Showing posts with label New England. Show all posts
Showing posts with label New England. Show all posts

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

{6/52 & 7/52}: surreal

I didn't post the weekly update pic last week partly because I wasn't sure if I wanted to share that we were in a commercial. It seems like no matter how I phrase it, that kind of update drips with exaggerated conceit, almost too "Hey look at this impossibly cool thing I'm doing!" even for a self-important blogger like me. Then we got more snow, and I didn't want to be that person who is all "Poor me! It is snowing AGAIN!" so I stayed away for that reason too.

But then my family shared the commercial on Facebook and said such sweet things about us, and I thought okay, reality check. We are all fine, yes. And I do want you to know about the new Family Breakfast Project, which is how we got in a commercial in the first place (note: you can see the commercial in that link). Remember when I posted about the Family Dinner Project last year? They are the same organization sponsoring this new program.

So basically, last week was surreal in a few different ways.

{6/52}: Eating cheerios while watching themselves in a Cheerios commercial. A weird unplanned coincidence.

The snow isn't even the surreal part, although it has been a huge amount. I mostly don't mind the snow; it is magical when falling, and after that you dress for the weather and get over it. The unfortunate part of this weather isn't in fact the snow but the cold; it has been almost too cold even for Charlie to play in the snow, but Vivi is determined to play no matter what the temperature and will stay out there by herself for an hour or more, just digging and rolling around.

But here's the truly surreal part. We took them sledding over the weekend, and after just a few rounds with us at the helm, the girls decided to sled on their own! They are true New Englanders. I feel the need to mention that the first time I saw this hill covered with snow three years ago, I was hesitant to go down it. Me, a grown human. And now my three-year-old is solo-traversing it. Life, man, it's weird like that.

{7/52}: Fearless Yankees
video

video

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

the hunt for red October

Around this time, it seems everyone in the Boston area is headed out of town to peep at leaves in other places...New Hampshire, the Berkshires, Vermont. But this year the leaves in our own backyard are spectacular (note: leaves below are not quite in our backyard but are on conservation land near us). I'm not sure what's different about the weather this year to make the leaves so beautiful, but I can now say I truly understand what all those people meant when they waxed on about fall in New England. When it's good, it's GOOD.


Thursday, May 23, 2013

on not {quite} fitting in

Me on Halloween (age 11). Yes that's a wig. And yes I am awkward.

We've been living in Massachusetts for nearly two and a half years, which is a long time for us to stay in one place. In fact, it's about as long as we've ever stayed in one city before moving. It's hard for me envision what it would be like to move right now because I still feel like I am learning how to be a proper Bostonian.

I wonder if it's a part of Boston culture that it takes longer than two years to feel like I fit in. The same couldn't be said for Wisconsin, which fit us like a glove. Ultimate frisbee, bike paths everywhere, and constant beer, fried fish, and cheese. Amen to that! If it weren't for the lack of family there and the brutal winter--worse that New England, if you can imagine that!--we would move back in a heartbeat. People seem genuinely happier there, despite the weather.

In contrast, New Englanders are not the happiest bunch I've ever come across. I realize I am stereotyping here, in the same way that you might discuss slavery apologizers in the south. I recognize not everyone behaves the same. But I've noticed more than once that people are pugnacious in an almost laughable way--picture Mark Wahlberg talking to animals, and you get it. Sometimes I LOL at how it seems like they are all looking to have their next fight.

From the way you take a number to stand in line and buy a sandwich, to even what you call the bread (don't say "white" when you mean "sub") and the stuff you put on it, EVERYTHING feels different. Nate has a funny story about ordering a sub when we first got here, and they asked him if he wanted "hots," which is a pickled pepper relish. But the way they say it, it sounds exactly the same as "hearts." It makes me giggle to imagine the curious position he was in for a few moments.

Much like when we lived in England, we spend some part of every day trying to figure out what the heck people are saying, even with small words like "jimmies" instead of sprinkles. On the surface, it might seem like an easy enough thing to learn, but what you don't see initially is that you aren't just learning the word but the history and connotation of its usage. In the case of "jimmies," it apparently has some sort of racial significance...and yet, they still say it? The intricacies of semiotics, y'all!

