Sunday, October 30, 2011

Twas the night before Halloween...

Twas the night before halloween and all through the house...
we have been up to much more than a mouse!

The pre-school party and parade were such fun,
On Thursday, the holiday had truly begun.

On Friday,  a spooky birthday party that couldn't be beat,
Except by the boy's fun at our church's "Trunk or Treat!"

Pumpkins are carved, by the front door with care...
in the hopes that trick-or-treaters soon will be there.

A monster for the boy, with bolts for his ears,
And the girlie made a princess, a lady so dear.
The costumes are packed for a first-grade parade,
And the pizza-man's costume has already been made.

Now children are nestled all snug in their beds,
With visions of CANDY filling their heads.

And tomorrow's the day! It really is true...
So we are all wishing, "Happy Halloween to You!"

Monday, October 24, 2011

garden journal 10.24.11

Garden wrap up. On October 23 (!) I harvested another quart of green beans for the freezer, the rest of the carrots, more cherry tomatoes, and the 6 green romas that are big enough to eat (see above). Ripening the tomatoes with apples in brown bags. I can't believe we are coming up on November next week and I am still harvesting! There are a few more romas coming along, and lots of baby green beans too!  So here is the summary for this years garden:

  • Lettuce:  success! plant more next year...not all at once, do some succession plantings.
  • Peas: mostly a failure. not even enough for a meal. plant earlier? or just forget it?
  • Zucchini: one good zucchini, and a bunch that got started but the heat was too much for them. Try again? Maybe a different cultivar?
  • Cherry tomatoes: great success. the kids loved the orange ones from the farmers market this year too...get some of those next year?
  • Roma tomatoes: success. don't plan vacation for the week they all ripen! (ha) 
  • Herbs: basil quite successful and lots of pesto in my freezer. That was our only herb this year. Next year add cilantro at a minimum so we can make salsa!
  • Strawberries: plants grew gangbusters, very few berries. We'll see if we get some later this fall or if we get a good crop next year. Jury is still out.
  • Pole beans: success once they started to bloom. My July 1 maturation date was more like Sept 10. But I'd grow them again just the same.
  • Carrots: fair. We got some carrots but they didn't do as well as I hoped. Try a different cultivar next year!
Also think about for next year:  scallions? blueberry bushes? watermelon? Oh, so much to think about! But for the first year out, I am really pleased by the garden, by how much joy it brought me, and for the produce. My farmers market doesn't need to fear losing me as a customer any time soon, though.  Every little bit of local is good...whether it is backyard local or farm market local. It was a great summer of fruits and vegetables. Hurrah!

fall festival fun

With a beautiful fall weekend, we had time to go enjoy the activities at a big garden center near us.  Pony rides, an "oil drum train", face painting, pumpkin painting, the hay bale maze, and all the other activities entertained us all! And for me, the beautiful drive through farm country and woods turning a palette of autumn colors rounded out a gorgeous day and some wonderful memories for me.

Halloween is coming! The decorations are out, the candy is bought, the costumes are ready (one home-made and one store bought this year), the cider is being drunk daily, the pumpkin bread has been baked (and one loaf rapidly consumed). Love it. Pictures of the costume and the painted pumpkin will have to wait until we get into the costumed activities of the coming weekend. Halloween is not a holiday that I really get into...but there are so many fun parts. And to celebrate the change of seasons and the autumn all around us--now that is a celebration I can get behind!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

listen:: sandra mccracken

I haven't done a review here lately, so in lieu of a book review, some music! Sandra McCracken's "The Builder and the Architect" is one I have been listening to over and over and over. Every song draws me in, soothes me, points me to Jesus.  The songs all have a hymn-like feel, with a southern folk flavor which I just love. I can listen to it as background music while I'm reading or cooking, or can just listen, focusing in on the lyrics, each one better than the last. One of my favorites is "Grace upon Grace". You can hear it on the website link above, and here are the gorgeous lyrics. Enjoy!

In every station, new trials and new troubles
Call for more grace than I can afford
Where can I go but to my dear Savior
For mercy that pours from boundless stores.

Grace upon grace, every sin repaired
Every void restored, you will find Him there
In every turning He will prepare you
With grace upon grace.

