Friday, June 29, 2012

This Moment

Playing along with Amanda today... in her words: {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.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

When Mama's Away...

Orange marker, if you're wondering.

Behold: the price for 20 minutes of peaceful, relatively quiet independent sibling playtime. A few casualties, a few sprays of Resolve needed, and a good wipe-down for all in the end, but totally worth it.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Right Now

Right now, I'm...

...listening to William Fitzsimmons and Local Natives, two new additions to a favorite playlist who always get the kiddos dancin'.
...eyeing the remaining zucchini cake and wondering if it would count as a healthy breakfast... it does have quite a lot of zucchini in it...
...thinking about emptying the compost barrel, as it is now full to capacity with no where to go. Hmmm.
...excited about the long braid of onions curing in the utility room, next to bunches and bunches of fresh, drying herbs. At least something good is coming out of that darned garden space!
...planning salsa, marinara, and perhaps a little tomato jam with the beauties I've hoarded from our friendly local organic veggie farm... and plotting a return trip again, soon!
...loving the excitement and awe that comes from a special bath in the Big Tub, complete with more than a foot of bubbles (eeeeeeek!).
...hoping for enough to do this week inside to keep us all content and sane as the temps begin their first tryst into the hundreds... ugh.

Aaaand right now, I'm wishing everyone a Happy Monday!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Zucchini Cake

IF my garden were thriving, I'd like to imagine I'd be swimming in zucchini. Alas, the squash in my garden, suffering from powdery mildew this season, get to about the 2" mark, turn yellow, shrivel pathetically, and fall off the vine.

A local organic farm we have started frequenting, however, is producing the long green beauties we so desire in profound excess. Lucky me! I can get them for fifty cents a pound, and I do!

Karen, the farmer's wife, is always making something tantalizing, aromatic, and based on their home-grown produce every time we come with empty shopping bags. The last time we visited, she was telling me about a decadent chocolate cake she'd made, and in a teasing way, she complained that she'd barely gotten any of it because her husband, Larry, had polished off almost the entire thing.

Oh, the moistness, he bragged, the rich crumb!

What did Karen have to say about it, with a sweet smirk?

"It's full of zucchini."


So home I went, with a bag full of zucchini, to the cookbooks! However, nothing suited my fancy... each recipe I could find had something added or lacking that I didn't like... and half of them weren't even chocolate! No problem- out came my pencil and paper, and a few pages (both paper and web) later, here's what I came up with:

Chocolate Zucchini Cake

2 C cake flour, sifted together with:
2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1 C unsweetened cocoa powder

In a separate bowl, mix til fluffy:
4 eggs, at room temp
3 sticks butter, also at room temp
2 C (scant) sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp instant coffee granules

Aaand on the side, finely grate 3 cups fresh zucchini (about 3 small).

Add sifted flour mixture to fluffy butter mixture, and after combined, fold in zucchini. Pour in to a greased 9x13 pan and bake in a pre-heated 350-degree oven for about 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool completely to frost, OR while still hot, sprinkle with dark chocolate chips, and spread over cake as they melt (awesome).

Friday, June 22, 2012

This Moment

Playing along with Amanda today... in her words: {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.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Summer Solstice

That mighty, baking, searing, intense yellow-white orb way up in our hazy sky made quite a showing today. With a fresh breeze, still-green grass (what? I know!), and kiddos ready and willing to spend all afternoon soaking up the sun, we had quite a time enjoying the long-drawn-out sunset.

Today, we commemorated the summer solstice, and the longest day of the year (measured in amount of daylight, anyway). In keeping with our Waldorf-inspired approach to celebrations, we marked the day with an evening of things that mean Summer to us.  We had a bit of a crazy start to our summer kickoff, but in the end, we were glad to have the last day of extra sunlight. Happy Summer.

Read a little on celebrating the summer solstice at a glance here and here.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Right Now

Right now, I'm loving...

...puttin' up. As the summer solstice nears and our days stretch to their longest, I have found myself wishing for a *few* of them to end a bit quicker, to be a bit shorter. However, in hind sight, these long dog days of summer are just getting started, and they will feel even longer if I start wishing them short. SO, in the spirit of Zen, may we all revel in these warm, sunny days. Happy Monday.