They way they chat with each other, their sociability, everything is slightly altered. I often feel as though I'm missing some kind of non-verbal cue during conversations with strangers.  Interesting but exhausting too. Last week I was chatting with another mom who has a six-year-old in Vivi's pre-k class. I was really intrigued because I've considered whether Charlie will be ready for kindergarten, having been born on the cut-off date. And Reader, she answered that they are keeping kids out of school an extra year, "you know, because of sports." As in, so her kids are bigger than the other kids. Say what now?

Whether I am making myself an outsider by pointing out these differences or am being made to feel like an outsider is a chicken and egg scenario. I love living here and observing people with my cultural anthropologist cap on, but at some point I'd like to be able to turn to a friend and say "I could really use a banana pudding milkshake" and have her understand what I mean. You know?

Friday, March 08, 2013

{this moment}: snow day...again!

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.




Monday, January 28, 2013

these are the days


It's snowing again. I consider it the reward for enduring the sub-20's weather we've been having for a week or more. I am thankful we don't live in sub-20's for months on end like we did in Wisconsin. Brrrr.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Daniel Webster's fish chowder


Do you browse the "books for a quarter" section of your library? I take a frequent peek because I often find interesting books I wouldn't have found any other way. That was the case when I picked up Suzanne Cary Gruvner's "The Cape Cod Cookbook," a 1977 reprint of a book originally published in 1930. If you know of my love of heirloom recipes, you can imagine my delight at finding this treasure of New England history. Others might look at such a scrappy small book and think I'm nuts, but there it is.

Monday, November 12, 2012

{love the place you live}: leaf-peeping in New Hampsha

We took this trip a month ago, but I've been waiting for Design Mom to host another round of {love the place you live} to share the pictures. I highly recommend going leaf-peeping in New Hampshire. We rented a two-bedroom house for the weekend (the only way I will travel with my children) in Bartlett/North Conway, and it was so pleasant to hole up in a little house in the woods, making complicated meals while Nate watched football and the girls played Barbies in front of the fire. We went hiking and driving at every moment it was light outside.

We found out about the rental home on Air B&B, a fantastic resource for both letting out to vacationers and renting homes from owners. Now that we own a home I suppose we could consider renting out our house while we're on holiday, but I am not sure how I feel about that. Would you consider renting your home to strangers? Have you already done it?


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

it's fall {again}, y'all

In case you are the last to hear this little fun fact, autumn is the best season in New England. The best, Jerry! The weather is unstoppably beautiful nearly every day, enough so that you don't even feel guilty wasting a few hours of mid-60's and blue sky so you can sort boxes in the basement. You know, in case you've got a move coming up in a few weeks and still have beach toys scattered about your yard. So...

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

I found my thrill...

Come climb the hill with me, baby
We'll see what we shall see
I'll bring my horn with me
I'll be wit' you where berries are blue
~From "Blueberry Hill" by Louie Armstrong

Thanks to Kerry for sharing a great location to pick blueberries. This was our best morning I can remember in a while. I made a video to share the memories!




I'm off to make some cobbler. Hope you're enjoying the July bounty!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

visiting the beach {and a muffin recipe}

Our trip to the beach was so fun! Before I show you some pics, I'll set the scene. When you arrive at the New England shoreline, you are met with a few wonderful things and a few annoying things.

Great things: blue sky, breeze, salt air, and other archetypical beach fare.

Annoying things: biting flies (!!!), dead rays washed ashore, and townies.

Monday, July 09, 2012

summer grilling side: vinegar slaw



slaw



We went to the beach yesterday, and it was everything I had hoped for (except for giving my kids their first sunburns...doh!): breezy, warm, blue sky, and berries. Yes, berries! Unique to the New England shoreline experience is that you can stop off for some fresh-picked berries or even pick your own. A refreshing end to a hot day. Pictures tomorrow!

Friday, June 01, 2012

the call of the summer wild

Mud, beautiful mud, makes me feel good
Should we play in the mud? I think we should
Will you play in the mud with me?
Then the two of us can be happy.
~The Mud Song, High Meadows Camp


I know summer doesn't officially start for a few weeks, but for me, June 1st is when I begin to celebrate summer. When does summer begin to call to you?

I think one of the greatest gifts I can give my kids is to let them play in the spring and summer mud. If the form she filled out with her camp paperwork is any indication, I'd say Vivi quite agrees with me:

The middle entry, in case you can't tell, is "DIRT" spelled backward.


I admit I bare some influence on the fact that she knows camp is where you play in the dirt. She won't attend camp until July, so it's my job between now and then to find ways to get dirty.

