Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Vinny likes oregano

This looks like he's being naughty, but it had gone to seed and actually needed to be cut back.

So thanks, Vin.

Love, J

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

We're visited by a little cousin

Love, J

PS ~ Alternate title: "I did give up a career in basketball to be a paleontologist!"

Monday, June 28, 2010

She flies through the air with the greatest of ease POST EDIT

Sometimes she looks so much like a stuffed animal, it's ridiculous.

And does anyone know for sure what that plant in the foreground is? Because I've been told it's mint (which it only sort of smells like) and that it's a weed (which I can also see). I'm in limbo - I can't eat it and I can't pull it out until I'm sure what it is.

Love, J

My grandmother stopped by to visit yesterday (and threw her opinion on the mystery plant into the ring: peppermint. From its smell, I think that seems right.) As we sat on the couch talking, Lily jumped onto the dining room table. From the floor. It was awesome.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

God bless the chickpea*

For good hummus, use a hand mixer to blend together:

~ 2 cans of garbanzo beans
~ 6-7 cloves of garlic
~ 1/3 cup of lemon juice
~ 1/2 cup of water
~1/4 cup of olive oil
~ 1/2 teaspoon of salt

For better hummus, add fresh basil.

For the best hummus you've ever tasted, add as much cilantro as you can cram into the dish, and then eat it with pita chips.

Daisy and Brooke lend some perspective so you can see just how mutant-huge mom-in-law's cilantro really is. I wish I could get mine to grow like that!

Pretty sure I'm going to have perma-garlic breath for the rest of the summer. Just let me apologize for that in advance. (But it's so worth it.)

Love, J

PS ~ I guess hummus is "supposed" to have tahini in it. I don't know what tahini is, and I don't miss it in my version. Also, I like that I don't have to get any special ingredients this way, it's all stuff I've already got in the kitchen.

* I bet I could exclusively use
Friends quotations for my blog post titles...

Friday, June 25, 2010

Freezing broccoli

Yay for hot weather, and yay for enough ripe garden food to get my first batch in the freezer!

(Disclaimer: I have no place writing a how-to for freezing broccoli. I did so myself for the first time just this week, and while it went well, I haven't eaten any of the stuff I froze, so I can't vouch for how it turned out. Mostly these are notes to help me remember next summer what I did this year.)

1. Pick broccoli, peel off leaves. Cut into normal little pieces. I included as much good (not woody) stalk as possible, to increase the yield.

2. Boil water, dump in broccoli. Boil for 3 minutes, then drain and cool broccoli in ice water for 3 minutes. Drain again.

3. Spin in the salad spinner (AKA "best kitchen gadget ever") to get rid of the rest of the water.

4. Wrap broccoli in bread bag and squeeze the air out, then place in empty yogurt container. (I'd use any plastic bag, but I like bread bags because I know they're food-grade plastic, and they're thicker, which = less freezer burn.)

5. Label & freeze!

~ Broccoli goes garden to deep freeze in under an hour
~ Food miles = about 50 of my short-girl steps (hard to beat that!)
~ No wasted packaging
~ Whole process is quick & easy

~ The yield is pathetically small. Seven big broccoli plants gave me three yogurt containers worth of frozen produce. Lame. I know the plants will produce a bit more in the next couple of weeks. but I think this will be the huge bulk of the harvest.

I'm going to research more about how much of the stalk you can eat, and also see if you can use the leaves for anything - they're very pretty, and if they're edible, I've got some lettuce-wrap type ideas in mind.

Now that we've got home-grown, super-fresh broccoli in the freezer, I need to come up with a recipe to replace my standby dump-a-bag-of-it-into-a-pot-of-Annie's-mac-&-cheese.

Love, J

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Three months young

Somebody is getting even cuter as she grows.

Love, J

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Broccoli! Roses!

I do not plant flowers. I plant things I can eat, and that is all.

But our house came with a yard sporting four established rose bushes. I don't tend them - they are actually woefully neglected - but I am really enjoying the blooms. So much so that I may have to actually prune them or something so we can get a repeat performance next year. They smell nice.

And look! Broccoli! I don't know why it seems to me like such an exotic thing to grow, but it thrills me to harvest my very own broccoli from the garden. I have a special place in my heart for plants that are this hearty - it's survived the wind, rain, and unseasonable chill to produce like a true champ.

Love, J

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Wine cork bath mat

My dad-in-law is a wine drinking, Harley riding, blackbelt-holding, contractor yogi. And he loves bubble baths.

All of his very varied likes and hobbies make him reeeeally fun to get presents for.

