Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day Bikes and Cupcakes

We've had such a lovely long weekend.  Each Memorial Day our town has a charming parade, and this year the children decided to decorate their bikes and ride in it.  After a quick trip to the party store for a few supplies, they got to work making their bikes festive.  They had lots of fun!

 After the parade, we went to Gretchen's house for a gathering and I took these cupcakes.  I added the raspberry to give the cupcake a little pizzazz and act as a flag holder.  I think they turned out really cute!


Friday, May 27, 2011

A Few Seasonal Firsts

This evening, I felt like we should kick off the holiday weekend with a few firsts for this new summery season.  I made a pitcher of homemade lemonade, a fresh salad with the first lettuce from the farm and I picked up our first batch of cherries.  Honestly, they were the best cherries I've ever had!  After Grace had  a taste of the lemonade she declared, "Everything tastes better homemade."  I do love that girl.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Miss Rumphius- Bringing Books to Life

I've always liked the picture book, Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney for its beautiful illustrations and its gentle and sweet story.  I especially like the message it conveys that we can all do something to make the world a more beautiful place.   Miss Rumphius has three goals in life- to live by the sea, visit faraway places and to make the world a more beautiful place.  This is the story about how she accomplishes each goal, especially the most difficult, and perhaps most important, goal of making the world more beautiful by sowing lupine seeds anywhere and everywhere.

With this book in mind, I purchased lupine seeds last summer on our trip to Maine.

A few days ago, I read the story to the children and we sowed our very own lupine seeds.  We planted some in our children's garden and some in a local park.  We mixed the seeds with a little dirt and then scattered the mixture everywhere.  We can't wait to see what comes up!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

A vintage shirt

A couple of weeks ago I found this cute, summery shirt at a local consignment shop.  Apparently, it is from the 1970's and was made in Greece.  I envision it over a bathing suit, with shorts and cute strappy sandals and/or skinny jeans and flats.  I love the detail.  Now if only I could wear it in Greece...

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Painted Polka Dot Cake

Our newest installation in our painted cake series arrived last week.  I just love it. 

The original polka dot cake.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Happiness Is...

Happiness is...

The first bouquet of peonies brought inside.

Opening day at the farm where the strawberries remind me that the strawberries that I purchase throughout the year are really only very distant cousins of in-season, locally grown strawberries.

A cat that greets you at the door, promptly rolls over onto her back and waits to be loved on.

A new basketball hoop that has brought great joy to a certain 6 year old boy that I know.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Classic Children's Books

One of our "empty nest" list items for the children is to read the classics of children's literature with them.  In an effort to get myself organized I thought I should make a list of the books that fall under this category.  I started by doing a little research and was completely overwhelmed by the many, many books that are considered classics of children's literature.  Every list I found was a little different.  Some only allowed books older than 40 years, some included picture books and some blurred the lines between children and adult books.

In the end, I decided to make a list of older books that I want to make sure that my children read before they leave home.  I'm not including more contemporary books that are just as important to me that my children read (Harry Potter, Hatchet, Stone Fox, Holes, Bridge to Terabithia, Tuck Everlasting, etc.) because that is a whole separate list!  I'm also not including picture books- again, a separate list.

I feel sure that I will be adding to this list.  Please, please share what you would have to add to your own list (even if it's not a classic!).

The Secret Garden
Little House in the Big Woods
Little House on the Prairie
Winnie the Pooh
Pippi Longstocking
Peter Pan
The Wind in the Willows
The Three Muskateers
The Complete Tales of Beatrix Potter
Swiss Family Robinson
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
Anne of Green Gables
Black Beauty
Little Women
Aesop's Fables
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
The Black Stallion
The Reluctant Dragon
The Jungle Books
Chronicles of Narnia
The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood
Treasure Island
Mary Poppins
Charlotte's Web
Stuart Little
The Velveteen Rabbit
Robinson Crusoe
A Christmas Carol
Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
Adventures of Tom Sawyer
The Borrowers
The Hobbit
Gulliver's Travels
Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea
Fairy Tales (Hans Christian Andersen)

P.S.  I thought this was a very comprehensive list!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Granola (Nut Free!)

Please meet my newest obsession, homemade granola.  I haven't made granola in a long time because most recipes have an abundance of nuts in it.  In fact, my favorite granola recipe from The Summer Book by Susan Branch has a cup of nuts in it.  I looked up "nut free" granola recipes on the web, but none of them sounded good to me. In the end, I ended up using Susan's basic recipe and changed some ingredients around.  In fact, I think you can pretty much add or take away ingredients to fit your needs (her recipe calls for sunflower seeds, cashews, almonds and raisins minus the apricots and chocolate chips).

