Monday, June 30, 2014

Dinner and a Play- The Secret Garden

As we make our way through the classics, The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgsen Burnett was well overdue for a read.  This is the perfect time to read it as we have just gotten our own garden growing!
I was a little worried that it wouldn't capture Harris' attention, and while it wasn't a "can't put it down" read for him, he did enjoy it and loved the character Dikon.

We had an opportunity to go see a local production of the Secret Garden (it was a musical) at an outdoor venue and though it wasn't nearly as good as the book, it was an enjoyable evening and fun to compare and contrast the book and play.  I also plan on watching the movie with the children as I remember it being a lovely movie with great scenery (I could be dead wrong on that one- I was a kid when I watched it!).

Before the play, we took along a picnic and enjoyed our dinner out of doors on a beautiful night!

In fitting with the theme of the book, I made little chocolate pots with mint sprigs for dessert.

P.S.  Here's some of our other dinner and a movies...

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Baby Bunnies

Just in case your weekend needs a shot of cuteness...

Last weekend, Bryce found a little borough of baby bunnies in our yard.  They were just so sweet and tiny and I've loved watching them this past week.  We love our bunnies that live in the hedge and now we have even more.  Now if only they don't find the garden before we have a fence...

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

First Harvest

We've had our first harvest in the garden and a very satisfying one at that!  The only bummer about harvesting our French Breakfast radishes now is that Grace is not yet home to enjoy one of her favorite vegetables!  Hopefully, they will last in the refrigerator until she gets home.

They were perfect atop fresh homemade bread* that was spread with butter and salt sprinkled on top.

*Is it still homemade if it's made in the bread machine?

Monday, June 23, 2014


I had my first taste of rhubarb years ago when I was visiting my in-laws for the first time in Iowa. Marilyn made a rhubarb pie and it was so, so good!  Even though I loved it, I haven't really done much with rhubarb until this year.  I'm trying harder to enjoy the harvest of each season and so while rhubarb was readily available at the market this year, I stocked up and got to baking, canning and stewing!

By far, my favorite thing I made was this Rhubarb Rosewater Syrup.  It tasted like roses and was delicious on ice cream, atop yogurt, on waffles and in Champagne or Seltzer Water.

I loved the syrup so much that I also canned a rhubarb syrup (from Food in Jars) that is also totally delicious! I didn't add the rosewater because it makes me nervous to mess with canning recipes, but I don't honestly know why a touch of rosewater would change the cannability of the syrup.  Anyone know?

The syrup is absolutely delicious in all sorts of drinks- from Prosecco to plain Seltzer water to Rhubarb Mojitos.  And you really just can't get a prettier drink.  Am I right or what?

I can hardly think of rhubarb without thinking of Patricia Polacco's book, My Rotten Red Headed Older Brother.  I've had this book since well before children (my Mom got it for me my first year of teaching) and it's still a favorite!

Friday, June 20, 2014

Peony Season

Our peony season has ended and oh my, was it a beautiful and lovely one.  This was the best year yet for our peonies, and I'm happy to report that they have finally recovered from the disaster of a couple of years ago.  

One of the things I enjoyed the most about this years peonies was that I had so many blooms that I was able to give aways bunches of them!  That made me happy!

We even had a small dinner party to celebrate the peonies!

I made big and small arrangements for all over the house!  I even made Harris a "masculine" all white arrangement (he then let me know that he doesn't mind pink so much!). 

And here are some of the blooms...

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

An Open Pantry

I love our house and there are really only a few things I would add or change about it if I could.  One of those things would be to add a large pantry- or really any pantry at all!  Of and on I've tried different set- ups in the kitchen trying to figure out how it's best to keep our pantry staples organized, but recently I had a eureka moment where I realized I could have an open pantry in the kitchen where our bulletin board has always hung.

I already stored our dry goods in Le Parfait jars and Weck jars, which I think lends themselves beautifully to both display and function!  It's also super convenient to have some of my canned items on the shelf so that I don't forget to use them!

