside the house. If he deemed it to be so, we would run around the house throwing open all windows to get that cooler air moving through the house. I can remember going to bed some nights with it still feeling so hot that I couldn't even stand to sleep with a sheet over me and I have always hated not having at least something covering me, even if it is only a thin sheet. To me that's just as bad as wearing socks to bed, I just don't like it.
At the start of Summer, Craig and I would go out to the metal shed and retrieve a fan or two for our own use. We would wipe them down and turn them on to test them. Sometimes the fan would not work. The motor would hum as if trying to move the blades but nothing would happen. If it didn't pass muster then it was off to the trash. You can see one of the fans in the above picture. I hated that bikini by the way, I was always so embarrassed to wear it. I didn't like how it showed off my tummy. I am amazed that I allowed a picture to be taken of me.

Camping was what we did as a family for vacations. I have vivid memories of camping under the stars, using a black solar shower hanging from a tree that never got the water hot, trekking through the woods finding ant hills and chunks of mica. I can still remember the smell of the old green tent. It had a pleasant mustiness mixed with the pine smell of the trees it was pitched under. I can still feel the scratchiness of the old green lawn chairs. The webbing would poke and prick me as I sat in them and they would open and close with a hollow metallic clank the still resounds in my ears.
My parents were truly the gourmets of camping cooking. There were no hot dogs and chips on our menus. They were of the mindset that anything you could make at home could be made camping and they pulled it off. With a Coleman grill and oven we ate like kings. I can still remember church camp outs where all of the other kids would be done eating and we would still be waiting for the corn bread or the pineapple upside down cake to be finished. The wait was always worth it even though we were itching to get back to our friends and whatever game we had been playing. I remember The Minister's Cat was all the rage one Summer on the banks of the North Fork of the Salmon River in Idaho. We would circle around the campfire and gleefully go through the entire alphabet trying to come up with qualifying words quickly. What fun we had. There is a delightful rendition of this game in the movie musical Scrooge.
Which is the best version, hands down, ever of that story. Anyway, I digress...
I can only hope that my own babies will have such fond memories of their Summers. Church Camp, which always terrified me, I even would cry on the bus (yes, I was one of those kids), but, once I got there I loved it. Miracle Heights Camp in McCall (I think), Idaho...such fun. Summers were also for laying about reading. I would lay on my bed for hours and hours demolishing a stack of books and then I would read late into the wee hours of the morning. Little Women, The Scarlett Pimpernel, The Song of Ruth...so many good ones. Oh, I hope to instill a love of reading in my kids. If that's all we did for three months, but lay around and read with brief stints of camping, running, and play in between then I would be in heaven...but, that's just me.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

A little vacation...

Oh my...
I hadn't intended to be gone so long. I haven't turned on the computer in just about a week. No Facebook, no e-mail, no blogging...it was a nice rest.
My sweet husband had to travel for work and he happened to be going to where his parents live. He took the babies last Tuesday and did not get home until Saturday evening.
As much as I missed them (and boy did I miss them, I don't like sleeping alone in a house anymore), I was a busy, busy bee.
I slept in.
I sewed.
I cleaned. the. entire. house.
I painted a step stool and a plant stand both a crisp white.
I made food only I would eat (tofu, summer squash, lentils, beets...the former vegetarian in me re-emerged).
I went to a movie (Julie and Julia...brilliant, absolutely brilliant).
I weeded the flower beds.
I went to an estate sale and a few resale shops (Cashmere sweaters, linen pants, and a first printing of Ben Hur oh my!).
And I didn't take a picture of any of it...not one!
I had a lovely time, but as soon as I heard the garage door yesterday I ran as fast as I could to open that door, scoop up my babies and kiss my sweetie.
I am rested and relaxed, but so much happier not to have to sleep in an empty house anymore. Plus, now I can get kisses from anyone, anytime I want...I can't get that in an empty house!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Now under glass...

