Showing posts with label Summer. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Summer. Show all posts

Monday, August 26, 2013

{34}: latin pickles


"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week in 2013."

On the Range
August 20 - 26, 2013

{On the Range} is my weekly series where I discuss what we're doing, reading, and eating. It's a little bit 52 project and other photo projects, and a little bit {Did you Read?} and {In the Ranger Kitchen}.

Media

  • Another reason to love The Oatmeal. As if I needed one.
  • I of course agree with the author of this article about dolls that are too sexy for our little girls. It's tough to choose which doll is most revolting. What ever happened to the rag dolls of my childhood? Why does it seem everyone if becoming brainwashed into buying these horrific examples of sexualization? It's a hard pill to swallow that even if we avoid them as we are earnestly attempting to do, we will still have to deal with others purchasing them. 


Meals


I made these taco pickles this week, but I wasn't completely satisfied with the recipe. After some googling, I landed on this version on the NY Times that included cauliflower and cumin seeds, and I was inspired to alter the recipe a bit to make them crunchier and more complex. What I ended up with is deliciously spicy and saltier than the original (her "salt to taste" direction ended in failure the first time), and it's different enough that I decided to share my creation. I hope you enjoy them!


latin pickles

1 bunch of radishes
1 large carrot
1/2 head of cauliflower
2 fresh jalepenos
handful of cilantro, whole or chopped
2 1/2 tsp. Kosher salt
1 c. cold water
1/2 c. white vinegar
1/4 c. cider vinegar
1/4 c. sherry vinegar
1/4 c. sugar
1 Tbs. cumin seeds, toasted
1 dried pepper (we prefer arbol)
2 cloves garlic (optional)




Thinly slice all the veggies or put them through a mandolin. Depending on how spicy you want your pickles, you can either seed the jalepenos first or cut them into rings with the seeds intact (which is what we do). Toss the cut-up veggies with the salt in a large bowl and set aside. Meanwhile, bring the vinegars to a simmer in a medium saucepan, add the sugar, and stir until it dissolves. Remove the mixture from the heat and add the water. Let it cool on the counter or in the refrigerator. 

Toast the cumin seeds and add them and the dried pepper, and garlic if you are using it, to the bottom of a QT sized mason jar. Top with the veggies and cilantro. If you like the idea of eating the cilantro with your pickles, chop it up; otherwise, you can leave it in whole, which results in less cilantro flavor but a cleaner-looking brine. 

Once the liquid has cooled, pour it over the veggies until it covers them. Store them in the fridge and eat within a few weeks. As the original recipe creator said, they are great on tacos, and they also pair splendidly with tamales, burritos, and other recipes where latin flavors and acid are appreciated.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

since MTV seems to want my ideas

I get all kinds of solicitations now from businesses who want a slice of PR on my blog, want my opinion about their products, or want to sell or offer something to you, Reader. Some of these opportunities are fun, some are just plain silly or annoying, and others are hilarious. Recently I received an email from MTV asking me if I want to be on the program, "16 and Pregnant." Considering I am neither 16 nor pregnant, it seems they may need to do better research. However, I do have a suggestion for you, MTV. How about "Real World: Grandmas"? Because more than anyone else I know, they've stopped being polite and started being real.

How are y'all doing? I am trying to keep the pace of life slow for my kids this week, since it's one of their only "do nothing" weeks all summer. But slowing down is harder than it looks from the outside! If you're a mom, you likely identify with this struggle. I'm limiting my time at the gym to my standing once-weekly spinning class date with the hubster, and otherwise it's just trips to the library and long walks for us. It seems lots of you started back to school this week. Can you believe we don't start for a whole month? Much as I could rub it in, I know you'll be laughing at us come the end of June when we're still in school.

Hopefully this post about nothing will get me back into the swing of writing...well...about nothing. It's what I do best, wouldn't you say?

Dominoes between her toes. Love this girl.

Monday, July 15, 2013

summer is happening

We are brushing our teeth with blueberries over here, after our haul of 10 lbs on Saturday (!). Want some?
It seems I am living my days in such a state of lazy summerness that I can barely find time to write. But like any habit, I know it will come easier if I just start doing it. So here I am. And there you are. Hello there!

Yesterday we had some of Nate's work friends over for relaxing dinner (Domino's delivery, nothing but the best for these folks), drinks, and games. Although someone brought a game I've heard lots about lately, "Cards Against Humanity," it was deemed too gritty for getting to know each other, so we passed it up in favor of a vintage '80's Trivial Pursuit Genus Edition. It was so hard! And FUN! I learned much about pre-'80's TV and film facts and historical tidbits that have at some point dropped out of the average dinner guest's wheelhouse. In my opinion, the best parts were the marital squabbles and the guffaw-worthy ridiculous questions (Did you know Tarzan's son's ape-name is Korak? Of course you didn't!). Another highlight was the cobbler I made with our day-old blueberries, which was decadent and delicious, if I do say so myself.

