Friday, August 27, 2010

{this moment}


{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Inspired by SouleMama.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Co-op Cookin’": Melon Fruit Bowl


A couple of weeks ago we received a ridiculously, adorably small cantaloupe in our CSA share, along with strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries.  Not much larger than a softball, I could smell how fragrantly perfect its flesh was.  Normally, I’d cut a cantaloupe into slices or cubes and let the kids eat it at will, but this was a special melon.  I have a thing for petite produce—you can ask my husband, who lived through the baby squashes I insisted on buying every time I saw them in the late 90s.  I don’t know why it’s so, but if I like the full-sized version, I ♥ the baby one (which is why I have three kids).

So, anyway, our infant cantaloupe was saved for a special breakfast.  With flesh so buttery soft a spoon cut like a knife, all that was needed for a perfect summer breakfast was some vanilla yogurt, berries, and some granola.  It’s easy, and I wish I could make it 3 times a week… if only I had a baby melon vine all my own!  (I think making a recipe for this would be ridiculous!)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Tuesday Happiness: 8-24


The incredible Carteroni Supreme, a move that only a veteran of pool flips should attempt.


Thanks for inviting me to take part in this fun project, Leigh!  We can always stand to spend a wee bit more time noticing the ‘happy’ around us, can’t we?

Monday, August 23, 2010

Third Grade!


And so begins a new year of school for the Bunbun… she’s been a little anxious about some new things—new classroom, new teacher—and very excited about other new things, like getting to use the ‘big kid playground’ and wearing her new teddy bear shirt.

I hope this year is another great one for her, that she excels in everything she puts effort into, and looks back at third grade with happiness.

How did my first baby get so big?

Sunday, August 22, 2010


Bunny resumes school tomorrow as a big 3rd grader. How did summer slip through our fingers so quickly? Growing up, summer seemed longer, but then again, I am not even kidding when I say there would be entire weeks when we didn’t leave our property. Even Bunny says summer passed with speed.

However, I suppose to say it slipped by is not correct--we made very good use of it! Catching up on photo uploading over the past few days I noticed some I never had time to share.

So, please, indulge me in a little summer photo show of the forgotten gems. :)

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We randomly parked by this fountain in Washington, D.C. when visiting the Museum of Natural History.

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It had some rather unusual sculptures. Stainless steel tree, anyone?

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Sugar cube pyramid, perhaps?

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The fountain was a welcome refuge from the 102 degree heat. Maybe no one was allowed in, but people dipped their feet, and the air was misty.

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And hey! Ducks!

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Where I live, life is lived outside all summer. Where I grew up, it’s often too hot and humid to expect kids to spend very much time outside. One day I hauled the kids to the park to ‘run them’ and it was so insufferably hot we were not only the only people there (mad dogs and Californians in the noonday sun), but we all decided to throw in the towel after about 45 minutes. So, indoor play places, which are my haven in winter at home, are a saving grace in the Southeast.

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Amazement Square has a 4 level climbing structure that runs through its spine, so along with crafts and other ‘discovery’ activities, kids can ‘get their yayas out’. I can vouch that it’s a challenging course of rope tunnels, ladders, slides, and the like. (I went down all 4 stories with Bunny when she was 3 and I was 4.5 months pregnant with Carter and had a moment or two in the rope tunnel when I truly thought I might have to take up residence there for the remainder of my pregnancy—don’t be like me and try that.)

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Nearly every evening in my hometown we spent time cooling off in the pool, same as at home.

8 year olds have the best smiles, with their mish mash of baby and adult teeth.

One afternoon my kids went crazy and insisted on eating nearly an entire package of Oreos, which I have never bought (okay, I have bought Joe-Joe’s, but that it only once or twice a year).

I am so lucky to have at least one child that is relatively daring about what she will eat. When we were treated to a dinner at my friends Melanie and Jared’s restaurant, The Millstone Tea Room, Bunny squealed with excitement when I suggested we share their mussels. (And they were amazing, like everything else we tasted. Go there if you’re ever in the area—you will NOT be disappointed!)

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My girl is not above foraging for berries along hiking paths, though.

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Sometimes we had a day without any plans to see family or friends, so we explored.

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Sometimes a really bubbly bath is just what everyone needs to calm down.

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Water, water, water. If there was a unifying theme to our summer, it would have to be water. One night after dinner it was still in the upper 90s, and we could not pass up this fountain. Having failed to plan ahead, it was one damp car ride home, but I’d say that was a fair price to pay.