It is so, so good.  I can frequently be found with my spoon hovered over the bowl having "just one more bite."

Granola (adapted from Susan Branch)

5 cups oats
1/2 cup raw sesame seeds
1/2 cup wheat germ
1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 1/2 cup shredded coconut
dried apricots, chopped*
dark chocolate chips*
*however many you like!

Combine the first 6 ingredients and spread on a cookie sheet in a layer.  Bake for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add coconut for last 5 minutes and toast.  Remove from oven and let cool.  When completely cool add apricots and chocolate chips.  

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Bubbles and Anticipation

We had a lovely weekend that included a spring fling social, our town's annual festival, dinner with a whole gaggle of friends (15 children and 13 adults- in a restaurant!), soccer practice, and bubble blowing.  Grace loves blowing bubbles.  I think there is joy in creating something that is so simple and yet beautiful, even if it's only for a fleeting moment or two!  

Also, my anticipation is mounting because I have more blooms than ever on my peony bushes.  It won't be long!  I hope you had a lovely weekend, please share what brought you joy this weekend!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

A Sweater Pillow

Remember this gorgeous pillow?  I'm still enjoying it immensely, so much so that I thought two would be better than one!  I had an old wool sweater that was a little too tight for comfort and I mentioned to my Mom that she should try to make a sweater pillow.

I think that her pillow turned out even more beautiful than the original!  Ruffles get me every time!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Ballerina Cupcakes

To celebrate Grace's performance in the ballet, I made ballerina cupcakes.  I wanted the icing to be the tutu so I piled it up high using an icing tip that was ruffly.  The body was simply a skewer with a leotard shape glued on and a wooden head attached.  My Mom painted the hair, eyes and mouth.  I wasn't planning on attaching arms, but decided at the last minute that she needed arms to look complete so I glued on pipe cleaner arms.  Grace was very happy with her and even happier to eat that much icing!

P.S.  I found the leotard shape here.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Our Ballerina

Grace has been taking ballet this year at a local studio that only focuses on ballet. Instead of a recital at the end of the year they present a ballet, this year is was Coppelia.  From start to finish this production was a wonderful experience for Grace.  She enjoyed the rehearsals, the costumes, the camaraderie and, of course, the performance.  Oh, she also enjoyed the flowers!

P.S.  We got Grace flowers that were lovely but my Mom got Grace the most beautiful tussie mussie (above)  I've ever seen!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day

I hope that this post finds everyone happily rested and relaxed after a nice Mother's Day.  I awoke to breakfast in bed this morning and two lovely stories written just for me (perhaps I was a little too enthusiastic about Will and Kate because both stories involved them!).

my Mom and me

I want to wish the Mothers in my life a very happy day.  I don't believe that one day can do justice to what these women do every day.  My Mom who raised two daughters by herself (and did a fine job if I say so myself!), my Mother-in-Law who raised an excellant son that I'm lucky enough to have married, my sister who parents and works full-time and my sister-in-law who is in that delicious one year old stage.

Also, I'm truly blessed to have amazing and wonderful friends- here, in Atlanta and sprinkled throughout the South. I'm so fortunate to be on this journey with witty, loyal, smart and terrific Moms.  I feel like I've gotten to know many of you through comments and emails and for that I'm appreciative and glad you are a part of this little space.  Thank you and Happy Mother's Day to you all.

P.S.  How great are these shoes that Bryce got me for Mother's Day?  Bows and sparkles?  I don't know that it gets better!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Doughnut Seeds

One morning while I was pouring out cereal a packet of seeds tumbled out (a prize!) with the contents.  Much to our amusement Grace read the seed packet and then went to throw it away!  In no part of her mind could she make sense of it!  Harris, on the other hand, was totally game for giving the seeds a try.

He found a patch of garden to plant the seeds.

He watered them with milk.

And waited overnight for the doughnut seeds to grow.

He was delighted come morning when a new patch of doughnuts had sprouted!  He was even more delighted to eat those doughnuts (as was Grace!).

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


Last fall I planted a lot of daffodil bulbs around our yard.  I intentionally planted late bloomers because I thought we would have more of an opportunity to be outside and enjoy them later in the spring rather than earlier.  Enjoy them we have!

We have tiny, ruffled clusters of daffodils,

miniature daffodils,

yellow and orange daffodils...

teeny, tiny yellow daffodils,

and ruffly, gorgeous daffodils.

My quandary with flowers is always whether to leave them outside to enjoy or bring them inside to enjoy.  We did both.  I think in the fall I'm going to plant even more!

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