Friday, June 15, 2012

This Moment

Playing along with Amanda today... in her words: {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.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

One of Those

This week was one of those weeks... you know, a week where there's a little something every day that pokes at you, kicks you while you're down, deflates you.

After a busy one-of-those-weeks filled with many, many errands, messes to be cleaned, fits to be managed, a second round of steroids for the Little Miss (started yesterday, ugh), an encounter with a hornet's nest, blips, blisters, bumps, owies, and that bedtime-interrupting storm last night, we desperately needed a little something like this:

Yep... that'll just about reset us all, and get us back on track for our Friday and weekend... as long as it doesn't turn in to one of those Fridays, too! *sigh*


I think I've had enough excitement in my evenings to last me for a while. I hope everyone weathers summer storms like this with respect, admiration, and a touch of candle light... and may they come few and far between!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Eating Out

All I remember from last summer is heat, hot, burning sun, sun burns, overheating, and unwavering, unreasonable, extended daytime highs that seemed to start before 7am.

I feel like we were already well into it by this time last year, too. I don't know if that's true, but I feel like I remember it starting this early.

I am relieved to say it hasn't gotten that bad around these parts so far this year. Not yet, anyway. For us, that means a lot more time outside than what we were able to manage last year... and that translates to eating outside a lot more, much to our joy!

Not on the breakfast menu, but indeed part of the entertainment, was a found cicada (already, um, 'still') that, this Mama is proud to report, both kiddos curiously inspected- looking, turning, touching, and taking turns with the awe-inspiring prize!

We love when we get the chance to take our breakfast to the picnic table and eat out... what a morning!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Right Now


Right now, I'm...

...reeling from a toddler on steroids (not just turning a phrase, she's actually been taking steroids) for the past five days... and feeling so thankful that her last dose has come and gone.
...marveling at the increasing weight and size of our mighty, solo sunflower.
...cracking up at the 'funny bunny tattoos' incident we had this weekend when Sister chose to put five sheets of stickers on her legs, to cover up the lingering evidence of her encounter with poison oak. That kid!
...enjoying the fruits of Thursday night's food swap... date bars for breakfast with my coffee!
...planning a canning day, and eying the ten pounds of tomatoes and cucumbers we brought home from an amazing little local, organic farm my dad stumbled upon (I see salsa, pickles, and maybe an heirloom relish recipe in my future).
...savoring the time I've been carving out of each day for myself, and the little things I've found to fill that time.
...loving an upcoming week that's wide open, promising to be clear and warm, and just waiting for us to do something great with it.

Happy Monday!

Friday, June 8, 2012

June Food Swap

I attended a food swap this week.

A food swap. Ever heard of such a thing? I hadn't... until I stumbled upon this blog through the summer issue of Rhythm of the Home. The article on How to Host Your Own Food Swap intrigued me, so I did a little digging and found the Food Swap Network... and guess what? There was not one, but two local food swaps in my area! I couldn't believe it!

So I impulsively signed myself up... and my mom. Then, later, my mother-in-law joined in, and so did one of her pals. None of us had any idea what to expect, being FS virgins, the four of us. We quite frankly winged it as far as what to bring, how to dress, how punctual to be, etc., and can I tell ya- it was great!

Parts of my 'Herb Medley' swap coming together- parsley seeds, coriander (aka cilantro seed) and later, fresh rosemary
We all put together something we had grown, made, or foraged ourselves (per the rules)- something that was an individual specialty of sorts- and an appetizer for the mingling (and promoting of what we were trying to swap). We packaged it up all perty, carpooled it to the venue, and plunged in to a new foodie community I can't believe I've gone so long not knowing existed!

The food swap, nestled in the heart of a local winery

The swappers tasting the amazing, homemade goodies
One of two tables of swaps (and my herb medley!)
The swapping portion of the evening- the last 30 mins or so- went by in a flash, and before we knew it, we were packing up organic homegrown & canned tomatoes, whole-food granola, peach-habanero pepper jelly, homegrown & canned pickles, candied jalapenos, salsa, and many other goodies!

My take-home goodies
These food swaps apparently happen monthly, and after such a great experience with the first one, I will be sure to attend them as frequently as possible... what an amazing foodie resource, hiding right up the road!