Closer to home, Carter may have wandered through our friends’ strawberry and corn patch… lately I have noticed so many people grow corn. Am I missing some hot trend? I think I’ll stick with tomatoes and basil. Our strawberries never grew this year because I keep forgetting I have strawberries to water… go figure!

This chiminea was an anniversary present to ourselves. A couple of times a week we’ve had an evening outside by the fire—it’s been a great addition. We especially like that we chose a chiminea over a fire dish because it directs the smoke up and over us. Summer nights are chilly here, and the fire enables us to suck a little more enjoyment out of a weekend day. Carter loves to help his Daddy ball up newspapers and fancies himself a budding expert on fire making.

Again, water. We went to the beach a couple of times, too. (Just a couple… heh.)

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Ages 6 to Adult

There is a reason nearly 5 year-olds are not in the recommended age group for Jenga.

Today Carter asked me to make a tower with 'the skinny blocks'. Upon completion, I wanted to show him how Jenga is played and slid a piece out then placed it up on top.

Carter: Mom, you are messing up my tower!
Me: It's okay, this is the *game.* It's called Jenga and you try to make the tower EVEN taller.
Carter: It has holes!
Me: Yep. See the box? It gets taller and taller, then the person who can't take out a block then put it on top--the person who makes it all fall down--loses. I really like to play this game!
Carter: Mom, you're freaking me out!
Me (stifling laughter): Really?
Carter: The enemies are going to get into the castle through the holes and take the king's gold! Now it's a bad tower! It's ruined!

So, we rebuilt it, with none of those awful holes.

Wouldn't want anyone to freak out...

Friday, August 20, 2010

Co-op Cookin’: Chunky Gazpacho with Sauteed Shrimp


We all but have tomatoes coming out our ears right now with what’s coming in our share and from our four plants. It’s funny how every year we eagerly watch the tiny starter plant work its way up through the cage, form little flowers, then miniscule baby tomatoes, checking daily to admire their progress, and we feel like they’ll never quite be ripe.

Finally we can’t stand it anymore and we pick one that really needs an extra day or two—the wait has been too much and we need to try one whether it’s really time or not.

Then, all of a sudden they’re coming at you like monsters from a movie, but instead of crying, “Feed me!” they beg, “Eat me!”

While I will be peeling and seeding, then squishing plenty into zipper bags for winter eating, we’re also enjoying about 2000% of our RDA of tomatoes at every meal except breakfast. The August 2010 issue of Cooking Light has a great gazpacho recipe that I’ve made twice so far and plan to make weekly for the next month or so. As with nearly every recipe I try, I just adapt it to what I have and don’t worry about the specific varieties and colors of tomatoes, and I love that it has no bread, so my carb hatah husband has no objections.

Actually, he quite likes it! It tastes great the day you make it, but even better a day or two later. Find the recipe HERE. Make the shrimp to have a quick dinner, or simply make the soup any old time.

{this moment}


{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Inspired by SouleMama.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Yes we can!

Being an “at home” mom means much, but what I am thinking about at the moment is that I’m spoiled with a luxury that makes me bratty about one particular thing: I don’t have to take my kids to the ‘kid places’ when they’re crowded on weekends, breaks, and holidays.  The kids benefit from this, as they get to spend more time doing and less time waiting.  Yeah, yeah, there is something to be learned standing in a long line or jockeying for position, but patience is something I’d rather learn/teach by waiting for a sown seed to sprout or understanding that quiet time benefits everyone at home and will be enforced.  Watching the line in front of you shorten and spending 75% of an outing waiting?  No thanks.

Consequently, we have not been to the Discovery Museum at all this summer.  We visited the awesome one in my hometown, though, go figure.  ;)

Tuesday it was time to go, since a Bob the Builder exhibit that only opened in early summer is set to close right before Labor Day—and Cole looooves him some Builder Bob.

The ‘wing’ where travelling exhibits are presented is actually a large room, and is perhaps the size of a couple of volleyball courts, but we spent hours in there.

Hi there, Scrufty!

Building a wall with foam rocks.

Cole loves playing dress up, and hogged this belt and hat nearly the entire time.

All the machines and main characters were there, except that annoying scarecrow, probably because he is freaky.

I had to take a photo of this bunny for my Bunny, who could not come since the poor dear was at camp (world’s smallest violin…).

When we had fully explored the new exhibit, it was time to return to some favorite spots.


The Children’s Garden, where they can dig and rake.

It is a little-known fact that the most important body part used when raking is the tongue…



We hunted for interesting shapes and made sun prints, which are framed and hung with pride at home.


Picking the ripe grapes is not only allowed, it’s encouraged.