I really, really wanted marble shelves since I felt like they would continue the look I already have going on in my kitchen.  The only challenge was that they are each 39 pounds without anything on them!  We used the very best fasteners we could find (they are deck screws) and each one is solidly in a stud.  My father-in-law, who helped install them, says that they are so solid we could hang on them which, of course, gives me peace of mind that nothing is going to come crashing down!  I also really love the brackets that we used.  I think they look simple and classic.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

In the Garden

I have loved watching our garden grow and find myself wandering amongst the beds several times a day looking for new emerging plants, to check that my snap peas are finding something to grab on to and to find relief in the knowledge that deer/rabbits have not munched on the greens!

When deciding what to plant we steered away from items that we get a lot of at our CSA and instead planted vegetables we enjoy but don't get any (or much of) at the farm.  Also, I wanted to squeeze in some yellow squash but the size of the garden doesn't really allow that as I'm told they get quite large and in charge.

Inside the raised beds are where the vegetables have been planted and on the perimeter are flowers for cutting.  Also, I stuck a few more herbs in the perimeter but my main herb area is still by the kitchen door.  By each gate area (which we will hopefully decide on soon!) are my favorite lavender plants.

With the exception of tomato plants and the sugar snap peas, the vegetables were planted by seed.  Most of the items have come up except the peppers of which there are indeed two lonely sprouts but I'm unsure if they are a pepper plant or a weed!  Ha!

The Dahlias were bought as tubers and the zinnias as little plants.  I've had success in the past with zinnias from seed but our local nursery had a sale and I couldn't resist buying them already started.  They are growing like crazy and a few already have blooms about to pop!

Vegetables and Flowers Planted

Beets (Chioggia)
Bean (Kentucky Wonder and )
Radish (French Breakfast)
Bean (Mix)
Green Peas (Sugar Ann Snap Pea)
Sweet Pepper (Carnival Hybrid Mix)
Onion (Evergreen Long White Bunching)
Cucumber (Bush Champion)
Carrot (Danver Half Long)
2 Brandywine Tomatos
2 Sun Sugar Tomatos
1 Husky Cherry Red Tomato
2 Coneflowers
1 Black Eyed Susan
Flat Leaf Parsley
2 Delphiniums
1 Hollyhock
1 Pink Lemonade Blueberry
1 Blueberry
4 Hidcote Lavender

Also?  The roses are blooming and they are spectacular...

Monday, June 16, 2014

Our Weekend

This weekend was so very full!  We started off on Friday with a potluck celebration with Grace's class as they finished up 6th grade.  It's hard to believe that her first year of "middle school" is over, but she has grown so much (figuratively and literally 4 inches!) and we are so proud of her.  Friday evening we went out to a local tavern to enjoy a Father's Day meal together before Grace left for Colorado.

Very early Saturday morning Bryce took Grace to the airport as she embarked on a flight to Colorado to attend camp and visit her Grandparents.  By herself.  She was so excited to go on this adventure and we are so proud of her for being so brave and independent.

Saturday evening, Bryce and Harris attended a rocket launch Boy Scout event that was followed by a cookout and campout.  I stayed home, built a fire on the porch and read, Gone With the Wind.

On Saturday, Father's Day, we had a very fun afternoon and evening at the pool with some of our very favorite families.  It was the perfect ending to a great weekend!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

A Tennis Gathering

This spring, Gretchen and I co-captained a USTA tennis team.  When we were asked to captain we considered saying no because we had absolutely no experience and had only actually played on a team once before.  However, we wanted to be able to play doubles together so we agreed knowing that our tennis facility would help as much as they could.  It's been such a wonderful experience and really lovely getting to know our teammates (many of whom we didn't know).  And those doubles matches?  We haven't played together once since we were needed to play singles!

To celebrate our season, Gretchen and I hosted a little gathering for our team.  Everyone brought something to munch on and we provided the cocktails.  Our drink of the night was a Pimms Cup as a nod to the official drink of Wimbledon!  I'd never had a Pimms Cup and was surprised at how good it was!  Plus, we decided the addition of the cucumber spear made it healthy.

I also made tennis ball cupcakes and I just love how cute they are!  The tennis ball is actually a gumball and  they really couldn't have been simpler to make.  I also discovered how handy it is to have a giant tip to pipe out the icing.  I've always wondered how people got that ball of icing on the top and now I know.

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