Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Bubble Trouble

Last week, the boys went to a library program called "Bubble Trouble".  They did a really cute craft that involved making fish out of plastic bubble wrap.  They really enjoyed this craft and asked to do it again.  So I looked around the house for some bubble wrap, and sure enough, I found a piece.  I cut out circles and triangles and one square.  The boys paint the bubble wrap on the "bumpy" side and then press it onto the paper like a stamp.  One circle and one triangle make a fish.  Malachi used a square and a triangle to make a house.  There are so many possibilities.  I set the boys up on the deck today while Lydia is asleep so they could create to their hearts' content (and I could have a quiet house for the baby).

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Kitchen teaser

Here's Lydia on the kitchen counter, which gives you a little preview of the orange.  It's still not done, but I did get a chance to paint a little today.  I also taught the boys how to sew today.  They did really well.  They were making presents for their cousins, so I will keep their project a surprise for now.
Tomatoes are starting to roll in from the garden.  Right now I have more than Lydia and I can eat but not enough for a whole batch for canning.  It won't be much longer, though, and tomatoes should be popping out all over!  I hope to make it to the farm soon to pick a bunch of fruit (for jam, freezing, sauces, etc). 
Oh, and it turns out that some of the peppers I planted have a bit of a kick to them.  It's not tons, more like a poblano or some other milder chile, but I thought they were bells, so it was a surprise.  It made the fajitas last night have a bit more heat than expected (which was not a bad thing).

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Mexican food and my kids

I love Mexican food.  I'm crazy about Mexico in general, and lots of other Latin American countries' food, too.  Anyway, I've been loving the fact that tomatoes, cilantro, and red onion from my garden have been put to good use: salsa.  My mother-in-law makes fresh salsas a lot, even in the winter when she uses canned tomatoes but adds the cilantro fresh (which really makes it wonderful).  This one pictured includes tomatoes, lime juice, cilantro, red onion, jalapeno, garlic, and just a tiny bit of left-over bell pepper.  Yum.  I ate it all for a snack a minute ago and then remembered that I'm making fajitas for dinner.  No problem, I can make more.  (And this time, I may include fresh sweet corn...)

The boys have been playing really well together lately.  Of course, they do still have their fights, but they do seem to enjoy each other's company a lot lately.

Lydia loves shoes.  She loves to bring shoes to me to show that she wants to go outside, but she also loves to just wear them.  Here she is trying on the "ruby red slippers" her daddy bought her at a garage sale.  She convinced her aunt to help her try on every pair of shoes she could find!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Garlic Ranch Dressing

This is an easy salad dressing or ranch dip.  It does NOT taste like Hidden Valley Ranch, but I really like it.  Don't try to eat it right away, or it is very bland.  (Sorry to my friends that I made it fresh for and didn't let it sit!)  It needs to sit for an hour or so to really taste good, and it is definately stronger the second day.
1 c plain yogurt (I often heap the cup)
1/3 c milk (optional, only for making it runnier)
1 clove garlic
1T or so minced fresh chives
2 tsp red wine vinegar OR juice of 1 lemon
1/2 tsp salt (I used sea salt)
pepper to taste
1 tsp dried dill
1 tsp dried parsely
Mince the garlic and then smash it into the salt to make a paste.  Then just mix everything together. 

This is really good as a dip or on chicken wraps!  I don't add any milk for a dip.  Lydia eats it with a spoon.  She LOVES it.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Ripe tomatoes and etc

Finally, a kid after my own heart: Lydia eats tomatoes right from the garden!  Yesterday, I picked a tomato, and she wanted to hold it.  I let her.  I checked on the zucchini (which is not doing well), and when I turned back around, she had already eaten half of it!  Her little face was covered in tomato juice.  She kept saying "MMMM" after each bite!  It was too cute.  She ate another one today.

In other news, Malachi has finally tried the zucchini cake, and now loves it.  He refused to try it the first 2 times I made it, but the third time, he finally took a bite and discovered that it doesn't taste like zucchini, and now he loves it, too.

Elijah and Malachi have assured me that they will try cherry tomatoes, but not "real" tomatoes.  I guess that's progress.  They were very excited to pull out their own carrots today and munch on them for a little snack. 

I have lots of basil, and it's doing great.  I've made a couple of batches of pesto.  Malachi and Lydia love it, although Elijah won't eat it.  We like to top ravioli or tortellini with fresh pesto.  I also like it on salad and veggies. 

So far, I've only had a few tomatoes a day, and Lydia and I are eating them up, but soon the garden should be absolutely exploding with tomatoes.  Yummm.... I'm looking forward to canning lots of salsa and tomato sauce.

I will try to get some pictures and write a bit more soon.  It's been a bit hectic this week; Nathaniel's in England, and Lydia wants to nurse all the time, so it's hard to get much done.

Thursday, July 8, 2010


This morning I did it.  I painted my kitchen orange.  And I mean ORANGE, as in so bright my husband claims it makes his eyes hurt.  I love it.  I don't have any pictures yet, because I want to wait until I get another coat on it.  Covering up the stenciling the previous owners did is taking quite a bit of paint. 

Now I just have to figure out exactly how I'm going to incorpoate the blue I want as an accent color.  Fun stuff.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Zucchini Cake and gardening

It's so nice to have fresh zucchini.  I picked my first one from the garden yesterday, and I had some from my sister's neighbor, so I have been happy to make zucchini cake.  This is my grandmother's recipe, with some (healthier) modifications. 
Preheat the oven to 325 and mix together:
2 c grated zucchini
1 c applesauce
3 eggs
3 c whole wheat flour
1 c sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 or 3 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla
Bake in a greased 9 x 13 pan for about 45 minutes.  Let cool, then top with icing:
Cream together:
1 (8oz) cream cheese
1 c powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 T softened butter (optional)
It disappears fast around here.

Also in the garden now, the tomatillos look pretty:
And I even have 3 orangish tomatoes.  The cantaloupes have blooms.  Two pepper plants have little peppers.  And I have found that I have husk tomatoes growing in my yard:
These daylillies are looking good.  I transplanted them next to the deck last fall, so I'm glad to see them blooming.