OK, so these pictures aren't the greatest...hopefully you can see what I am gushing about. This is definitely a small thing, but, really aren't the small things in life sometimes the biggest?
While at Ikea last weekend, I finally got a covered cake stand. I have been wanting one for awhile and I just haven't seen them around very often. So when I saw one (one of only two left on the display mind you) I snatched it up. I just love the look and the homeyness that it imparts...
I love the idea of having yummy baked goods tucked in there for my sweet ones to nibble on...and me, of course, who am I kidding? I love a yummy baked morsel any day of the week I tell you. That up there is banana bread by the way. I am happy to report that in the days that it has been nestled under glass the bread has remained moist and well...yummy. My super picky two year old even scarfs it down...an August miracle! So if I have to bake often to get fruit and fiber into my little boy I will... ;) We'll just forget about the sugar and the fact that I really like it too. Plus, I can't tell the difference when I sneak in whole grain bread flour and flax meal and it doesn't seem like he does either. So there's some goodness in there too, I promise. :)

Thursday, August 6, 2009

A "surprise" party...

On Sunday Elijah somehow got the idea into his head that he needed to have a party. I asked him what the party was for and his reply was..."I want to blow the fire." Which translates into blowing out candles. After pondering awhile, I said "OK, let's do it!" After all he refused to do anything for his second birthday back in February...here was my opportunity.

He and I went in search of a party. He kept asking if we were looking for his party and I would reply every time...yes! We got a little cake and a balloon. He could hardly contain his excitement. When we got home I put two candles on the cake...and you can see the rest in the video below...

video

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

At my machine...

I have been doing a bit more sewing as I can. I do so enjoy getting a project or two done in a timely manner. So often I get called away from whatever I was working on and then it sits or gets put away unfinished to molder for months. Recently when I pulled out the machine to make the two pairs of shorts for Elijah, I decided to cut out and make a couple of things for myself and maybe something for Evelyn. I was able to stick with it and a week later I had much to show for it.
I have seen this pattern floating around blogland for a year or so and really like it. I was able to sew up two versions of this top (I will have to post the other at a later date...in laundry). It's Simplicity 3835. It came together fast and I was afraid that it would be too big. While sewing it, it just looked so massive, but when I tried it on I was very pleased. The way the fabric drapes is perfect, so what seemed like a lot of fabric while sewing makes more sense when on the body.
These are some little pants that I made up for Evelyn. They are actually the same short pattern that I used for Elijah, I just made the elastic at the waist tighter for her. I foresee getting to tweak them back into shorts as she gets older...something that can grow with her...hopefully. It was hard to get a good shot of her while wearing them. She is all about moving and standing...she is a busy little person all day long.
I believe that the print is an Alexander Henry available at Joann's Fabric stores. I love it and she is super cute wearing it. Because the pants are actually shorts they are really wide legged which I find to be adorable on her little body.

I have more sewing in the pipeline and some embroidery, which I am really enjoying. I haven't done that in several years and it is so nice to get back to.
Well, my new issue of Martha Stewart came today, time to pop in a DVD for the babies so I can flip through it...squee!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Summer Baking...

I had a double cheeseburger and large cheese fries for lunch today. Yes, it was one of those days. To be completely honest, Elijah ate some too, but he didn't pull his weight and I ended up eating most of it. I swore that I wasn't going to eat dinner tonight and I really wasn't hungry until about six p.m. After all how could I be with a solid brick of grease lodged in my gut? Food like that is my siren song and I only end up crashing on the rocks a short time after stuffing it into my mouth faster than you can say "10,000 calories!"

This afternoon I did note the ripe blueberries and strawberries moldering in my fridge and I thought to myself "I'll eat some of those...that would be good and would counter some of that grease from earlier." Then inspiration struck while trolling through Alicia's blog. Clafoutis! Brilliant! Low in calories? Nope...but, it became my evening's obsession.

It's several fruit servings...right?

And although it made the kitchen as hot as hec, it smelled heavenly as it baked away at 375 degrees.
So this is what I had for dinner. ..A slice of this with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkle of turbinado sugar...
It is berries kissed all around by a rich eggy custard...beautiful!
I completely shot my wad of calories for the next few days on my two meals today. But, at least after dinner I didn't feel sick...I felt like a genius!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Weekending...




Ikea
Trader Joes
homemade fettuccine noodles
naps
playing
Wall-E
an impromptu party for Elijah (more on that later)


a good time was had by all!