Seedlings

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It’s the weekend!  Hoping that these seedlings can get some more of this sun this weekend.  We will be putting the pumpkins, arugula and a couple of the flower varieties in the ground.  The weather looks good for this weekend but it looks like we will be back to rain for most of next week so I think I will let everything else stay inside for a while longer. This week, I planted Sweet Pea flowers on the fence between the pool and the garden.  I have been so inspired by Floret flower farm over the past year and as I mentioned, we will be incorporating a lot of flowers for cutting into our garden.  I think that it is going to be really fun for the girls because as much as they like our veggies, they are infinitely more interested in having flowers in their bedrooms.  I have absolutely no idea if the Sweet Peas (or anything else) will flourish but I am following all of Floret’s advice and crossing my fingers that we have a wall of flowers this spring.  We have 15 different kinds of cut flowers seeded right now and we are also going to try and grow Dahlias this year.  Dahlias are tricky in Massachusetts because you should dig the bulbs up for the winter, which obviously adds more work, and some people have warned me that the bulbs get eaten by moles and chipmunks.  But we’ll see.  As I said to my Dad this week, the benefit of this being a hobby is that if something doesn’t work out, it’s not like I am a farmer depending on income.  I planted the Sweet Peas in a garden that has barely been cleaned out.  I was literally raking leaves and then digging the holes on Wednesday evening – in the rain.  I was waiting to get them in the ground but they were getting really “leggy” and then I read that Sweet Peas should be planted as soon as the ground is workable so after I finished work, I just planted them. This weekend, the goal is to get that garden cleaned up and prepped for pumpkins and we need to build a few more beds.

Over the winter I took lots of photos that I intended to blog about but never did.  But after this dreary week, when I saw this photo of these lemon cookies we made, they brightened my day and I just had to post them.  They were so, so good.  As usual, I didn’t put the cookies back into the fridge to firm up after we cut the rings so they don’t look as pretty as they should. But if you like lemon and have the patience to make lemon curd (you could always buy it, too!), these are worth it.  Our whole family loved them.  We got the recipe from Sweet Paul.  Go here to get the recipe and see what they should look like. xo

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After being away for a work trip, it was so great to get home. I arrived to a clean kitchen (bliss!), flowers and some homemade cards. The pink card was supposed to be sent to me while I was away but it never made it in the mail. Good thing, because I definitely didn’t have a lot of time to be looking for fairies and vampires. The weather has been crazy so all of our spiderwebs are mangled and full of leaves. Guess that makes them even more spooky??  Teagan wanted a big spider on the house but I couldn’t find any more in the stores when I went so we decided to make one. We used a styrofoam dome that we painted black and two hula hoops that we cut into quarters. We just wrapped the “legs” in chunky black yarn and stuck them into the foam.

Sadly, right before I left, we lost one of our bunnies. His name was Penny and he was really cute and friendly. The kids were devastated. While I was gone, Sean and the girls decided that the remaining bunny (S’mores) was lonely so they got him a friend. They still haven’t decided on a name for him yet but at the moment all possible ideas revolve around Harry Potter characters and characters from Madagascar.

I am flying through the Livie I am knitting for my cousin’s daughter. I love this sweater and this yarn. I hope it fits her. I also can’t wait to make it again in a different color. I see now why people love to knit for babies. So fast. The last child-sized garment I knit was a sweater for Ceara when she was 3 and 1/2 and she refused to wear it. It was bright blue (her favorite color at the time) so when it came time that Teagan could wear it, she wouldn’t wear it either because she only wore pink and purple at that age. Sigh.

