Monday, June 27, 2011


Time is flying to fast these days! My little snuggle-pie is just beginning to scooch around. Too soon he will be crawling, walking, and getting into everything! How fleeting this first year of life is... with so much growing to do! It is bittersweet I tell you. I try to savor it between everything else. Last week we picked a bunch of these wild beauties: Our forest is full of black raspberry bushes! We picked about 5-6 pints. I am sure there are more waiting for me today! They are yummy on oatmeal and in milkshakes. The girls have been SO EXCITED to help pick them. As we pick them, the girls like to come up with new ideas of things to make from them. Isabel always picks milk shakes.

We decided to keep this little kitten as a "porch kitty". She is so sweet, and gentle with the girls, and has a really peaceful way about her. I planned to give her away, but I just can't part with her. We named her "Kahlan" after the heroine from Legend of the Seeker. She inspired me to continue reading the book series the show was based off of. So far it is great fun, and very exciting. And I have a cat to sit in my lap wherever I choose to read. I guess I am officially a nerd. :)
We had a lot of fun letting a jar of praying matis' go in our garden. My mom let me catch some from her garden (which is PRAYING MANTIS HEAVEN) for our own little veggie patch. My garden has already given us our first cherry-sized tomatoes. We also are still eating lettuce, radishes, kale and finished up our sugar snap peas, and we picked our very first green beans!!! There are little tomatoes, and little peppers everywhere, and my squash and cucumbers are growing quite well. The girls planted pumpkins and sunflowers which are growing too! Of all the garden's I have planted, this is the best one!!! I hope this rain and garden goodness continues! Also, we have a little toad who moved in!
This weekend we painted half of our kitchen which is HUGE. I have been wanting this done for years, and especially so after getting our floors finished! So hopefully the house progress will continue too. I have plans, plans and more plans! Where is all this time I am supposed to have as a stay-at-home mom??? Well, I wish you all a lovely, summer week! :)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Swiss Chard Summer Pasta

I love June. June is so flavorful! While the swiss chard in my garden is only a whole 4 inches tall, our CSA box was packed full of it last week! So after eating it as a side dish, adding some to my pizza, I found THIS recipe, and made it my own. Super easy, super yummy!!

What you need:

1 box of penne
1 small garlic scape
2 green onions
1 medium bunch of swiss chard
1- 16 ounce can of diced tomatoes (or 3-4 fresh if you have them!)
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup of milk
1/4 cup parmasagn cheese
and any herbs you love


1. Boil water for pasta and cook according to box.

2. Chop garlic scapes, onions and swiss chard (I even used the stems!) and saute everything except the chard leaves in 2 TB of oil in a skillet until soft. Then add chard leaves and cook for 2 minutes.

3. Add tomatoes, sour cream, milk and parmasagn cheese and cook until smooth and creamy and heated through. Add salt and pepper (and any other herbs) to taste.

4. Serve over pasta and enjoy!

I told you that was easy! Now go visit your local farmer and make this for dinner! :)

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

F is for....

Farm Fairies

and Frogs. I have been having way too much fun with making sensory trays to go with our "letter of the week". So be prepared for more! Many, many more! And here is a little note on sensory trays, their educational value, and where to get started. They provide a lot of experimenting and creative play with new textures and mediums. Some people keep them out or ready to go for long periods, I usually just do 1-2 a week and save the items for something else later. :)!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Down on the Farm

So this week we picked up our first CSA share at Great Country Farms! As you may already know, I love this place! It is packed with fun things for everyone, including a jumping pillow, putt-putt, animals, playgrounds, mazes and giant slides! Not to mention our box of fresh veggies, and herbs, and some cherries and PYO black raspberries! Yum. We ended up going a second time this week after our original waterpark plans with my mom didn't work out yesterday.

Even my cuddle-pie loved it with Giraffe squeaky toy in hand. We love Sophie, do you?

There were some adorable goslings at the farm who ate food right out of our hands. CUTE! And the mama goose just hissed at us. haha.

So much make-believe fun!