This year I happened across a tutorial for a wine cork bath mat about a month before Father's Day, and knew it would be just the ticket. It's even classy enough to fit in with the pretty new master bath he just remodeled.

taking his new mat for a spin

I love that we had all of the materials for this lying around (with some help on the corks from mom-in-law). Plus it feels really good to stand on.

But the best part of making this was that it meant I got to play with the glue gun. I know that sharing is good and all, but when something is as much fun as a glue gun, you don't take turns.

Love, J

Monday, June 21, 2010

One nice day

We experienced an unprecedented aligning of the stars last Saturday when the hubs didn't have to work and we didn't have anything special that had to get done AND it was 80 degrees outside.

So we played. We spent the day digging around the garden and then he helped me work on the flowerpot mosaic I've had on my to-do list for about 3 years.

Later that evening we brought dinner to step-dad's house for an early Father's Day celebration.

4 sisters
their boys
baseball in the street on a hot summer night
the reason I moved back to Spokane

A few neighbors even came out to sit on their stoops and cheer us on; it was like we were in a Norman Rockwell painting.

When I'm having too much fun to run in and grab the camera and document things, you KNOW it's a good time ; )

Love, J

Friday, June 18, 2010

My favorite sites

These change frequently, but right now this is my list of favorite, must-check-every-day websites (other than all the job-hunt-related ones, of course):

We Heart It is a gorgeous time-suck, and I have great fun trolling through the pretty photos and daydreaming.

Ms. Sayward at Bonsai Aphrodite has at least one tip worth trying each week. And she makes me wish I'd tried harder for a catchy-kitchsy blog name.

I enjoy reading the hilarious musings on Dooce, and seeing Ms. Heather's heartbreakingly beautiful photos of her kids. But this puts me in danger of coming down with a case of baby fever, so I always follow it with a shot of...

Shit My Kids Ruined. Fever cured.

Love, J

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Living his dream

I am sitting at the dining table, looking out our front window as the hubs pulls out of our driveway, off to work in the rain.

His patrol car stops to wait behind the school bus paused on our corner. As the kids drop from the bus stairs and file past his car, each one slows down to peer and wave at the policeman inside. The last boy almost comes to a stop outside the passenger window, and waves the hardest of all. When he clears the patrol car, he turns and continues along walking backwards, not wanting to tear his eyes from the man in the uniform.

I'm not wearing my glasses, so I can't make out the face of the officer in the car, but I know this exchange makes him beam.

I am so proud of my guy.

Love, J

Shopping list

In no particular order, and with no relation to one another:

1. Petticoat

2. Grout

3. Book of Bukowski's poetry

4. Vintage glass glitter

5. Spiral notebook (must be sturdy and lovely)

6. DVD of "Sugar & Spice"

7. Cure for writer's block

8. Tire

9. Book I can really get into

10. Clawfoot bathtub
a. With a nice view
b. And peach bath salts

Love, J

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Pop quiz

Question: What's the best Disney movie?

Answer: The Emperor's New Groove

Image found here

Bonus question: Where did I put our DVD of this movie?



(Sleeping Beauty comes in second, in case you were wondering.)

Love, J

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Under the big top

Parachute + Trampoline = Coolest fort ever

I did not make this, but I respect it. It was the brainchild of step-dad and G, and it is even more impressive in person. They tried to sleep out there but I guess it's still pretty cold at night, even though the days have finally warmed up.

As a side note, having a parachute to play with is awesome. Our grandfather sent this to us girls to play with about 10 years ago and we've gotten SO much use out of it. It's very versatile. Who'd have thought?

Love, J

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Pushing Daisies dress

A while back, I picked up a copy of the reissued version of the walkaway dress that everyone's been talking about. The reviews I'd seen were mixed, but it looked SO cute on the package that I had to try it. Plus I think it's so cool that just after it originally came out (in the 50s? 60s? I can't remember), it was so popular that Butterick stopped production on all other patterns just to keep up with the demand.

It's called the "walkaway dress" because it's so simple, you can start it in the morning and walk away wearing it by lunch. In my case, I started it Wednesday evening, did pretty much nothing but work on it for two days, and finished it last night (Friday). But I am a slow, if not particularly fastidious, sewer. And when I found the pattern, the smallest size they carried was 4 sizes too big for me, and I was too impatient to wait for the next shipment so I bought it anyway. (And then let it sit in my stack of patterns for over a year.) So it took a lot of pinning, trying it on, re-pinning, trying it on, etc. to get it to fit at all right.

It's cute, but I'm not sure I'll ever wear it. It hangs a little funny when I move, and I feel like I need to constantly adjust it. Right now I'm in that uncomfortable in-between phase of having a few finishing touches to add, but not really wanting to bother because I know I won't wear it and additional effort will just be wasted time.

