July 31, 2012


boys in hats, westford ma / july 29, 2012

This is a cute picture... until I mention that it was taken exactly point one seconds before Little Smith threw up... everywhere. Poor guy, after a Sunday filled with adventures (where I could tell he was slightly off his game), we rolled into the parking lot of a giant ice-cream/ miniature golf extravaganza ready for some big fun and instead he finally let us know just how he was feeling... not so good!

We are still battling the tail end of this stomach bug and I'm starting to worry my great eater and veggie lover may turn into a food pusher for a while. Having a child who is on the small side has lots of ups (adorable, saves my back...) but every time he loses an ounce I do start worrying. He seems a bit better this morning though, here's hoping for a better day and maybe even a vegetable!

July 30, 2012

Summer Garden

broccoli late poppies flower torture dill head helping cabbage in mid july cabbage in late july thinning carrots on a mission

This summer has been a lucky one for our little garden. At the risk of tooting our own cornucopia, we've been enjoying tons of greens, chard and kale, radishes, peas, onions, cucumbers, squash, broccoli, carrots, cabbage... and we are just now starting to have ripe tomatoes, giant sunflowers, and the beginnings of brussel sprouts and winter squash. After last year's modest show this is pretty exciting stuff! The one failure was our beets which I once again attempted to interplant with broccoli. I guess I don't space the broccoli rows far enough but they became too large and swallowed up the marble sized mini-beets. 

Little Smith loves the garden plot and we try to go early or late in the day so he isn't roasting in the sun. We planted tall sunflowers around his little sandbox (which is actually a wood-chip box because we were worried about animals with the sand) and they are finally providing a bit of shade. I imagined that he would happily sit digging in his little box but instead he rules the whole plot... marching around and pulling peas or carrots to eat like a giant open buffet. He definitely has eaten his pound of dirt this year!

I feel like I'm pressing my luck asking for more with all these garden riches, but the one thing that will make be super duper happy is some winter squash. Each year we look like we're going to get a great batch and then we get some kind of dry white fungus that sweeps everything away before it can really produce. We already have some pretty good sized butternut squash so I'm crossing everything I can that this is our year. Come on squash, you can do it!

July 27, 2012

Details A7.02

love itty-bitty croissant brunch treats purple live music mom's wisteria rainbows

A few moments from last week-end in my home town. Now that Little Smith has fully weaned, his relationship with his papa is truly blooming. They were always wonderfully close, but there is something special going on these days. It's so sweet, and also kind of a relief after months filled with 'mama, mama, mama', a sound that I love but that can also be exhausting.

This week was very mellow which is just perfect thank you! The high point was Little Smith sleeping in until 7:30 each day and waking up with such happiness and delight. The low point was spending one of the most beautiful (sunny and cool) days shuffling between furniture shops to figure out what we're doing for our new couch. Actually realizing that I had no diapers packed as I attempted to change a disastrous one on the floor of the Ikea handicapped bathroom was the real low point. Hurray for dish towels. We did decide on a couch though and it arrives Tuesday! That's record time for two indecisive people.

This week-end I'm hoping for a good bike ride (although rain is predicted), a good barbecue, and lots of baking that I've been slacking on lately. Enjoy!

July 26, 2012


More memories from my own childhood. Our recent pictures of blueberry picking reminded me of this series of little me picking raspberries. My father took these photos in the garden that my mother planted at my aunt's farm. Great memories... except I don't actually remember anything about that time at all. I look back at the photographs of the gorgeous lush garden and listen to the stories of long days spent making mud pies and the disaster of my eating a red hot pepper, but I don't have my own memories of any of it.

I don't know how old I am here (because I know nothing about children older than my own), maybe two, three, four? I have read that children start forming memories around three and as much as I know that the work I am doing now with Little Smith will lead to a healthy kid, it's kind of sad that he won't remember any of our daily adventures. Of course he will have the photos (boy will he have photos!), but I do have the illogical wish that he could hold onto this time.

Last year I kept waiting for him to learn to sit and eat and crawl and walk... and then suddenly he wasn't a baby anymore and I panicked and wanted it all to slow down. The last few months I've been very good about appreciating the moment and stage that we're in, not pushing forward and also not pining for the past. I won't know when he starts to form memories so it isn't something that I can even chart, I just have to let it happen naturally. I get all of that, but I still occasionally have the crazy thought that I'm doing all this work and the kid won't even remember it! Then I come back to my senses.

These are fun and exhausting times for our little family and someday we will remind Little Smith of our garden this summer, berry picking, millions of temper tantrums and giggles... and he won't remember a thing (and probably won't care!). I know Big Smith and I will enjoy these memories, and I have to admit that I am eagerly waiting for the day that Little Smith can hold on to a few too.

July 25, 2012

Sweet Cucumber Pickles

We were away for a couple of days and when we got home I found our pickling cucumbers had gotten a little on the bloated side- I think they were just left on the vine too long. Luckily I've made pickles with these 'pregnant' cukes in the past and they are still super yummy, especially this sweet variety. You can use any cucumber but smaller varieties with fewer seeds work best. I like to add a dried hot pepper for some extra spice, fresh peppers also are great for some heat.

