Thursday, June 28, 2012

Our Beach

Blurred

It felt like summer last night.  We went to our beach after dinner to meet up with cousin Julien and to swim in the glorious sun-lit lake.

Cousins

C & J

The Lake

Petoskeys

Water Fam

And to romp along the shore with Harry and Nancy, of course.  Have you been wondering about those two puppies?  I'm planning to write a full post about these furry babies soon: Harry, our pup, and Nancy, his sister, who belongs to my parents.  Oh puppy love!  

Two

Puppy Drink

Saturday, June 23, 2012

40 Friday Photos

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36 of 40 Friday Photos

Last June my dear friend Jenny invited me to join her 40 Friday Photos project.  As it turns out, this has been a wonderful way to chronicle our first year here: from one season's lavender to the next.  And what a year it has been!  

This year we have watched Amabel and Ellen grow into greater confidence outside, which is just what we were hoping for when we moved last summer.  The wild places right outside our doors have transformed their little spirits in quiet—but essential—ways.  Just this morning, Amabel and I took Harry, our pup, for a sunrise walk.  As we walked up through the woods we saw a huge family of deer ambling past on their way to the orchard.  Standing by my side, Amabel watched them, awed and unafraid.  We didn't need to say much: it was enough just to be there, together.  For the moments like these each day, I am so grateful.

As I look back on my friday photos from over the past year, I can see how I take pictures of the things I love. . . over and over again.  In this way, photography is a sort of prayer, a practice of gratitude for me—for our children and all the beauty in our life.  And sharing it with you, family and friends who visit this space, has become a peaceful part of my weekly routine.  Thank you all, for your kind words over the past year!  And Happy Summer!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Eight

Big Smiles

Happy Birthday, sweet girl!  Your smile is truly a shining light.  I loved watching you today: your thoughtful, gracious heart warms all those around you, especially the younger cousins that you take under your wing.  

I remember you well as a baby—your beautiful blue eyes gazing out into the world, taking it all in.  What a joy it is to watch you grow up into a lovely young girl.  Thank you for sharing your special day with us, Philena!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

On Our Puppymoon

Harry & Red

puppymoon







All Three

Puppy love!  More details coming soon. . . 

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Strawberry Shortcake

Strawberry Short Cake

In the past, I've never really liked baking with the girls.  I'd get a great idea of something delicious to make and then call them into the kitchen.  Within two minutes one or both girls would have their fingers in the dough, in the sugar, in the butter, in their mouths, in their hair, all over the counter, and even before we'd barely begun it was more than I could gracefully handle.  We didn't bake very often.

But yesterday was different.  Maybe they've recently crossed some crucial developmental threshold or maybe I've just loosen up, but for whatever reason, I can honestly say that for the first time baking together was a joy!  Amabel and Ellen actually kept most of the dough out of their mouths and happily stayed with the strawberry shortcake project from start to finish. . . doing most of the work themselves (well, except for clean up: mama did most of that).

Squishing

Placing

Shaping

Cutting

Working

Layering

Just in case you are looking for a tasty strawberry shortcake recipe, ours is roughly based on the one here.

For the shortcake:
2 cups flour (one white, one whole wheat)
3 tablespoons sugar
1&1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons cold butter
3 tablespoons whole milk yogurt
3 tablespoons (coconut) milk
2 egg yolks, beaten
1 tablespoon lemon zest

For the topping:
Lots of strawberries, of course
And your favorite whipped cream

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.  Cut in butter until your mixture is crumbly.  Combine yogurt, (coconut) milk, egg yolks, & lemon zest; stir into crumb mixture.  Knead your slightly sticky dough 10 times (or, in the case of little ones, squeeze it to your heart's content).  Shape your shortcakes and bake at 400 degrees for 12-15 minutes.  You know how to do the rest!

And if you happen to have a resident mouse family, like we do, don't forget to make a few miniature cakes!

Don't Forget the Mice!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Seven

Seven

Happy Birthday, Cora!  Could it be that you are already seven years old?  Seven feels like such a big birthday—a transition from early childhood into the middle years.  And yet, you have been so full of wisdom and confidence for as long as I can remember. . . from your early crystal-clear words to your instance upon doing things yourself at 18 months old!

Thank you for sharing your joy and kindness with your cousins.  Amabel and Ellen look up to you with so much love.  They admire your courage and kindness, your willingness to share so much affection.  Your abundant spirit is a gift to us all.  How grateful we are to have celebrated this day with you.  

Thursday, June 7, 2012

A Betsy Library

Haywood Library

We love 'old-fashioned' children's books.  I wrote a bit about the beloved Milly-Molly-Mandy last summer.  This spring we discovered a new series at our library.  The Betsy (and Billy) series, written by Carolyn Haywood in the 1940s, 50s, & 60s, is a sweet collection.  Like the Milly-Molly-Mandy books, the Betsy stories are written about the simple joys and struggles of childhood.  I am reading them out loud to Amabel and Ellen, and both girls love the entertaining cast of characters.  The children in the stories delight in the simplest things: puddles, fresh flowers, making lemonade, eating watermelon, giving a friendly dog a biscuit every day on the way to school.  I think the The Mixed Up Twins has been Ellen and Amabel's favorite book so far.  It is about a pair of identical twins and their little neighbor friend who discovers a series of ways to determine who is Ronald and who is Donald.

How surprised I was to learn that we were the only family to check out these books from our little local library in ten years!  Unfortunately for other readers, that made them eligible to be discarded.  Fortunately for us, however, my librarian mother rescued the little collection and offered it to Amabel and Ellen (and me too).

Now we have a Carolyn Haywood library upstairs on our bookshelves.  So, if you want to escape into the world of Betsy and friends this summer, please come over and check out a book!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

6.5.2012

Ellen Grasses

JUNE WIND

Light and wind are running
over the headed grass
as though the hill had
melted and now flowed.

Wendell Berry
Given: Poems

Sunday, June 3, 2012

6.3.2012

First of the Lavender

The sun came out and we did spend a little time in the garden today.  My, how everything is growing!  We've had to keep most of the beds under row cover this spring to prevent hungry bunnies from feasting on our plants.  So, it is very exciting to pull off the veggie blankets and see what is hiding underneath!

Veggie Tunnel

Garlic Scape

Chamomile

Strawberries

Garden 6.3

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Rain

Rain

I am in bed, next to Amabel, listening to the rain on the roof, dripping into the gutter outside her window, soaking the earth for the second day and night in a row.

It is tempting to be impatient with the rain.  It is tempting to wish that it would stop now that the gardens have had their fill.  Tomorrow I want to go outside and transplant trays of seedlings waiting under grow lights in the basement; I want to pull more weeds out of the thyme that is rapidly turning into a jungle; I want to help Jeffrey excavate new garden territory for a sunflower and pumpkin patch.

But the rain patters on and on.  And as I snuggle close to my sleeping girl, I let myself feel grateful for the slower pace of the weekend and the time we spent inside, reading.  I sigh, knowing that we won't need to drag the long hose through the knee-high grass in the meadow tomorrow to water the little apple trees.  I will go to sleep to the sound of the rain, knowing that their roots are sinking deeper into the saturated earth that we share.

Friday, June 1, 2012

6.1.2012

Story Catcher

After a long week, Alphabet Glue arrives to brighten our day.  Stories, paper, books, & a little bit of glue.