Sunday, July 31, 2011

A Visit with Grandparents

Bryce's parents left us yesterday to travel home after spending a little over a week with us.  It was a good week.  Unfortunately, the beginning of the week found Bryce very sick (we are still waiting on the full blood work but it is most likely tick related) and we were worried that the whole week was going to be a bit of a wash.  However, the second round of antibiotics worked some magic and Bryce was slowly able to be a part of things.

One afternoon we traveled to a state park where there is giant boulder field.   When you hit the rocks with a hammer they "ring" in different tones.  Harris loved hitting those rocks with hammers!

Gran helped Grace with building a permanent fairy house.

Al spent most of the week building the children a playhouse.  Friends, this playhouse it so charming and fun that I'm ready to move in.  I can't wait to share it with you!

We went out to dinner to celebrate Al and Marilyn's 27th wedding anniversary!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Tic Tac Toe in the Garden

At the beginning of the summer I spotted this post on Ohdeedoh that featured a children's garden in Virginia.  As you may have realized, I am a sucker for children' s gardens!  One of the (many) things I loved about this garden was the tic tac toe game they had created and so we set out to recreate something similar in our own children's garden.

We used stone that we already had and Bryce cut it using his tile saw.  I found cast iron critters at Amazon and sprayed them with clear Rustoleum to stop them from rusting since I plan on keeping them outside. We tucked in some moss in the crevices of the game and hope that more will grow!  I love that it adds a bit of whimsy to the garden!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Construction Update

Our smallish addition is moving right along!  I thought I'd share some pictures of the progress being made.

Our whole house got a new roof.  I think it looks pretty sharp!

Also?  Bryce's parents are visiting this week and Al has started a construction project of his own by the children's garden.  Any guesses what it might be?

Monday, July 25, 2011

Favorite Things #10

Our neighbors just got back from an incredible four week trip to Paris!  Can you believe that?  They have been waiting for a long time to do this, and I was so excited to hear that their trip exceeded all of their expectations!  It was a trip of a lifetime and it has definitely got me thinking about whether or not we will ever be able to do something similar (we went to Paris for a week years ago and I loved everything about it!).

Before they left, Marci asked if I wanted her to bring me back anything specific and my immediate answer was Laduree macaroons!  I've seen these famous macaroons around the blog and in magazines and I thought that I would love to try them straight from Paris. They did not disappoint!  The packaging was gorgeous as were the macaroons themselves! Thank you to John, Marci, and Hannah!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Our Rainbow Garden

I'm super excited today to share a project that has been 8 or 9 months in the making!  Last fall, the children and I started a rainbow garden inspired by the book, Planting a Rainbow by Lois Ehlert.

We picked a spot right by our driveway so that we could enjoy it as much as possible.  I will admit that I was a little worried that the garden would not be very pretty to look at because of the riot of color (in a straight line no less!) but that has proven to be an unfounded concern.  One of the best things about the garden has been the continual surprises and color.  Once one plant fades another takes up the slack!  The garden has been delightful to watch grow and bloom!

We mostly used plants that were suggested in the book though we did have to scale back a little due to size constraints.  We planted tulip, daffodil, crocus and iris bulbs in the fall and were thrilled when they poked up this spring!

With the exception of the zinnias, we planted the rest of the garden with plants from the nursery.  The green zinnias were from seed and the lavender was already planted.  Unbelievably, the hardest color to get was red!  We planted a red rose but it turned out to be hot pink!  Also, we had planted an orange poppy that was doing wonderfully and was ready to pop open, but we came home one day to discover that the bud had fallen off!

Yellow and Oranges





Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Moonshot and Moon Pies

Forty-two years ago Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin first set foot on the moon!  Isn't that simply astounding?  It absolutely blows my mind that cell phones and computers weren't a household staple but we were able to put someone on the moon!

I thought that today was a great day to read, Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11 by Brian Floca to the children,  and since we haven't made anything together in the kitchen lately, we tried our hand at making old fashioned Moon Pies.

Moonshot is a gorgeously, and realistically, illustrated story of Apollo 11's trip to the moon.  It's a wealth of information in several different formats- there is an illustrated timeline on the front pages and an essay detailing the history of the flight on the back.

In an effort to not have to go to the store, I cobbled together several different recipes to make the Moon Pies.  I used this recipe for the graham cracker cookies and this recipe for homemade marshmallow fluff.  I sort of cheated and spread chocolate on the top of each Moon Pie instead of dipping the whole thing.  A big glass of cold milk was a perfect accompaniment!

Monday, July 18, 2011


Kathleen and I have tried four different butterbeer recipes in the past two days, and I'm sorry to report that we still have not found "the one."

Three of the recipes we tried used cream soda as the base of the drink and three involved ice cream.   They were all good but all a little too sweet.  In my mind, the butterbeer that Harry, Ron and Hermione enjoy is not a dessert drink.

The first one we tried used a whipped cream head for the cream soda base with a little added butter extract.

Next, we tried a drink that had spices and butter mixed in with the ice cream and warm cream soda poured over the ice cream.  This one was actually very tasty but did not have much of a butter undertone at all.

We mixed butterscotch syrup with ice cream and poured cold cream soda on the ice cream.  This one just tasted like a cream soda float.

Lastly, we tried the same ice cream combination as above (cinnamon, nutmeg, butter and brown sugar) with warm apple cider.  I thought this one had the most potential but it had too much of an apple pie taste!  However, I thought it looked great!

Next time, we are going to try to make butterscotch syrup and add that to various combinations, maybe with some rum extract?  The search goes on...
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