June 29, 2012

Details A6.04

brunch clothes line chalk play waiting for daddy clean plates dinner party aftermath luna moth brussel sprouts garden at sunset

Our week has been full of beautiful long summer days, lots of running around outside and tons of fresh veggies and berries. Everyone is sleeping well from all of the fresh air except for me, this may just be my year of insomnia... sigh.

Last week-end's camping trip was a great success and I have lots of photos to share once I sorth through them all. This week-end Big Smith will be gone all Saturday. I'm trying not to acknowlege that it's Friday so that when I can't lie in bed tomorrow morning (my Saturday ritual) it won't be a crushing disappointment. July is going to be action packed, so I'm hoping for a lazy finish to June... we will see if Little Smith agrees to my lazy plans :)

June 28, 2012

Four Years

Ether Sunday by Trey Anastasio on Grooveshark

june 28, 2008 ~ june 28, 2012

Four years ago today I was (nervously) sharing my first dance with my new husband in front of our loved ones. It feels like yesterday and as though nothing has changed, but when I stop to recognize everything that we have accomplished, endured, and shared in these years, I realize that the time has been significant.

It sounds so cliche, but I am married to my very best friend. True we occasionally debate (okay bicker!), but we also challenge and inspire one another and that beats boring anyday.

Happy anniversary James. I love you more than ever.

*all photos by erich camping

June 27, 2012

Corn Chowder

I usually don't refer to any recipes when I'm making soup. Part of the appeal is that I can pretty much throw anything in a pot, let it simmer, and be left with a tasty meal. A few summers ago when our CSA share left us buried in corn week after week, I started reading all recipes corn related and discovered this chowder from Mark Bittman. It is so creamy and sweet that I'm willing to go the extra mile and crack the cookbook for this one. There is a lot of milk which made me worry at first, as you might guess though it makes for great richness.

This is early in the season for corn here and I do like to wait for it to be in season, but our farmer's market had these delicious ears from Georgia and I was powerless to resist. I am glad I went for it because we all thoroughly enjoyed this chowder... even better than I remembered!

Corn Chowder: adapted slightly from Mark Bittman's 'How to Cook Everything Vegetarian'
  • kernels from 5 ears of corn (save the cobs)
  • 2 medium or three small potatoes, pealed and chopped to about 3/4"
  • 1 large tomato, coarsely chopped
  • 4 tbs butter
  • half of one medium onion, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 c flour
  • 1 qt (4 c) milk
  • 2 c milk
  • 1 tbs chopped fresh sage
  • salt and pepper to taste
Cut the kernals off of the ears of corn and set aside (I like to do this on a large baking sheet since the lip helps keep the corn from flying everywhere). Place the bare corn cobs and two cups of water in a heavy bottomed pot with a lid. Salt and pepper and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for about 30 minutes. Reserve the liquid and discard the cobs.

Meanwhile dice the onion and chop the potatoes and tomatoes and set aside.

Melt the butter on medium high heat in a heavy bottomed pot. Add the onion and sugar and sautee for a minute until the onion is just softened. Reduce the heat to medium and add the flour, stirring constantly until the mixture is golden, 5 to 10 minutes.

Add the milk and the water from the corn cobs and increase the heat to medium high. Stir constantly for a few minutes until the flour is dissolved.

Stir in the potatoes, sage, and corn kernels. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce to a simmer for 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook covered, stirring occasionally for an additional 10 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.

Add salt and pepper to taste and allow to cool a few minutes before serving.

I like to go all out in the celebration of corn and serve a big side of cornbread. Of course Little Smith enjoys his with a few slices of cheddar cheese.

Corn chowder is like a warm bowl of summer, and make sure you plan for leftovers because it's even more irresistable the second day!

June 26, 2012


vintage gas pump, ossining ny / july 3, 2011

My aunt and uncle have a large and lovely piece of property in New York. We call it 'the farm' and I think it once was one, but it hasn't actually been farmed in a long while (at least the last 35 years that they've been there). There are a bunch of barns and tractors and this old gas pump. When I was little they used to get it serviced on a regular basis, so before heading home you could just drive on over and fill up. I thought it was the coolest thing ever, a private gas pump... right up there with a private jet!

