August 31, 2012

Details A8.02

carrot snack ducks in the kitchen late lettuce dinner prep first garden melon rain gazing downpour rolling around blowing raspberries blimp over fenway

This week has been busy and fast, Big Smith has had a deadline and worked late nearly every night except for Tuesday when he got home early... but only so that I could run out the door and teach my first class of the semester. We've both had our hands full and to top it off Little Smith has decided to really make that transition to true toddlerhood. He is funnier and sweeter than ever... but he also is suddenly throwing full out fits complete with stomping and hitting and going limp. This discipline thing is really hard work!

Yesterday I put him down for a nap and he wasn't too happy about it. After a few whines I heard a loud thump. I rushed into his room to find him walking towards me having flung himself out of the crib! I'm guessing onto his head. He seems completely fine but I was really rattled. I hope it was a one time event because I am so not ready to give up the crib. I didn't sleep well all night because I was listening for a repeat thump, luckily it didn't come.

This week-end we are looking forward to three whole days all together with no plans or travel or guests. We are overdo for a few lazy days and it's the perfect way to welcome September. Hope everyone has a long week-end to enjoy!

August 30, 2012

Butternut Squash Casserole

We have some butternut squash in the garden! Finally, after losing them each year, a little success. Sadly I'm not sure how many we'll get because we still do have the same issue where the leaves are curling and drying up. I've decided to enjoy what we've got and also do some research for next year to see if we can beat the squash funk once and for all.

This casserole is perfect for the transitional season when you have fall squash and fresh corn at the ready. We first tried this dish when our friends made it to bring over right after Little Smith was born. The recipe originally came from Moosewood (one of my favorite resources for vegetarian inspiration). It works well as a side dish or a main course with some crusty bread and greens. It's a meal as yummy as it is orange!

Butternut Squash Casserole: adapted from my friend Dana who adapted it from Moosewood
  • 1 medium butternut squash
  • 1 c onion, diced
  • 5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 medium bell or field pepper, diced
  • 2 c corn kernels (cut off of cobs or frozen)
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp coriander
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 1 c feta, crumbled
  • 1 c cheddar, shredded
  • 1/2 c plain greek yogurt
Peel the squash and cut into 1 inch chunks. Steam in a large pot over high heat until tender when pricked with a fork. Remove, draining out any water, and mash in a large bowl. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Heat olive oil in a heavy bottomed skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and saute until translucent, 3-5 minutes. Add the salt, garlic and diced pepper and saute for another 3-5 minutes. Add the spices and corn kernels and saute another few minutes.

Add the corn and pepper mixture to the mashed squash. Mix in the feta cheese, yogurt, and half of the cheddar. Spread evenly in a casserole dish and top with the remaining cheese. Bake for 25-30 minutes uncovered. Allow to cool for a few minutes and dig in.

The casserole reheats perfectly so I often make it when I know that Big Smith will be working late and eating leftovers. Little Smith loves it, cheese and veggies always get a big thumbs up from him.

After all of the tasty fresh veggies I have been enjoying all summer, it was surprisingly satisfying to have my first meal of winter squash in a while. Eating with the seasons is a little like a romance, and I am still in the honeymoon phase with my squash. Looking forward to some leftovers at lunch!

August 29, 2012

Urban Cliff Diving

These pictures sort of speak for themselves, totally nuts- right!? Last week-end we went to the Cliff Diving World Series, it's a traveling tour circling the globe where professional divers jump off of really, really high places. In this case they leapt 95 feet from the roof of the Institute of Contemporary Art into the harbor.

Big Smith had been looking forward to this forever so we got there hours early to ensure a good spot. This meant a lot of trying desperately to entertain the little guy (who is rapidly finding those infamous two's) while we waited for the action to start. I questioned whether it was worth it a few times and I have to say I was definitely wrong, it was so worth it! The event was packed and we had a coveted view right beneath the divers. 

When the whole thing kicked off with a dude skydiving from a helicopter strapped in a kayak, I knew we were in for some magic. It was insane to watch these guys fly through the air, twisting and rolling before plunging into the water. Beautiful and just plain craziness!

August 28, 2012


steamboat springs, co / february 2007

As proof that I don't solely boo-hoo about bidding farewell to summer, I do love me some snow. I have even been labeled the 'queen of snow' (personally I prefer princess). This ski/ boarding trip to Colorado a few years ago was probably the most snow I have ever seen... it was crazy and just plain awesome.

I know, I know... we still have all the wonders of fall to enjoy, but at the first sign of a sweater I start doing a snow dance. This is fair warning!

August 27, 2012

Fall Back

I'm still wearing my summer sandals, but I can feel the seasons shifting. Night's are a little cooler, everything looks a little less green. My mother always felt sad in the fall, the end of summer gardens and hollow bird calls preparing for the winter ahead. It's bitter sweet for me, of course apple pies and rust colored leaves and pumpkins galore are heaven, but it's hard to say goodbye to another season and another year.