And this guy entertained us with a feather show! Isn't he great?

My goofy girl.

And they had cute, cute, cute baby goats!!!! I have a thing for baby goats! They were as friendly as can be and kept licking Anastasia to pieces. She has a way with animals. And so does Kieran apparently:
Is that not the cutest baby on the cutest blow-up cow? Like I said. Something for everyone. After our trip yesterday, we stopped at the grocery store to pick up bread, salad dressing and a kitten:
Only, the kitten wasn't on my list. She was wandering around hopelessly in the very busy parking lot. Anastasia has not put her down since we brought her home. We are planning on finding her a new forever home somewhere else...... but I kind of really want to keep her. She is the sweetest little kitty. Besides my dear Pasqual of course. Anybody want her??? No? Okay, maybe we will just HAVE to keep her.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Best day ever!!

Today was awesome. We have been talking about visiting Douthat State Park for some time now, and finally decided to do it! We decided to visit Falling Springs Waterfall before heading to the park, and I am so glad we did. It was a bit of a drive, but worth every moment.

We arrived at the breathtaking falls, that were just off the road. You could overlook the fall that dropped 80 feet into a series of cascading pools below. Beautiful doesn't begin to describe what we saw. We did see some people at the bottom of the falls and I was instantly needing to be down, underneath the falling water. But the path looked long, steep, and like this:

Yeah. That was the path. I had to convince Nick that we had to go down there with a 4-year-old, a 2-year-old, and a 7-month old in the Beco... who doesn't always love the Beco. But I am a good persuader. And Nick wanted to hike down as much as I did, only he is a little more reasonable and just a little less crazy.

So, we went down the crazy rock scramble, and a very kind man (with a southern accent and missing tooth) helped Isabel and I over some tricky boulders. It was a short, rocky path and again, worth the danger we put ourselves in to walk behind the amazing fall.

Water fell all over and around us. It was astounding. Time stood still. Even Kieran enjoyed it. But who wouldn't? If you looked up from beneath the fall, it looked like this: And life doesn't really get any better.

Except that everyday I have these people to love under the falls, in a cave and everywhere...

And we finished our adventure, with a dip in the lake at Douthat. It was beautiful, fun, relaxing and refreshing.

I could have stayed there forever. I declared today a "daycation" and we plan to take more this summer. It is so difficult sometimes to leave the responsibilities of our little homestead, but coming back from a day like today renews one's spirit and strengthens the bond of our family. And while I have many favorite days, this was one of the best. ;)

Friday, June 10, 2011

Little House in the Big Valley

Oh me, oh my, how I love cherry pie!
It is that time of year again, here in our little house in the big Valley. Can you guess what books we just began reading? The Little House books of course! We are starting with Little House in the Big Woods. I don't recall loving these books as much when I was younger as I do now, reading them aloud to my daughters. But something is certain, these stories make me long for a simpler time, a slower life and a richer, more flavorful existence.

When my children grow old, I want them to remember picking cherries, making jam together and baking pies. I don't want them to remember how much time Mommy spent on the computer or talking on the cell phone or how many movies they watched when mommy needed a moment or two. In fact, after reading how cell phones are slowly killing us, I feel inclined to burn mine while simultaneously throwing my laptop out the window. Especially in light of our recent phone and electric bill this month, which could have very well have been more than Pa Ingalls made in his lifetime. None the less, I enjoy picking cherries with my sweeties.

This is the first year I had some little helpers. Sadly we lost half of our cherry tree this winter and my heart is breaking as I admit that my tree is probably dieing. I picked every cherry I could in order to make and enjoy pies and jam as if they are the last we might eat from this tree. We also asked our kind, elderly neighbors if we could have some of their cherries since they don't pick them. They told me to take as many as I liked even though my baby fussed his little head off during our visit with them. They also told me to watch out for the bear!! Apparently they had a bear picking cherries earlier that day and he was 6 feet tall or so they said. But the pies and jam beckoned me, and I went ahead and picked them that evening. As the sky grew dark I wasn't sure if I was more afraid of the bear, or a neighbor with a gun who might think I was a bear, so I hurried in before some unkind fate became of me.