"Playing" in the camp mud. It might look as though I'm being ganged up on by three
men here, but I assure you I gave as much mischief as I got.

I got some great inspiration for getting muddy from this Rhythm of the Home article. Though she's specifically referring to the the spring thaw in Canada, there is still plenty of mud to be found after the rain during the rest of the warm season. Yesterday I found some great rain boots for the girls in preparation for the four days of rain we're about to get. I'm so glad it's finally warm enough to play outside in the rain! I'll be sure to follow up with some pics.

Speaking of Rhythm of the Home, their summer issue came out today, and I have two articles featured in it! Check out my features (linked via images below) and the others. It's a great online magazine, and I predict you'll gladly spend a few quiet and peaceful hours reading it, as I have. Happy reading!

Call of the Summer Wild: Cultivating a Love of Nature


Homemade Cheese Crackers!

Editor's note: This post is part of Seasonal Celebration Sunday and Simple Lives Thursday.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

hello rhubarb!



I didn't grow up eating rhubarb. It doesn't grow in the south because the weather is too warm (even MA is a little warm, it prefers the colder weather in Canada). I have a tendency to view vegetables I never ate as a child in a skeptical light. Fruity celery? No thank you.

Monday, May 21, 2012

love the place you live: Belmont Town Day


There is a town near us called Belmont, and even before today I would have said it was the quintessential New England town. And then! They hosted a "Town Day" today, which was such a perfect way to spend a warm spring day and a great spot to visit for this edition of Design Mom's {Love the Place You Live} series!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

May flowers

I had a great Mother's Day weekend! The hubs really pulled out all the stops, so I had another holiday of not having to change diapers, give baths, or make dinner. We went for a long bike ride yesterday to our town center to have some ice cream, towing the girls in a trailer for the first time. I only feared for their safety 99.9% of the time; but even with the fear, I'd call the trip a deliriously fun success.



Sunday, March 18, 2012

love the place you live: Walden Pond

I love Thoreau. I have a copy of Walden that I cherish. I purchased the book back when I was collecting the fake gold-leaf Barnes & Noble leather-bound books in my early twenties. Do you remember when they re-published the classics? I enjoy them tremendously, even if they are cheap knock-offs of the originals. Among them, my favorites are Walden and the collected works of Emily Dickinson and Edgar Allen Poe. I love my copies not just because of the obvious reason they are so well-written, but also because seeing them reminds me of when I used to purchase random objects with abandon in my early twenties--without the experience of moving heavy books a hundred times to weigh down my decision. I had no further plans to do anything with them (or read them, for that matter), I just thought they might enhance my life in some way someday. In that far-off dwelling of twenty-somethings' fantasies. And they have!

Monday, October 17, 2011

October bliss

We're enthusiastically continuing on our merry way through this October sent from Heaven. After a few days of rain, this weekend was once again wonderfully 60's and dry. I am happy to report that leaves aren't yet at their peak; we are eagerly anticipating a long weekend with David, Caroline, and Edie and want the changing colors' perfection to strike in T minus 3 days. But the maples are just starting to turn, which made for a pleasant two days of hiking trips.

These pictures are from a Saturday trip an hour west to Leominster State Forest; we didn't mind the long drive as it meant we got to hear some of our favorite NPR programming. At the very end of our hike there were huge thunderclaps immediately followed by heavy showers, so we had a harried run back to the car. Of course the girls thought it was hilarious that Mommy and Daddy were running through the woods. Then Sunday we stayed closer to home and walked around the long pond at the Middlesex Fells Reservation; as always, we were happily greeted by a gazillion giddy dogs and their owners.







Vivi informed us that it's time to decorate for Halloween, and she demanded requested ghosts and a jack-o-lantern so far. I think her list will grow based on our neighbors' creations. We accomplished the pumpkin carving yesterday, and today I'm in search of an old white sheet to start cutting ghost squares.



Last night I made us a yummy semi-vegetarian dinner, which I will tell you more about in a rare second-post moment later in the day today. The high point in cooking dinner was when I decided to wet my whistle with a dark 'n stormy. The low point in cooking dinner was when, half my drink guzzled, I mistook the glass of chicken stock to be my cocktail. Reader, this is not a mistake you make twice.

In other weekend news, I found a picture of my childhood bangs and updated my post on the subject, lest you call me an exaggerator. I also updated our mantel with more fall accessories. I read my Thanksgiving Food and Wine magazine cover to cover in less than two days, which is my all-time record. And finally, I am enjoying the online magazine for moms called Babble; this week they posted their Top 50 Design Blogs for Mom.

