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Thursday, August 29, 2013

buried

This picture has nothing to do with this post.  But it sure is sweet, am I right?

I haven't been here much this week.  Or at all, really.  I've just barely checked in with my favorite blogs, I haven't even glanced at my big girl camera, and as I write this I have about 5 loads of laundry calling my name.  I am buried in it all.  The little's school schedule, trying to squeeze in workout time, making meals, racing to the finish of project make something, and trying to get the kiddos in bed at a reasonable hour.  It's been a little... hectic.

I have so much to share here, and I will soon.  I have recipes, projects, thrifted treasure (all the way back from Colorado) and just stories I need to get down here.  So what I am saying is:  I'll see you tomorrow.  Or maybe next week.  I just need to find my rhythm as the seasons change.

Friday, August 23, 2013

early morning

Now that the littles have to wake up early for school, I set my alarm a half hour before they have to get up.  Some days I hit the snooze button until it's time to wake them up, but some days I actually get up with the alarm.  And it is always rewarding.  I pour myself a cup of coffee in a favorite cup.  I say one last goodbye to the moon before she slips away from the rising sun.
I linger over whatever produce our gardens are giving.  Mostly they are giving weeds after a summer full of trips away, but some of the plants grow heartily, giving peppers, tomatoes, and watermelons.
Brian's ghost chilis are really doing well, and I don't even touch them, they are so notoriously hot.  But jalapeƱos are my favorite, and I have a lot of pico de gallo in my future.
New flowers seem to appear overnight around here.  Wildflowers blown in from another area, or spread from visiting birds can crop up in the unlikeliest of places.  The wild morning glories threaten to cover everything, and I am constantly pulling them out of bushes and beds where they don't belong.  They are a beautiful nuisance.
And just when I find the bottom of my first cup of coffee, it's time to wake the littles.  They are so groggy yet cheerful these mornings, and I am trying to cherish this while I can.  I know that groggy cheerful littles can turn into groggy grumpy bigs in no time.
And they eat breakfast slowly, trying to get their eyes adjusted to the brightening light.  They are quiet, yet happy, and it's my favorite time of the day with them.
We talk about what the day will bring, and they stretch and yawn themselves into wakefulness.
And just for those first morning moments, life is calm, peaceful, and relaxed.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

still at it

We took a trip to Colorado.  The littles started school.  Three weeks went by without a single project make something getting done.  And now I'm waaaay behind.  So now you know what I'll be doing.  I want this project put to bed before the leaves change, so my nose is to the grindstone.  
I'm excited to send out the above hoop to an overseas recipient.  It's about time I got around to the European askers.  I have quite a few left to send to fellow Americans, and Canadian friends, too.  So yes, I am still working on the projects.  And no, I haven't forgotten about you.  At all.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

spicy zucchini cabbage stir fry

 Well, it's that time of year again, friends.  You know, the part of the summer where you wonder how in hell you can incorporate one. more. zucchini. into your diet.  Ah, the end of summer.  Zucchini and tomatoes are brought to you by neighbors by the bushels, while your own garden spits them out, too.  But not to worry!  I have yet another zucchini recipe to use it up, AND you can throw in some tomatoes, too!  You're welcome.  I had a neighbor also bring me a head of cabbage, and so with my produce drawer bursting at the seams, I made up this little dish.  And then I made it again.  You should too.

1/2 head cabbage, chopped
1 large or 2 medium zucchini
1 cup chopped tomatoes (I used cherry tomatoes cut into halves)
1 medium onion, sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
2 T sesame oil (or the cooking oil of your choice)
3 T soy sauce
1 to 2 T sriracha
1/4 cup tahini (or any nut butter)
2 t fresh grated ginger (optional)
salt and pepper to taste
sesame seeds to garnish
serves 4

Prep your vegetables.  I used a cheese grater on the zucchini so that I could have noodle-like pieces in the mixture.
Feel free to add or subtract vegetables from this, too.  Peppers, summer squash, or spring onions would all be good in this too!
Saute the onions first for about 5 minutes, until just translucent.  Add the cabbage, turn your heat to medium, and stir occasionally.  Add in the zucchini  and garlic, and continue to stir all the vegetables until softened, but not mushy.  Use more oil if needed.
Toss in the tomatoes and return to heat.
In a separate bowl, whisk together tahini, soy sauce, sriracha, and ginger.  Pour over vegetables, and stir in until well coated.  Add more soy sauce or sriracha to taste, and salt and pepper to taste.  Sprinkle with sesame seeds, squeeze a lime over it, or maybe throw in a little cilantro.
It can be served over rice, or noodles.  I made it with extra sauce and threw in noodles the first time I made it, but I like it just as well without any noodles at all!  Enjoy!