After being away and eating way too much restaurant food, I was dying to get back in the kitchen.  Before I left, I took a few cookbooks out of the library – one of my favorite things to do.  One was Mad Hungry – Feeding Men and Boys by Lucinda Scala Quinn.  I have actually taken this out before and wanted to make these beef empanadas the last time.  The have the craziest combination of ingredients – onions, peppers, raisins, honey, cumin and pimento olives but they were so, so good.  The picture is not very good – actually in hindsight kind of gross looking – but trust me that the filling is so good and authentic tasting.  I think the filling would make great appetizers in little phyllo cups.  Then, I had to try and re-create this AMAZING salad that I had at Bluebeard in Indianapolis.  We shared it as an appetizer and our whole team loved it.  I came pretty close, I think.  Sean is not a fan of butternut squash and he said, “I didn’t think I was going to like this salad but I love it.” Ingredients: butternut squash (roasted with olive oil, s&p and a little maple syrup), pancetta, shallots (i cooked them with the pancetta), currants, pepitas, shaved manchego, arugula and basil.  Roast the butternut squash, adding the currants for the last 10 minutes, combine with arugula and basil so that it wilts, add pancetta and shallots, dress with vinaigrette and finish with manchego and pepitas.  It is AMAZING! (all caps needed again) For the vinaigrette, I reduced a cup and 1/2 of sparkling apple cider and two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar, then I whisked it together with a 1/2 cup of olive oil, a couple squirts of dijon and s&p.  Making this all fall – since I have about 10,000 butternut squash. xo

In the Summer Groove

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There’s something about this year that the summer really feels like summer.  I’m not sure how to explain it  but even with work and summer softball, I really feel like I have been soaking it in.  The kids seemed more relaxed, too.  I’m so glad we took it easy on the camps this year and that I was able to work from home more and have my mom and my mother-in-law watch the girls.  Growing up with a mother who was a teacher (at least when I was young), I was always able to be home, in my own house, playing in my own yard during the summer.  I think that’s what made it feel like it lasted so long and what made it feel like such a break.  When everything is over-scheduled, it goes by in a blur.  With Ceara turning 13 this week, I am fully-appreciating how fleeting these childhood days are and I’m glad that we have had some good family time and that they have been able to relax and swim and hang out with their friends.  I am also so glad that they have had this time with their grandmothers.  I’m feeling pretty lucky that we have that as an option because I know lots of people don’t.

After finishing my beach tank, I wanted to knit something that was relatively quick and I wanted to start my Christmas gift-making in earnest.  I had pinned this Drop Stitch Cowl last year thinking I might make it for someone but never did.  It came together really quickly.  I like it but don’t love it so I think I might experiment with weaving in a color or two.

I’m not sure what to say about the number of butternut squash, cucumbers and pumpkins we have.  It’s like a full-time job guiding the vines away from the tomatoes and eggplants! I knew I was putting too much in the space but I have to admit it’s a little out of control.  I also feel like the bees are really helping the garden this year.  Last year, I felt like I never saw any of our bees in the garden and this year, you can’t look in a flower and not see a bee.  It’s pretty incredible. xo

Summer Solstice

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Summer has officially started at our house.  The girls got out of school Friday and we had a great weekend swimming, gardening, crafting and relaxing.  They both had great years and I am so proud of them. I hope they can really soak up the summer and recharge.  The garden is all planted. Finally.  We decided to hold off on building the raised beds this year because we needed to get the plants in the ground and we just didn’t have the time.  That’s OK.  I’m really happy with how everything looks and it always feels good be on top of the weeds – no matter how short-lived that might be. 🙂

We have three huge rhubarb plants in our yard.  I need to figure out some more rhubarb recipes because YUM.  This pie was gone in no time.  Everyone loves it.  For the past two years I have used this recipe from Smitten Kitchen.  In her improved version, she uses tapioca but I use 1/4 of cornstarch and don’t find it too runny at all.  It’s perfectly sweet and tart.

I am almost done with my Beach Tank.  I attempted to do the KAL  and didn’t make the Memorial Day deadline but I am committed to having it for the 4th of July.  Never have I ever enjoyed  knitting something as much as this.  The yarns she recommended are just so soft and squishy.  I used Wool and the Gang’s Shiny Happy Cotton and Shibui Knits Staccato.  Details can be found on my Ravelry page.  I can’t wait to finish this up and wear it.

Finally, this washed stack from my stash is destined to become skirts for me and the girls. More on that soon. xo