Tuesday, September 28, 2010

My Neighbor Totoro

I bought My Neighbor Totoro on a whim not knowing what to expect and was pleasantly surprised. We tend to watch our videos over and over (as three year old will), so I've seen this one several times already. It's a sweet story with surreal elements, I guess most animated children's videos are. My little one likes the Cat Bus, "Run, run, run!" she laughs and screams. I particularly like the the settings which depict rural Japan in the 1950s. The representation of nature and the seasons are very beautifully rendered, although a little disjointed from the anime style drawing of the character's.

The video came with a bonus disc in which Hayao Miyazaki and other members of Studio Ghibli discuss the making of the movie and The Totoro Forest Foundation. The foundation was created to preserve the forests and natural habitat of the Sayama Hills which were the inspiration for the film. It was inspiring to see the conservation efforts and I love hearing people discuss why they create what they do, so I am quite pleased with my impulse buy.

Last of Summer

Summer is officially over and fall has taken over in a big way, from the school buses on the road to the crisp weather. The stores are full of Halloween stuff as if September doesn't even exist. The chipmunk is digging a new hole and apparently fortifying for the winter. I was hoping for an Indian Summer but have resigned myself to an early Fall and cold Winter.

Our garden is shutting down, the sunflowers are now basically reduced to bird food except for a few late bloomers. The deer have stolen the last of the tomatoes and the one hope of a pepper. The inflatable pool is slowly creeping towards the neighbor's yard and asking to be deflated. Feels like time to batten down the hatches and get ready for indoor living. We still have pumpkin picking, a hayride and jumping in leaves to look forward to but the days are getting shorter. That's the hardest part losing the summer light. Goodbye summer, we loved you.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Monday Inspiration: Samuel Beckett

I really love the idea of failing better. Forget the pressure of succeeding all the time and just fail better. Thank you for these wise words Samuel Beckett.
Want a reminder that's it's okay to not be be perfect, this poster is available at Keep Calm Gallery.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Some Favorite Bits of Summer

These are some of the images that are going to define the summer of 2010 for me. Is fall really just a week away? Well it actually already feels like it is here.

First pony ride.

First dragon ride.

Chasing balloons.

Our Garden.

"Slide go wee."

Visiting "Joanie Girlie" the pig and the chicken family "mommy, daddy and baby".

Peach picking.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Now We Are Three

Well almost. Tomorrow is actually my little one's third birthday but we squeezed in a tiny little celebration for our tiny little family yesterday before the work week took over. Happily it was quite a success with the party girl.

We did a little something each day of the long weekend to get ready. She helped with the preparations including cutting the flowers, wrapping her presents and trying to light the candles of her cake. (Suddenly, I had a fear she might start taking an interest in matches. Something else to worry about.) I think that is what she was most looking forward to - blowing the candles out on her cake and making a wish.

I'm constantly amazed at the things she picks up. We certainly spoke about singing "Happy Birthday" and blowing out the candles but I never mentioned making a wish to her. Sure enough she found out somewhere. I was about to light the candles and she declared "I'm going to blow out candles and make a wish." She did pretty well (with some help), so I hope she gets her wish. I'm not even sure she knows what a wish is but who knows. I can only wonder what my little three year old wished for. I made a wish too, but it's a secret.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Icebox Cake Revisited

I was remembering the icebox cake my mother used to make when I was little the other day and thought how it would be a fun thing to "cook" with my daughter. Just shy of three, she is now very interested in helping out in the kitchen. I love watching her assemble the dinner salads but still hesitant to have her help out at the stove or touch the oven. This simple cake seems like a perfect project for us.

Luckily, I was able to find some Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafers at the supermarket.
Apparently, these thin dark chocolate wafers are becoming more difficult to get a hold of. You can read Candy Sagon's article "Assemble, Chill and Serve" from The Washington Post archive to learn more about of these elusive cookies and the history of the icebox cake.

Now I can't wait to make some extra space in the fridge and find a big enough stretch of time for a walk down memory lane with my little one. I hope making this cake is as much fun for her as it was for me when I was small.

Photo and the recipe to make this version of the icebox cake at Smitten Kitchen.