Today I stopped quickly over to the used bookstore in town to stock up on some summer paperbacks, having decided the ones I grabbed at the church rummage sale in a fit of overzealous loftiness wouldn't make the cut. I had a few on my short list, specifically James Michener's Centennial and Abraham Verghese's Cutting for Stone, but I had an open mind and wanted to leave with a bag full. Boy did I ever accomplish that goal. Upon walking around for a few minutes, I remarked to the ladies behind the counter, "I can't believe I've never been in here before!," to which they replied, "All the moms tell us that!" That sounds about right.

But then it got even better when I heard I could get store credit if I brought in some of my own books to trade. Having just been through the book shelves the day before in preparation for our get together, I raced home to grab my stack of give-aways and brought them on over. I walked away with 10 paperbacks for me and two for the girls for only $25. Winning!


Here's a list of what I grabbed if you can't see it in the picture (the first two are my Grandma Louise's recommendations, which I follow religiously):

Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese
Ghost Train to the Eastern Star by Paul Theroux
The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon (store owner's recommendation)
Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift
Caribbean by James Michener (for a trip to the very same location in two weeks!)
Centennial by James Michener
The Awakening and short stories by Kate Chopin
The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and other stories by Robert Louis Stevenson
Being There by Jerzy Kosinski
The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas

Have you read any of these? Any stand out as favorites? Let me know so I can commence sorting my GoodReads summer reading list.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Charlie does "the Elaine," and other summer scenes

We went to the always fun farmer's market this morning. There was a musician and popsicles, meeting the girls' two requirements of a good time: food and entertainment. Charlie busted out her favorite dance move, which we like to call "the Elaine."


We are enjoying camp, so much so that I can scarcely make time for anything else. It is as all-consuming as I remember it being in my youth, at times leaving me feeling like I have half a brain and even less energy. Even as I am running myself ragged, camp is a splendidly salutary environment that heals my soul and brightens my days. I wouldn't change a thing.

Watching the younger counselors work with the kids, I am reminded of the fortitude it takes to achieve praiseworthy work with children. Their exemplary passion, zeal, humor, and resolute endurance are a shining example of the good work that can be accomplished by human beings when the right conditions are present. Here's a video from camp last week in which the CITs (counselors-in-training) sing a rendition of Woody Guthrie's "This Land is Your Land," with words tailored to our camp and written by a counselor many years ago. Even if you don't get the context of what they are singing, you can't help but smile at the sentiment.


Wednesday, June 05, 2013

summer fun

I haven't forgotten my weekly posts with the portraits, I am just having too much fun to sit down at the computer for very long. I'll do a big round of them when I get home.

Latley, "too much fun" has been any and all of the following activities:
  • Running and yelling
  • Trying to decide which swimsuit to buy online
  • Applying and reapplying EWG-legal sunscreen
  • Playing a zillion rounds of go fish
  • Getting sunburns despite being covered head-to-toe in zinc oxide 
  • Thinking about but then not reading my stack of summer books
  • Trying to figure out the perfect "bug scream" concoction (Vivi seems to need that toxic deep woods deet stuff...turn away, don't look at me while I'm spraying her)
  • Treating Charlie's many poison ivy related boo-boos
  • Watching episodes of "Phineas & Ferb" on Netflix with the girls
  • Eating ice cream sandwiches
  • Buying running shorts at Target
  • Finding cheaper shorts at Old Navy along with two pair of indecently bright sneakers (hello '80s!)
  • Returning those other shorts to Target
Also, this happened...


Saturday, May 18, 2013

zombieland

Eating lunch with Charlie in the playhouse

I finally got some glorious sleep last night after three days of back-and-forthing to that marathon labor. It's hard to explain sleep deprivation to someone who's never missed the majority of three nights of sleep in a row, but anyone with kids knows what it is like. It's kind of like being drunk, or maybe punch-drunk is a better way to explain it. You are walking and talking, but the higher functions of your brain have receded into the depths, leaving you to utter bookoo unfiltered sentences.

Take, for example, when I met the husband of a mutual friend yesterday. After the couple walked off, I turned to my other friend and said "I didn't like his face." I meant more his expression at the time, but whatevs. Same diff.

Snark abounds.

Functioning on a low amount of sleep also reminds me of what its like to have the winter blues, or Seasonal Affective Disorder, as it's known to people who like to give stuff names. Unlike the time I cried when it snowed again, SAD is a more deceptive condition. I am depressed, but I couldn't completely articulate why. I might cry, but rather than cry over the weather, I cry over completely unrelated and unimportant issues. Or I might laugh, but instead of laughing at jokes, I laugh at the shriveled piece of corn under the refrigerator. But mostly I experience an absence of feeling. For a person who is normally irrationally exuberant, the lack of emotions is an unsettling experience. But what were we talking about again?

ANYHOO, today promises to bring with it some good wholesome American fun. We are headed out to the town fair, and then in the afternoon I'm off to tea again with a lady friend. I'll report back with pictures taken of both...probably with my new obsession, the iPhone.

We only have a week left here before the big month-long southbound excursion. I went ahead and scheduled our trip to start Memorial Day weekend, figuring the kids up here get out of school at the same time we did down South. I was forgetting that they don't go back to school here until AFTER Labor Day--something about snow, the details escape me--so their school ends a whole week into June. Yikes! This little scheduling error means we are pulling Vivi out of pre-K a full two weeks early and missing graduation. I am not sure whether to count this as a missed opportunity or a big win. What are your thoughts on celebrating small milestones like that?

