Sunday, July 21, 2013

three times around the sun

There are a lot of things I could say right now--about how exhausted, and braindead I am from the kids crazy sleeping (or lack there-of) that's been going on for days and days, or having my husband working long hours and extra days, and basically doing the single parenting thing, or how busy things are this summer, and how I can't seem to check even one thing off my to-do list without at least three new ones cropping up, but looking at these pictures of Sadie... gosh.
Amidst all this chaos somehow my baby turned three.

This girl melts my heart.  
She is so sweet, and independent, and curious
and messy, and bossy
and profound.
Sometimes the conversations I have with her just blow me away.
Sometimes they are hilarious, like when she says out of the blue,
"Mom, I think when I grow up I'm going to find a nice man who likes cats and have a wedding."
or asks me to turn off the radio in the car because "the guy sounds like he's crying."  
(It was John Denver, and she's right)
Then there's all the questions about death and the afterlife.  
"Mom... I'm going to brush my teeth, and eat healthy food, and get lots of sleep and then I wont need to die. I don't want to die."
 This one offers me much to ponder, 
and yet she is also so spontaneous and bubbling over with joy.
Even on the hardest, most tiring days when she is a demanding tyrant, "NO. my door needs to be open all the way so it touches the wall" or "I don't want these stirred up eggs, I want the cracked kind" she still has this great sense of humor.  
I guess, what I'm trying to say in way too many words is that every moment spent with Sadie is truly a gift.  I feel so incredibly rich to get to watch her finding her wings...  to glimpse who she is and how she looks at the world.  
I don't know what she wished for when she blew out those candles, but my wish is the simple one that every mother wishes in these moments--the gift of time, 
of many, many happy birthdays to spend with this sweet girl of mine.
{and that someday, in the very distant future, she finds that nice man who likes cats, and he is kind and smart enough to know what a treasure she is.}

Sunday, July 14, 2013

garden journal: Medicine Plants

 This week I am on round three of harvesting chamomile.  This is the german chamomile I planted here and there in my raised beds.  
 This is the wild chamomile that grows pretty much everywhere else in the yard.  Is it funny to cultivate something that grows wild all over your property?  Yes and no.  The funny thing about wild chamomile is that it loves to grow in all places where heavy foot traffic beats it down.  For us, that means that there are probably also four-legged furry friends that pee on it... and possibly, on occasion, a toddler or two.  So I'm harvesting this tall chamomile that is growing in my raised beds because the flowers are way above pee level.  You can laugh at me all you want. 

 This is another funny instance of growing something from seed that grows wild.  We call this part of our salad rainbow "fairy lettuce"  it is very delicious, and when I was describing it to my mom to try to figure out what it is (still need to go sift through my European Salad Green sampler to find out what they called it) she suggested chickweed.  I didn't think so at first, because it is much bigger than chickweed, but after looking at the patch of chickweed growing under the hose spigot....
yep, pretty sure this fancy-schmancy fairy lettuce is indeed a variety of chickweed---chickweed on steroids.  Still, it's beautiful, delicious, organic, and unpeed on by dogs, so it can have some space in my garden too.
Up next on the harvesting list is Calendula.  This is one of my all-time favorite flowers and I planted it all over this year.  It makes for wonderful balms and salves.  It is my go-to remedy for all skin irritations.  I use it so much on the kids that Sadie even recognized what it was when she smelled the flower.  Smart cookie that one. 
And if anyone wants to stop by and fill up a bag with salad... please do.  We have a plethora of greens, and while none of them are medicinal plants per se, they do say that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.  So eat your greens; we certainly are!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

summer delights

Some things about summertime are just perfect.  Fresh fruit, for one.  And Sadie's new favorite dessert is just another perfect excuse to eat berries (like you really need one)
Pavlova--it sounds much fancier than it really is.  I made a similar version to this on Saturday using this recipe, and using a home-made custard (to use up the egg yokes, and because I didn't have whipped cream). I thought it was good, but a little too sweet.  I wanted to try it again with less sugar, and the suggested whipped cream.  Its better this way.  I cut the sugar in the recipe by half, and used barely sweetened whipped cream.  I think eventually you will run into problems with the texture of the meringue if you use too little sugar, but I'm going to just keep making this recipe whittling the sugar down in increments until it doesn't work.
It's still plenty sweet with half the sugar, and it fluffed up just fine. 
Like eating a cloud...says Sadie.

It's so pretty too.
Although, my amateur foodie photography doesn't really do it justice.
I don't think I'll ever run a perfect food photography show on this channel because 
1. I can't devote kitchen space to all the fun little props that make your photos really shine, and
2. I only have 30 seconds to take pictures before this happens:
Anyway... Pavlova--just do it.  You won't be sorry!

Saturday, July 6, 2013

still life with after-dinner dishes

The after-dinner dishes looked so pretty with the late sun filtering though the window that I felt compelled to take a picture instead of clearing and washing them.