I think I need to stay away from making my own clothes. Accessories I can handle, and I'm a whiz at household items, but I have a LOT of trouble getting clothing to drape in a way I like. And because I buy all my clothes thrifted, it's easy for me to maintain an affordable wardrobe full of things I really, really like. It would be nice to have more "Chuck" dresses, but I think I'll just keep my eye out for vintage pieces at nicer second hand shops.

Bleh, it's so deflating to finish a time consuming project and then be less than thrilled with the finished product. Whatever I do next has to be a sure bet, results-wise.

Love, J

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

I love Chuck

Very sure I'm committing copyright infringement by using this collage.
If it helps, I found it here.

From Pushing Daisies, that is.

I like a lot of things about her character (and the show, holy technicolor!), but mostly am OBSESSED with her wardrobe.

After a mini-marathon of online episodes last night, I feel inspired to get cracking on a shirt dress of my own. And since my oh-so-accommodating husband hopped to and snagged my birthday dream dress for me a while back, I even have a well-fitting starter piece to model it after.

I do hate messing up the clean living room with scraps and fabrics and notions, but that's the price you pay...

Love, J

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Pizza & salad

Soon I will post a how-to for this homemade pizza because it is SO GOOD, it's a shame that not everyone ate it for dinner last night. I'm so excited for our onions to be harvest-ready so I can use home grown reds on our pizzas. (I'm out of luck with the pineapple and olives.)

But look! Spinach from the garden!

Love, J

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Socks are done!

Pattern: "Ploughed Acre Knee Socks" from Knit Green by Joanne Seiff

These are:

1. The first stockings I've ever knit.

2. The first time I've knit a pair of anything without taking a break after completing the first one and leaving it mateless for several months.

3. The first time I've knit anything without needing to have my grandmother walk me through at least one step. (Which is silly, because it's also the first time I've knitted anything while living within biking distance of Grandma's house. It would have been MUCH easier to get help with this project than the many others she labored to explain to me over the phone when I lived in Seattle ; )

Love, J

Friday, June 4, 2010

Thursday, June 3, 2010

And they're off...

~ Beans ~
Here's where I close my eyes and fantasize about pretty jars of dried beans lining the pantry shelves downstairs.

~ Peas ~
I'm planting these in stages for a longer harvest.
This is the most recent of the 3 batches we've planted so far.

~ Spinach ~
G clipped our first batch yesterday to pack in her lunch. I love how fast this stuff grows.

~ Edamame! ~
How fancy do I feel,
that I can grow my own edamame?!?
(Answer: Very)

~ Broccoli ~
Note to self for next year: don't plant the tomatoes too early or they'll die off in the cold. But broccoli? Broccoli doesn't care. Broccoli is badass, and will take off no matter what the conditions.
Broccoli's a rockstar.

~ And a new compost area to boot ~

Growing food just makes me so happy.

Love, J

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The geese

We have geese. For one more day, anyway.

We took them in about a month ago.

But I knew right away they weren't a good fit for our household.

They bothered me. For reasons I still can't quite name, we just were not a love match. And they had to go. Still, I gave it a shot, and waited until a week ago to ask River's Wish to make room for the birds. The hubs and I, it turns out, are not geese people.

So they were to go live at the sanctuary, where they would room with some lucky chickens.

Then tonight while out weeding in the rain, I glanced over to the pear tree, where the geese were chilling out. Broken Wing (the boy) was curled up under the tree, while Snippet (his gal) honked and walked over him. Back and forth. Trying to rouse him, but he was gone.

He was very old. The woman who owned them before us got them as chicks 21 years ago. And they had very unusually happy little goose lives. And, like I said, I don't care for geese all that much.

Even so, it is not at all easy to watch Snippet anguish over her fallen beau. In fact it is hard. She seems distressed, but calm as long as she can stand over his body. It's moving to witness such devotion in simple creatures.

Tomorrow she will go to River's Wish alone, and hopefully live in peace with the chickens, though it is more likely she will soon die of grief. That is common with bonded birds, and rabbits too.

I learned tonight that if you have to take a bonded bird or rabbit to the vet to be euthanized, you're supposed to bring the body back home to his companion so that she can sit with him and grieve a while.

I do not mind having to stay close to home to care for our critters (I'm not much of a traveler); I don't mind the messes they make or the (many) pieces of furniture, books, parts of our house, etc. that our rabbits have destroyed; and when they get sick or injured, I will gladly pay large vet bills, and be grateful to have access to the means to make them well again.

But nights like this are the one drawback I see to having pets. It's hard to see them suffer. Even the ones I don't like.

Love, J