Saturday, May 04, 2013

in with the new

Spring is finally here to stay. With it came all the bargain shopping experiences you know I love. Negotiating ain't my thing, but if the price is set, I'll buy--and the last hour when everything is half price is fun too.

This weekend was my church's rummage sale, which is always a favorite. The children's book section is where I make a bee-line during the volunteer pre-sale. Check out some of these "awwww"-inducing finds:



Last year I volunteered during sale week by marking prices on breakables, but not being a tchotchke collector, I was worried I did it badly and found the experience stressful. This year I stuck with sales, which I liked because it involved talking to people. I met lots of the congregation who come to the 11am service. They all sized me up to be a 9am-er, "because all you 9am-ers have small kids."Yup.

The hardest part about sales was the rush at the end of the half-price sale. Everyone seems to assume you will give stuff away for nearly free just to get them out of your hair and because you don't want to cart the goods off to charity. They are mostly correct in this assumption, but I must tell you a hard truth. This segment of society--who haggle with volunteers at a rummage sale from which the proceeds go to a good cause--they weren't raised right by their mamas. My fellow fraught cashier could be heard a time or two exasperatedly bristling, "Oh all right, have it your way." I just laughed because laughter is how I handle awkward folks. Well, laughter and judgmental blog posts.

The adult book section--by that I mean books for grown-ups, not of the three-x variety--also had some great finds, so I think my summer reading selection is nearly complete. I put it up on Goodreads in case you're on there too and want to follow along or comment. If you're an avid reader and not yet on Goodreads, check it out! The combined inventions of GR and Pinterest mean I almost never miss a book recommendation these days.


Would you count Faulkner and James as summer reads, though? Hmmm, perhaps not. What do you have on your current book list?

p.s. I've already read Stumbling on Happiness, but I gave it away years ago and thought I could use a refresher. Do you give away books you liked? I can't handle clutter, so I find it's easier for me to get the book again later from the library or a used book sale than it is to lug it around for years. If I keep it, I just end up resenting it gathering dust. Plus, giving it away means I get to share book-love, which is one of my favorite life activities!

p.p.s. I admit that pic above of the books isn't great to show off the titles, but I wanted to squeeze in my other new purchase. That little bowl on the left is also a find from the church sale. Three bucks! I've been looking for a bowl for all the cell phone hoopla, and this one fits the bill nicely, doncha think? Here's a better shot of the books:


Monday, August 06, 2012

mother's day year-round {plus blueberry syrup}

It's a rare thing, but occasionally a weekend comes along that I am able to step out of my mom role for long enough, even if it's just a day, and just BE. Not be anyone's meal-maker or clothes-washer, but just read a book or maybe even be pampered for a change. Has this happened for you? Friends, let me tell you how wonderful it is.

When Nate got back from his long work trip, he had a brilliant idea. Why not use some of his points for a night in a hotel room, just for me to relax? I agreed, why not?! It was a great suggestion, and three months later I finally took him up on it. I invited my best local bud to come along. We had a fantastic time eating, shopping, and wandering Boston together.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

on kippers and castles

Hey peeps!

Much has been happening around our joint, but I almost don't even have the words. It's all a jumble in my head-- an IKEA trip here, a barbecue there. The way my fellow camp carpooler summed it up (when she ran out of gas in her own driveway) was to say "Summer has a different rhythm, and I haven't quite figured out how to handle it." Amen, girlfriend.

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!

Monday, July 02, 2012

camp!

Vivi started camp today. Last year she attended a YMCA camp, but at 3 years old, she was still napping and going for half a day, so it felt more like day care than camp. This year she's going to a for-real all-day camp on a wooded farm, just like I did for almost twenty years. In honor of this big day, here are a few of my own favorite camp pictures from back in the day (more are included in last fall's Halloween post)...







I'll be sure to report back with details about how it's going. As we were hopping out of the car this morning, she turned to me excitedly and proclaimed "I can get as dirty as I want!" Yes indeedy, this is the place for that.

After the hand-off, I took Charlotte on a short walk to a pond to pick up some jewel weed for her poison ivy. Since getting her poison ivy, I've had to explain to just about everyone what jewel weed is, so I think tomorrow's post will cover that subject. You simply must know about this wonderful plant!

Saturday, June 30, 2012

my childhood, the redux

Cousins.

Does it go without saying that we had a great time visiting the fam? Because we did. There, I said it! I should probably wait until I've processed the trip more to talk about it here, but I can't wait to show you some of my favorite pictures.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

summer camp part two: animal care with kids


Thank you to LeapFrog for sponsoring my post about LeapFrog Summer Camp. To sign up for LeapFrog Summer Camp, please click here. #CleverLFCamp #spon 

Hello from Dixie! We are enjoying our long summer vacation so far. Our southerly trip is action-packed, but with lots of traveling in cars from different locations mixed in, there is plenty of downtime in which I need some form of entertainment for the girls. Click here to read more about my summer camp activities with Leap Frog!


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.

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