Carter always wants to go play in the bubble room, and I never want to take Cole, who promptly rubs his eyes with bubbly fingers, but today I decided it was time for Cole to begin to learn through aversion therapy if necessary.


Again, with the tongue…

We made it about 10 minutes before I heard the beginning stanzas of My Eyes, My Eyes (Ow, My Eyes! ). It was nearly Quiet Time time, so a perfect chance to go to the washroom, rinse off and hit the road.  Cole was sleep before we were halfway through the 10 minute drive home.  :)

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Obsessions (Compulsions?)

Carter does some funny stuff, man.  All of my kids are completely unique individuals, and they all are quirky in their own ways, but Carter is the quirkiest in some ways that tickle me to no end.

It’s hysterical to me to recall that a year and a half ago he barely spoke.  He could speak, but was very quiet… you just never knew what waters ran deep in that well, but you knew they were there.

Now?  There are times I beg him to chill out with the constant monologue.  Seriously, I do, because he will go on for hours on end, imagining how his life will be when he’s a grown up.  (Today’s gem: “When I grow up my kids will put seeds in my pockets and chipmunks will climb up my legs to steal them and I will laugh because it will tickle so much!”)  He also is clarifying everything lately.  I mean EVERYthing.  (“What does ‘know’ mean?  What does ‘stop’ mean?  What does ‘you’re driving me crazy with all these questions and I am going to cry’ mean?)

Okay, I made up the last two examples.  I swear he did ask for a definition of know, though!  He is leaving nothing up to ambiguity, and assumes little.

He also loves to classify and sort.  While Bunny could and still does spend hours drawing and otherwise crafting, Carter can sit and make piles and groupings for an astonishingly long period of time.

It all started when he spent an afternoon putting all his duplo blocks into rows by color.  Now, since I know his fascination, I suppose I tend to buy things I know will have an obvious use, but also be fun for him to sort (and sort, and sort).

These ‘gems’ from the craft store are both the bane of my existence (because they’re all over, and Carter will fly into hysterics if a sibling seems likely to ‘steal’ them) and a delight.

I have containers full of ‘like’ things to switch it up: fake gold ‘pirate’ coins from the party store, periwinkle shells collected from the beach, Bakugans (which are alike when balled up), Zoobs, jack balls, you name it…

However, he will also improvise when we’re out and about, using whatever he can to cobble a collection out of.  Today outing to the discovery museum was no exception.


These magnetic blocks were originally triangles, but Carter joined them together in pairs—all the orange ones.  Thank goodness no one else wanted to use an orange one, because Mr. Man was on a mission here.  Parallelogram… that was today’s new word.  I’m just waiting for him to ask me what parallel means, but thankfully I am becoming used to my role as a dictionary on demand.  There are so many jobs involved in this crazy role as mother… but I wouldn’t trade ‘em for all the lunch breaks and door-pounding free potty trips in the world—not when I get a front row seat to watch each one grow and thrive in their own distinct ways…and grow and learn so much along the way, too.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Right about now…

…is breakfast time at camp for Bunny.

As her Mama, who has, day in, day out, almost without exception for 8+ years, been greeted in the morning by a very crazy bed-headed bit of groggy fluff, it is weird to know I will not hear her feet padding out of her room, first to the bathroom, then immediately into a blanket and either the sofa or rocking chair to further awaken.

Here’s her daily schedule:

7:00 a.m. Wake up by ringing of the traditional camp bell
7:45 a.m. Flag raising ceremony
8:00 a.m. Breakfast served family style followed by songs
9:00 a.m. Kapers (also known as unit clean up time)
9:15 a.m. Program activities
1:00 p.m. Lunch is served family style
(A unit rest period called “camper time” usually follows lunch)
Program activities resume in the afternoon
6:00 p.m. Dinner served family style followed by songs
7:00 p.m. Flag lowering ceremony
                     Evening program activities
9:00-10:00 p.m. Lights out for campers (Varies with age)

I hope her morning is going well, that she was able to sleep in the very dark tents, that she did not fully deplete one of the 2 ginormous flashlight batteries I sent with her, that she was comfortable, and, most of all, that she is happy.

I also hope she brushes her hair, because this is what she looks like first thing in the morning.  :)


Yeah, this is a pretty old photo of her, but the general wake-up hairdon’t is the same.  :D

Monday, August 16, 2010

Horsin’ Around

It’s about time Bunny had something to do.  I mean, sheesh, she’s had 2 days off (one with a Build-a-Bear birthday party, and the other with a sleep over down the street)… poor kid was bored to tears she’s been so idle.  ;)

So, this morning a new first: boarding the bus to go to sleep away camp!  She was excited—and anxious, of course.  It’s only 3 nights, and we’ll be reunited by lunch time on Thursday, but it was very hard for her to board that bus.