I talked a bit about canning here, but basically you need a big pot with enough water to submerge your jars. It isn't difficult but it does make the kitchen very warm and obviously is a little more challenging with a toddler around. I find canning pickles and jellies very relaxing, but then again I used to check out books on the topic in college and just daydream about cupboards lined with jars. Yeah, I was really wild in college!

Sweet Pickles: makes 4.5 pints / adapted from 'The Joy of Pickles' by Linda Ziedrich (a wonderful book!)
  • about 3lbs pickling cucumbers, ends discarded and cut into 3/16" slices
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 c salt (suitable for pickling)
  • whole dried or fresh hot pepper such as jalapeno or cayenne, 1 per jar
  • 4 tsp mustard seeds
  • whole peppercorns (1/2 tsp per jar)
  • 2 c white wine vinegar (cider vinegar is also great)
  • 2 c water
  • 1/2 c sugar
Layer the sliced cucumber and onions in a large bowl and toss with salt. Cover with ice cubes and let sit at room temperature for 1.5 to 4 hours.

Bring the giant canning pot of water to a boil.

Drain everything in a colander and return to the bowl. Toss with mustard seeds. Place 1/2 tsp of peppercorns in each jar (I like to use a combination of pints and half pints which make great hostess gifts).

Pack cucumber and onion mixture into the jars and add one hot pepper to each (wiggle it down the outside of the jar- it also looks pretty!).

Heat the vinegar, water, and sugar in a medium sauce pan to a boil, stirring occasionally. Ladle the hot liquid into each jar leaving 1/2" head space. Wipe the rims of each jar and cover with the two piece lids.

Process the jars for ten minutes in the boiling water.

Remove jars from hot water using jar lifting tongs. Set to cool and store for at least three weeks before eating.

I decided to make a few jars without the spicy pepper this time so that Little Smith could enjoy a few- he actually likes pickles. These are also wonderful using zucchini which is a bonus since we are overrun by those this year. I'm also excited to make dill spears- I never met a pickle that I didn't like!

July 24, 2012


couch-less living room / july 23, 2012

Um... so on a whim today I sold our couch. We'd been casually talking about getting a new couch for a while, but I don't think Big Smith expected me to post an add on Craig's List and I know he didn't expect that it would just suddenly be gone. I'm a bit shocked myself- but you know, it's just a couch.

Yes it was a nice quality couch, probably nicer than any we will be replacing it with... but it was old and it was black and it was leather and I just wanted a change. The guys who lugged it out of here and onto the roof of their Mini Cooper really were in love with it. I'm a sucker for 'things' finding a good home so I accepted way (way!) less than I should have and just sat back and marveled at how fast this giant, heavy sleeper sofa could be whisked out of our house and onto the curb. I think they were afraid that if they waited any longer I would get a hold of Big Smith and change my mind... and they were probably right!

So for now I dragged a futon from our work space (with Little Smith flopped down on top of it adding his 25 pounds for the ride) to fill the couch-void until we figure out what we are doing. It's kind of fun, like camping. At least that's what I'm telling myself (and my skeptical husband). Sometimes I just like to shake things up and do something different. I just hope anybody who visits us for the time being is limber and ready for a floor sit!

July 23, 2012

Blueberries for Smith

One of my favorite books of all time is Blueberries for Sal. Little Smith is finally getting to the point where he can sit for a book that has more than a single sentence on each page and this milestone seriously arrived just in time... I've been slowly losing my mind from re-reading our small collection of board books. Story time has been a lot more exciting with so many new choices, Big Smith's go-to being Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel with mine (of course) being Blueberries for Sal.

Little Smith is also a blueberry hound, it's the one food he's never refused, so an afternoon of blueberry picking was an obvious choice for summer week-end fun. Big Smith was more interested in taking pictures (thank you!), Little Smith was focused on eating the berries (including the green ones and any on the ground), which left me to pick up the slack in the picking department, a job I took very seriously. Don't mess with me when I'm in berry mode!

The weather could not have been better, finally a break from the heat and humidity. There were a bunch of kid's playing Marco Polo through the bushes and Little S tried his best to join in shouting DADA instead of Polo at the top of his lungs (so funny). It is such fun to watch this crazy toddler actually participate and understand these family outings. Last summer's peach picking adventure feels more like five years ago.

And of course the best bonus to a day of berry picking is coming home with some blueberries. I hope to make some jam and muffins... but we just may eat them all up first!

July 20, 2012

Details A7.01

closed road bluebird houses purple cabbage berries dinner daddy style keeping busy favorite blue ball sandal tan

This summer is moving so quickly and with lots planned for all the week-ends between now and september, I kind of wish I could slow things down. We are right now racing to get out the door and drive to my mom's... Little Smith is over-tired and cranky and frankly so am I, but during the week we have been enjoying some lazy and hot days. Our garden is so happy this year, there are a bunch of fun spray parks to splash in, and nothing is as delightful as fresh berries and fruit which we eat 'till our tummies ache. Sweet summer please stick around for a while!