So, hours of pitting later we have cherries in the freezer, cherries in jars, cherries in a pie and cherries in a strudel... and somehow, it still isn't enough! I am already planning my future orchard packed with cherry trees. Both girls helped with the pitting:

It is nice reading the Little House books, because Laura's story brings great importance to the seasonal gathering and preparing of food. My friend Sharon and I were dreaming the other day of how nice it would be to live like they did in Laura Ingall's day, and then our power went out last night for quite a while and you could say we had a little taste of that. Everything was so dark and quiet. We had a peaceful dinner and our house was too dark for the tasks I had lined up. So we went outside and played in the last hour of daylight. We talked to our neighbors who were all out on their porches too. The children went to bed quickly and quietly, reverent almost to the peace and quiet of a simpler life. I did miss my sewing machine and a little midnight Internet surfing, or even adequate reading light, but I enjoyed the pause, the slowness that seemed to keep my babies small and still for a few moments longer than usual. I could relax without worrying about a long to-do list. It was lovely. But I will say, there is also something lovely about a flushing toilet and a washing machine. I suppose I just need to find a healthy balance between simplicity and technology as we make out own journey, in our own little house in this great big valley.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

A Home for a Fairy...

We have a very big, old tree in the middle of our yard. It is enchanted I am sure. If you look really closely you might come across a brand, new, shiny fairy house:

Anastasia and I worked together to create this little house for the fairies. It was SO MUCH FUN. Anastasia was beside herself with glee and already has plans for her new fairy friend when they meet and become best friends. I explained to her how dangerous it is for a fairy to befriend a human.

We used little furniture and sweater scraps to cozy the place up. And spruced up the outside with hydrangas. I think a fairy would be very happy to live here.

First thing this morning, Anastasia wanted to go outside and see if any fairies had moved in. We tiptoed very quietly, and were terribly dissapointed that there were no fairies to be found. But they had been there! And they left us a letter and a gift of gathered food from the forest!!!
Little snips of lettuce, tiny snap peas, blueberries and cherries. Yum! We had a little feast fit for fairies this morning! And here is what our letter said:

"Dear children,

Thank you for the beautiful house. Please enjoy this fairy food we picked for you from the forest. I am Anica, a tree fairy. I fly around helping trees, painting leaves and using sap to repair hurt trees.I am very busy and its important we don't get caught by people. The bed was so soft and the flowers so pretty. I especially love the shiny pebbles. We fairies love shiny things you know. Thank you again, so much.


Anica, fairy of the forest"

I do hope we here from her again soon!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Pasqual and things...

Woah. It has been hot. Really hot. We went to the arboretum with our playgroup yesterday and vistied the little pond. It was 98degrees. The tadpoles that the girls loved last month have all turned into frogs. We caught snails instead. :) So this is our new companion:

It is difficult to photograph a fuzzy black cat. He is sweet. Very, very sweet. And as a bonus, he doesn't poop and pee on things. Sadly little orange, pee-cat had to go. The final straw was when he just randomly peed on Kieran's blanket. WRONG MOVE PEE-CAT. The shelter didn't want him back even though I signed the paper that stated I HAD TO BRING HIM BACK TO THEM. It was a bit of an ordeal. What did the lady at the shelter tell me to do? "Make him an outdoor cat because he is better off taking his chances with the busy road." Well what are shelters for exactly? Anyway. End Rant. It was a sad day because the girls loved Pumpkin Pie (Pee-Cat) Puff sooooo we had milkshakes and visited Petco to look at the cats for adoption there. That is where we met a very furry black cat named Blake. We filled out an application and now we have a perfect cat who walked out of our clock:

And he walked into our lives and I hope he stays here for a very long time.

I love black cats. We named him Pasqual (pronounced Pas-cal) for one reason or another. It suits him well. I hope you all stay cool this week, and keep your puppies and kitties out of the heat and in loving arms! :)