“Let’s go,” she said.
”I know it’s hard to wait around like this to get on the bus.  Waiting is hard!  This is why I didn’t get you here a full 45 minutes before boarding time—no way did I want us to have to wait that long,” I replied.

“No.  Take me home!  I changed my mind!” she muttered.
”I totally will take you home.  I’ll take you home when your bus returns right here on Thursday.  You’ll be having fun soon, and be happy you did this.  You get your own horse for the next 4 days!”

I was subjected to a searing 8 year-old stare.  Thankfully, she has no idea how much staring at I can handle without flinching.

She got on the bus, and selected her seat.

Why hast thou forsaken me?

All I could see was little eyes, and sometimes Sock Monkey waving for her to me as I stood and waited for them to pull away and out of sight.

So little still…

But not out of mind.  I’ll miss her, but am so excited for her, too.  I hope on Thursday she drives me batty with an endless stream of utterly terrible to listen to stories of all the hijinks and shenanigans that are sure to ensue.  I hope she always remembers her first days away from any family fondly, and returns even stronger and enriched for it.  (I also hope she sleeps enough and chooses the right foods at meals—I can vouch that their food is just as awful as I recall camp food being!)

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Co-op Cookin’: Salmon with Strawberry-Melon Salsa


If apples and oranges are winter fruits, then melons and berries are most definitely summer fruit, baby. :) We’ve been spoiled rotten with abundance this blessedly temperate year and are going to sorely miss all the amazing local fruit in a few months when it’s only remembered plenty.

In the meantime, nearly every meal has included a rainbow, just as the FDA suggests-yay! I love fruit salsas with meat, especially since cilantro has also been coming in regularly… and now even some spicy peppers. This week we even got some softball sized cantaloupe more flavorful than any I’d had before, and ripe enough to eat with a spoon.

Salmon with Strawberry-Melon Salsa

1 C. diced cantaloupe (or whatever melon you prefer)
1/2 C. Sliced Strawberries
1/4 C Red Onion, finely diced
1/2 Jalapeno, finely diced
Juice of 1/2 a Lime
1 tsp Olive Oil
1/3 C chopped Cilantro
Salt & Pepper to Taste
2 Salmon Filet

Prep: Combine melon through cilantro in a medium bowl, gently toss to combine with salt and pepper. Heat a large pan over medium-high heat, and spray with nonstick spray. Place salmon, skin side up, and cook 3-5 mins, or until fish is crispy and caramelized, then turn and cook on other side an additional 3-5 mins, or until desired doneness. Serve topped with salsa.

I served this meal with Summer Squash Croquettes, from Cooking Light. For us, 2 salmon filet is enough for my, my husband, and our daughter, but you may need to make more (the boys refuse to eat the fish).

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Only 1 Week Left!

031809 Lunch, originally uploaded by Kristianna.

…until I get to play with lunch again. :)

I have been spending a moment peeking back into my little photo diary of meal ideas for Bun’s lunches, and, yes I am a dork. I’m a dork who’s stoked to once again play with her Laptop Lunchbox and make her happy to open it midday at school.

{this moment}


{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Inspired by SouleMama.

Thursday, August 12, 2010



We’ve been having a LOT of luck finding sand dollars the past week or so.  Unfortunately (for us) or, depending on how you look at it, fortunately (for the sand dollars), about 1/3 or them have been alive and needed to be gently tossed back into the surf to hopefully live on.  Carter, aka Prince Midas, took a while to get used to the concept of throwing live ones back.  Not only does that mean less shells, but—get this—less dollars for him.  I think he’s confused by the name.  :)

Monday, August 09, 2010

Happy Birthday Heidi!

Happy Birthday to a dear friend and one of those moms who seems to have a deep well of abilities to draw upon through thick and thin, in times of ease and stress.

Wishes of relaxation and ridiculous spoiling from your family to you, hun!

…and many more…

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Taking a Break from the Sand, Part II

The boys and I needed a little break from beach time about a week ago, so we planned something different one afternoon: a trip on the Santa Cruz Beach Train from Roaring Camp to the boardwalk.  We picked up Bunny, then the 4 of us rode back all together, which made it special for Bunny, too.



     in the long, very dark tunnel


     light at the end of the tunnel – literally!


     riding inside the car, watching the world go by…


    post train ride playtime


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