Monday, October 10, 2011

there is a place for everything, and everything is out of place

Typical view of my living room couch:



I am see-ree-uh-slee considering teaching my toddler how to fold laundry, for reals.

In other news, we are getting all of Canada's geese as they make their way south, and they have taken over the local playground by the school. I won't get started about the poop. But there is some. Poop, I mean. Lots. There was no end to my cackling the other day as I watched a grandma attempt to shoo the geese out of the playground gate and back down to the pond. Go, Gramma, go! A valiant effort that I probably shouldn't have snort-laughed at, but you get your chuckles where you can, amirightladies? It was one of the many moments in life I cursed not having a smart phone so I could better capture the moment I knew I would blog about later.

Much like I almost always turn my amusing life moments into blog posts, I also live my life as a Monty Python sketch. See someone walking funny? They must work at the Ministry of Silly Walks. Feel like having an argument with someone for no reason? Go pay for an Argument Clinic. See a bunch of geese flying overhead? Discuss the potential migration of coconuts.

Somebody found my blog the other day by Googling "reason to hate Timothy Geithner." Not sure how I feel about that, but hey, I suppose I'll take what I can get. If you've forgotten why my blog came up (and I know I sure struggled to remember), here's the post under review, and its follow-up. I hope you found what you were searching for, angry-one-time-reader.

Did ya'll have a nice weekend? We are having glorious weather, prompting me to reconsider my bid to head south. Have I forgotten the blitzkrieg to come? Mayhaps. For now, I'm relishing in the most perfect autumn ever created. Thanks, New England.

Hasta lasagna,
~J

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Rockport and granola

Those two words sum up my weekend. On Saturday, we took the leap of faith that all parents with two kids must do to get everyone out of the house and in the car for an hour-long journey. You say to yourself, "This will be fun. This will be fun. This will be fun!" Fortunately for us, our trip to Rockport was fun!
Playing with cheetah and zebra
Boredom sets in...

It doesn't hurt that we were able to listen to some of our favorite Saturday programming on NPR...Car Talk, This American Life, Radiolab...and stopped for burgers from Five Guys along the way. "What, no seafood?," you might be thinking, but when you're all starving, and you have a chance to stop and get something not too giant-chain fast-foodie, tell me what you'd do. Well, if you're this woman, you'd pack healthy organic snacks. But we can't all be Mom-of-the-Year, now can we? Anyhow, the gamble must have paid off because after we all stuffed our faces with greasy burgers and fries, we were a much more agreeable bunch. When we arrived to Rockport, it was off for a long stroll on the rocky coast to enjoy the ocean breeze and give our stomachs some recovery...





...before stuffing our faces again on a town favorite, ice cream.


Rockport reminds me of the classic New England coastal town I'd never visited but always held a picture of in my mind. It's a charming mix of yuppy vacationers, townies, and lobstermen, at times joyfully jumbled together, but somehow still with that Massachusetts edge to them. I sort of think of them as relaxed Yankees. If you cut in line or bring up your opinion on sports, you might also want to consider bringing your fist with you, but otherwise, they are not so easily ruffled as New Yorkers.




On Sunday we had a pleasantly uneventful day full of cleaning the house and making granola. I love homemade granola with yogurt. For several years there wasn't a time in our house where we didn't have it on hand, but the addition of kids has thrown my cooking habits upside down, so I am very gradually getting back into the swing of it. I use an Ina Garten recipe, as usual. You can get it online or with my slight changes below:



granola

4 cups rolled oats (not quick-cooking/instant)
2 cups sweetened flaked coconut
1 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup pecans, chopped
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
3/4 cup oil (I use 1/2 c. coconut oil and 1/4 c. sunflower oil)
1/2 cup honey or maple syrup
3 cups dried fruit (I use chopped apricots, cranberries, pre-made tropical mix, & raisins)

Preheat oven to 350 degF. Toss oats, nuts, and coconut in a large bowl. Whisk oil and honey in a small bowl and pour over oats mix; stir until well coated. Spread on 2 cookie sheets and put in oven. Stir every 5 minutes with spatula until golden brown, about 25-35 min.  Pour granola onto parchment paper to cool. I store mine in a plastic cereal container or in a vacuum-sealed bag in the freezer. I keep the dried fruit in separate container until serving.



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