Friday, August 16, 2013

little friends

While we were in Denver, we stayed with one of my best friends, Jo Ellen, and her family.  She had just had a baby boy, Ben (who is a month old today!).  He was the sweetest.
Our other kiddos are close together in age.  Which made for lots of great playing together!  The boys had so much fun with their imaginations, transformers, and superheroes, while the girls had dance parties in princess dresses and played house.  Gender play was STRONG in that house for a week, let me tell you.
Now that we're back home, Rowan can occasionally talk Fletcher into marrying her in a mock-wedding, but there was barely a mingling of the genders at Jo's save for meals or book time.
They all played well together with just a few tears in between the fun.  And all the while I got lots of time to snuggle baby Ben.  It was a very good week for all of us!
Jo and I got to sneak out for half a day for some thrifting, lunch, and shopping, and it was heaven.  We may have squeezed in an estate sale really quickly, too.  I tried to help out a little with meals and diaper changes and negotiating with children, but I'm sure all of us inundating their home didn't help all that much in the long run.  So a huge huge thank you to Jo and her husband, Chris, for letting us come and stay and have the best time ever.  We love you all ever so much!!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

first day

I always really liked the first day of school.  All the way through college.  It was a fresh start, and you never knew what the year would hold.  Of course that luster of newness never lasted past the first week, but I always had that first day.  I think my kids are the same.  They land more in the excited camp than in the nervous, clinging to mama camp.  They scampered right out of my car yesterday and eagerly ran into their new school.

After an unfortunate misunderstanding involving "uniforms" and "unicorns," Rowan was right on board to go to school 5 half days a week, the same as her big brother.  She's feeling mighty grown up these days.  She asks often, "Am I a bid (big) durl (girl)?"  And I have to sigh and tell her, yes, she's getting there.
I have no idea where she came up with the banjo player idea.  She has some innovative ideas about grown ups.  Who knows?  Maybe she'll be the next Steve Martin.

Fletcher loves school, but was hesitant about starting in a new school this year.  We moved to our town last year well past the time everyone else signed up for Preschool, so we had to settle for a school that wasn't our first pick.  This year we moved into our first pick school, and I can tell already that it's a winner of a school.  But Fletcher is like me that he craves familiarity and tradition.  But he said yesterday was a great first day.  He also said he misses his old school, but I know he will adjust fine.
They don't come much sweeter than this kid.  He wants to join the Army so that he can be with his Papa everyday.  I didn't break the news that his Papa would long be retired by the time he was old enough to join.  And also?  Over my dead body, kid.

Here are a few gems from our quick before school photo shoot yesterday.  You can just see the love for his sister all over Fletcher's face.  Ah, siblings!
Also, can we get a side of cheese with all this ham?  I mean, they look like a JcPenny ad here.  Rowan even has her leg model posed.  No, I did NOT tell her to do it.
And there above is how Fletcher was really feeling.  I was feeling the same way.  After a long lazy summer, a 6 am alarm is seriously, um, alarming.

Hope all your littles are having great first days where ever you may be, friends!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

the mountains

Hi friends!  We are back home again from our trip to Colorado.  I took an unfortunately small number of pictures, which just goes to show how much fun we were having.  I do have quite a few shots of my children having a blast with my friend's kiddos and their new baby brother.  And that is where we spent most of our time!  Having fun and playing with our friends.  My parents drove out to Colorado with us, but stayed with family in Ft. Collins while I stayed with my friends, Jo and Chris in Denver.  I also got to visit friends in Colorado Springs for a quick but really fun picnic lunch (thanks again, Rachel, Mindy, and Tara!)

But don't worry.  We went into the mountains.  We did.  The littles were very excited to see mountains, and we went to see them in the very best way.  On a mountain train!  The Georgetown Loop was a definite highlight of the trip, and my parents came along for the beautiful views, too.  Taking an old steam train over mountain streams and tall evergreen trees made me feel like we took a little step back in time.  And the littles love a good train ride.  I'm pretty sure this one ranked up in the top 5.  Maybe even number 1!
Fletcher was asking me about the mountains before our trip to Colorado.
Fletcher: Do the mountains talk, mama?
Me: I've never heard them talk.
Fletcher: Maybe you never listened.
Man.  Out of the mouth of babes, right?  He's my little deep thinker.

I highly recommend the drive into the mountains to catch the train if you are ever in the Denver area.  Plus it's free to military families!  I'll share the rest of our Colorado pictures this week, but they're less mountains and a lot more children.

And now we're being thrown back into life full force with school starting up again tomorrow.  Where did you go, summer?  I feel like we tried to squeeze out every last fun golden drop of summer, but the school year STILL snuck up on me.

Hope your summer has been just and fun and golden, friends.