June 25, 2012

Alone Time

Most of my days are spent hanging out with my little boy, entertaining him and listening to his non-stop babbling and giggling. They are pretty close to perfection. I have never spent more time laughing, never been so proud of what I accomplish each day, and never had a job that was so much fun, but there are moments when I struggle just to hear my own thoughts. 

I now realize that there were all of these little opportunities built into my pre-baby life, time to wander in my own head space, that are just gone. Standing in a crowded subway car, walking to the office, shopping for groceries, grabbing some lunch, going to the bathroom... everything accomplished easily and in silence.

Little Smith is a champion sleeper but a difficult napper. Until he was nine months old every single nap he took was with me, strapped in a carrier or nestled in my arms. I cherish my memories of those snugly days, but it was also exhausting. I would lie down with him but still feel tired. I didn't actually realize it at the time, but I was drained from the simple lack of time alone.

Now we do get a nap or two (almost) every day. Often I do chores or work, but there are days when I drop everything and drink in the peace. I read, I listen to the whirr of the ceiling fan and the cars on the road, and I let my mind drift. Sometimes I feel lazy, guilty that it's a Wednesday afternoon and the world is working while I sink into my pillow... but the more I indulge in this time to myself the more I realize its importance.

I also do love when Little Smith breaks the silence, waking up and calling 'mama' so that we can babble and sing our way through another very loud and busy afternoon. I'm so lucky to have my toddling partner who makes sure I never feel lonely, and also lucky to be able carve out just a little time to be alone.

June 22, 2012


We're on day three of a heat wave here, and I don't want to be someone who complains about the weather because I love all the seasons that New England has to offer... but come on this is too hot! It's been a quietly busy week; catching up with friends, keeping up with the garden, and doing our best to stay cool (ahem, no AC). Entertaining Little Smith in this heat has been a bit exhausting, but also classic summer fun.

I'm super relieved that it's Friday and crossing my fingers for decent weather this week-end for our camping trip. I've also had enough of cooking and sweating for today so I'm thinking I might spoil us and take the little guy out to dinner... maybe even stop for some ice cream! Happy first week-end of summer.

June 21, 2012

Three Little Monkeys

When I was a little girl I was very attached to my stuffed monkey, Jocko (that's him wearing the sweater). I took him everywhere, my mother made him matching Halloween costumes so he could go trick-or-treating, I even occasionally brought him in the tub at bath time, which explains why he is a bit worse for the wear.

I'm hopelessly sentimental, so when I found out that I was pregnant I wanted to get a matching Jocko for my baby, but they changed the design radically and the new one's looked very different. Our friends, Cindy and David tracked down a 1978 model to match my childhood memories and my mom surprised me with him... I was elated! I actually slept with him a few nights to break him in for Little Smith.

I kept my original monkey in my own room above the wardrobe and placed Little Smith's on a shelf in his nursery... not sure when he would take an interest. It must be in the genes because in recent weeks the kid is monkey obsessed and loves to run around waiving his arms and ahh-ahh-ahhing.

He's been playing with his own monkey for a little while, poking at the eyes and nose, but today he spotted the original and freaked out. He needed to find his monkey and get these two buddies together immediately. It was serious business.

I love this stage of toddlerhood when it is becoming so clear how much he understands and he's actually able to communicate desires. I anticipated all of the big milestones like crawling and walking, but I didn't know that one day he would be in his own world and the next he would be listening to my telephone conversations and whining when I mention bed time is approaching.

With the matching monkeys united the kid was thrilled, as though he'd solved an impossible puzzle. He rolled around on the bed, lined them up in the hall, and made a lot of wild monkey calls. Once I saw them together I realized that of course they should always have been pals.

I kept thinking of Toy Story 3 and feeling guilty for having banished my dearest toy to a life on the shelf... but now he will be loved (and abused) all over again!