When I was in school I always had a lot of nervous anticipation around this time; leaving behind  bare feet and long days for new classes and text books and friends. When I started at my first real job out of college at a big architectural firm, someone asked me 'are you here for the summer?' and I stammered back with 'no... I'm um...staying...', he laughed and offered 'staying forever?'. I said yes, but the thought of committing to the same place day after day without that fresh start each fall was terrifying. I immediately applied to graduate school.

Once I settled into a job that I really loved I realized that it wasn't really as frightening as I had thought, but I did miss a clear marker of time. Years slipped by and it was hard to separate where one ended and the next began.

Now that I have a small child, the passage of time has never been more clearly documented. He isn't in school yet, but he is growing and changing so quickly that I look at these pictures above from less than a year ago and think, really? It seems as though he's been toddling at my heals forever but he wasn't even walking last year at this time. Each season brings a completely new set of adventures and lessons and it's exciting and frightening all at once.

I'm getting ready for those apple pies, heavy socks, and cozy fires. I'm thinking about projects with leaves (hoping Lauren keeps the inspiration rolling) and looking forward to my favorite Shipyard Pumpkin Ale. First I just have to eat a few more tomatoes.

*more pictures from this day originally posted here

August 24, 2012

Vineyard Beach Day

We had a short but sweet vacation to Martha's Vineyard last week-end. I used to go every year (since the age of seven) with my aunt and cousins, but in recent years I've skipped a few visits. Now that we have the little guy and we live so darn close, it's kind of too perfect not get out there. It was also a great excuse to get some more time with my cute three month old niece (my cousin's baby) who made the trip all the way from Chicago.

We went to the fair and stayed up way past our bedtime looking at animals and lights and rides, we ate well and barely napped, we watched boats and discovered the wonder of ping-pong in the rec room. On Saturday morning the three of us woke up early to loud thunder. We waited for a heavy but brief rain to pass and then walked all around exploring while the whole town seemed to be sleeping.

Sunday dark clouds threatened more rain but we all headed to the beach anyway and it was actually the best beach day ever. When we first arrived almost no one was there, that's unheard of because the one downside of the Vineyard is the crowds. There are a lot of people vacationing on that not-big-enough island. Big Smith dove into the ocean right away, I dipped a toe in and it was so cold! The clouds gave way to some sun, more people showed up, Little Smith marveled at low flying bi-planes that kept circling overhead, everyone took a swim... except for me. Yes I am more chicken of cold water than a three month old baby, but at least I was comfortable on the ride home.

Little Smith got over his fear of waves and he really loved standing at the water's edge and letting his feet sink deeper and deeper into the sand. He can be a cautious toddler (which I am often grateful for), but it was fun to watch him be bold and test his limits a little.

It was kind of a perfect trip, with only a few mini-dramas which mostly involved keys... lost keys to the room, lost keys to the car (as it turns out if anything seems to be lost empty Big Smith's pockets a third time and you'll probably find it... I love that man but he seriously could misplace a refrigerator). So now we are home and despite tonight's heat, summer is fading into fall. I'm trying to convince myself that I'm ready!

August 23, 2012

Biker Babe

I didn't get my driver's license until I was 25. It's odd because I'm from a small town where a person does need to drive, but I was just freaked out by getting behind the wheel. Being without a car, my bike always meant freedom and independence to me.

I still remember my very first real bike, a strawberry colored model with a banana seat. My father, who didn't live near us, surprised me with it waiting on the sidewalk after school and I rode and pushed it home, beaming with pride the whole way.

Then in middle school I got my prized mountain bike which I rode everywhere (except on mountains). I loved that thing, it came with me to college and I brought it when I moved to Boston. My very first night in this city I locked it carefully to the rack outside my building only to wake up and find it completely stripped, the back wheel and gears were gone. That's when I learned that you need to lock both of your wheels, a depressing lesson. I didn't have a car at the time (still couldn't drive), so I had to awkwardly carry a back-wheel-less bike to the shop and make a trade. That was a bad day.

About a year later I met Big Smith who is a big biking cheerleader (I'm pretty sure that's not going to be his favorite description). He likes bikes. We started doing a lot of rides around the city and on my 30th birthday he gave me a beautiful bike that I love so much I'm afraid to leave it anywhere, even with both wheels locked.

The day before I learned that I was pregnant we went for a huge ride along the river, into a neighboring town where we found a Mexican restaurant, indulged in several margaritas, and then dizzily pedaled the long distance back sweating, huffing, and second guessing our judgment.

And then for some reason I just stopped riding my bike. I was busy I guess, I think some small part of me was afraid when I was pregnant (which I know is illogical), and then we had a baby and a few times I would say I was going for a ride and not follow through. Sadly two years went by and my bike just sat there, until we finally got a seat for Little Smith and went on our first ever family bike ride. I realized that there are muscles I have not been using, it was tough! I'm glad I didn't have the extra weight of the kid on my bike because I struggled to keep up with the boys as is. It really was fun though, a great feeling to get back on the saddle.

*and thanks so much to Lea for filling us in on the only bike seat that would work with our mountain bikes!