He made a way for the fallen to rise
Perfect in glory and sacrifice
In sweet communion my need He supplies
He saves and keeps and guards my life

To Thee I run now with great expectation
To honor You with trust like a child
My hopes and desires seek a new destination
and all that You ask Your grace will provide.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

through the lens

My best decision today was after both kids were at school and I had about 2 1/2 hours to myself (!) I totally blew off my entire to-do list, grabbed my camera and headed for Annapolis, where I spent a truly blissful morning wandering and taking some (ok, 126) photos.  The excuse was wanting to perhaps do a photo wall in my family room. Which brings me to this...what to frame? If you love any of the following photos, would you leave me a comment with your vote? Without further ado...

Saturday, October 15, 2011

water, water everywhere

Earlier this week I got to chaperone a trip to the National Aquarium in Baltimore with the girlie's class.  It was a little crazy, trying to keep track of six first-graders, but a lot of fun. And I didn't lose anyone! It was, perhaps, more fun for me than for them, even. I love animals. I love the aquarium. And I loved playing with my camera. The thick glass on many of the tanks proved a challenge, as did the low-light conditions, especially with the sharks (note: no sharks pictured below, all came out blurry).  But the jellyfish were awesome! And can't you just see them posing for the camera? Ha! Here are the highlights...

Sunday, October 9, 2011

courage, age 6

My girl is growing up, and showing me just how brave she can be...and how strong. Yesterday the Daisy Scouts went to a rock-climbing gym. I had prepped her with low know, "try your best", "see what you can do", "if you try it and don't like it we'll leave"...really! And then we got there, got her harnessed up, and like a little monkey, up she went.  The first wall was about 20 feet up and she made it on the second try. Then she tried a harder 30 foot wall and only got about 1/2 way...but still, was awesome! I was so proud of her. And I learned a set her up for success, next time.

Then today, perhaps still basking in her achievement from yesterday, she announced that she was ready to have the training wheels off her bike. And did pretty well! She's not ready to ride around the neighborhood yet (or anywhere without one of us in arms reach) but she did it, riding across the cul-de-sac a bunch of times before she fell. My brave girl. I'm bursting with pride. She is amazing.

and just because he's cute...

Thursday, October 6, 2011

fall field trip fun

One of lifes wonderful pleasures...a crisp fall morning, blue skies, and a pumpkin patch! We had a great preschool field trip today to a local farm.  I couldn't get over the beautiful colors and how much fun the boy and his classmates had. Definitely puts me in autumn spirit...ready for cider (picked some up), sweet potatoes (ditto) and lots of baked pumpkin treats!

they were talking "moo" to one another...

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

a tale of two pies...

...and no pictures! Yes, I made the apple pies I mentioned in the last post. Yes, they were favorite recipe, which is one crust, thinly sliced apples, and crunch topping. I just never actually got any pictures of them before they were gone! (good excuse to make another one this weekend, I think.)

But while your tastebuds water for the pies you didn't get to see, I thought I'd share with you our very yummy dinner last night...quick and easy, and oh, so good!

I made a frittata from a couple cups of cooked, diced red potatoes, 1 lb of  pork sausage (browned first), some parmesan cheese, and about 10 eggs (I used 9 medium plus some EggBeaters, because thats what I had).  It didn't turn out pretty (so again, no pics) because I had to flip it in pieces to get the top to set, but it tasted good. 

And I made cinnamon apples. Which turned out pretty and yummy.  Here was my recipe: 1 lb of apple slices (mix of gala and ginger gold, what I had left over in my fridge).  Mix with 1/3 cup brown sugar, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, and 1/8 tsp nutmeg.  Put in medium saucepan with 2 T. water and 1 T. butter.  Cook on medium or medium low for about 10 min until the apples are soft and some of the liquid reduces. Try to wait until they won't burn your tongue before eating!

I love apple season. Apple sauce, apple pies, baked apples...not to mention the crunch and sweet-tartness of a fresh apple. But it starts to overlap with pumpkin season too...and I really find I have to separate the two or else there is just too much dessert going on around here! One more week of apples I think will do it....I want to get some more apples for sauce this weekend--gotta stock the freezer! And another pie, just because.  And perhaps a pie for the freezer? Then it will be on to...pumpkin bars, pumpkin pies, pumpkin cookies, pumpkin gobs (like whoopie pies), and perhaps pumpkin ice-cream (came across a recipe for that one yesterday...). Fall is all about cooking in my book. What's going on in your kitchen?