Friday, July 29, 2011


Today we are off to the annual Balloon Festival and we're very excited. It's surprisingly fun to watch the balloons take to the air and then follow them by car. If things go right you can catch up and watch them descend in fields.

The Elephants in Flight Print by Terry Fan is available here.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Recession Fun # 12 : S'mores

The other night before bed my daughter said she wanted a snack, specifically a s'more. That made me laugh. At 3 1/2 she's never had a s'more and she probably would have been horrified if I actually had the ingredients or the means to make her one at that late hour. I can imagine the grimace that would have come over her face.

Despite having been both a Brownie and a Girl Scout, the first time I ate a s'more was as an adult. Two girlfriends and I spent a weekend in the Adirondacks and ended up melting marshmallows in the stone fire place of the cabin we were staying in. We assembled our s'mores on a blanket on the living room floor. It was camping fun without the inconvenience of real camping. Needless to say there was no wilderness badge on my Girl Scout stash.

I remember thinking I'll just eat my toasted marshmallow plain, no need to mix flavors, but my friends convinced me and I was surprised how good s'mores really are.

So this week's Recession Fun idea is s'mores. Bag of marshmallows, box of Graham Crackers and some Hershey's chocolate bars. No need to get all gourmet with fancy substitutes, the original is affordable and delicious. Oh and a backyard grill. No need to hike out into the woods either. Said like a true Girl Scout!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Bourgeois Webs

I know spiders are beneficial and that having one in your home is supposed to be good luck, but I'm never really happy to run into one. Daddy Longlegs are about as spidery as I can tolerate. Anything more serious is subject to relocation outdoors or the broom if I'm panicked.

Clearly Louise Bourgeois did not share my distaste for arachnids. Spiders are a reoccurring theme in her work and her fascination for them transformed a house hold pest in to high art. Her spider web influenced fabric works are amazing enough to almost make me a fan of our eight legged friends. I'll admit spider webs are beautiful even if I still struggle to appreciate their architects. I have no difficulty appreciating Bourgeois beautiful series of webs pictured above.

More of Bourgeois' works can be seen at Cheim & Read

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Taking a Break with Wallace & Gromit

I decided we needed to take a little break from "Thomas the Tank Engine" earlier in July. We made a trip to Costco and I ended up buying a cheap DVD of "The Tourist" for me and "Wallace and Gromit the Complete Collection" for the little one.

I would have liked to have chilled out in the summer heat to a so so grown-up movie, but I never win in the war of who's show are we going to watch. Relaxing while Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie race around Venice was going to have to wait.

I did get a huge kick out of watching the little one laugh at Wallace and Gromit's antics as they took on a wayward penquin jewel thief. "The Wrong Trousers" got two thumbs up from my miniature critic, which I'm sure is more than "The Tourist" scored. We ended up watching Wallace & Gromit twice before lights out. Turns out there was a little blue train that is part of the final chase scene. My little one squealed "They're riding Thomas! It's Thomas." That amused me, we didn't completely escape Thomas.

Frogs in the Sandbox

Sometimes putting off chores has its benefits. That is if you find frogs in the sand box a plus.

The weekend before last, my daughter and I were working in the garden when she asked me "Mommy what's that sound?" I was surprised by the source and the loudness, but I was pretty sure I knew what it was.

I told her to follow me and we headed over to her turtle shaped sandbox where the ribbiting noises were emanating from. The top has been only partially on and the box has been swamped with water for a few weeks now. I keep meaning to drain it, clean the sand and set it up as a proper sandbox again for her. Too late.

We pulled off the lid and there were frogs. One really big one and two little ones. My daughter's sandbox was now a frog pond and she was delighted. My guilt at not cleaning it out was replaced with child like joy at the sight of our frogs.

We visited them several times during the day and I loved seeing the fascination in my daughter's face. I'm sure there is a relocation project in our future, but for now we are thoroughly enjoying our miniature frog pond.

Monday, July 11, 2011

I Heart Summer: Queen Anne's Lace and Chicory

We have a small bouquet with Queen Anne's Lace on the bedroom dresser right now that looks so summery. I picked a few stalks from a neglected stretch of land between our developement and the new one next to ours.

We used to have tons Queen Anne's Lace in our "way back" yard but the cedars have become a forest and there isn't enough light anymore. This summer I'm seeing so much of it on the roadsides and along the railway tracks on my commute. It's mixed with chicory and the mix of white, blue and grass green is looks so beautiful. It's uplifting even on a Monday commuter train.

I wish I could find some chicory (which I usual think of as cornflower)to pick. I just found out that chicory is the correct name and that this is the plant the coffee substitute is made of. Turns out Queen Anne's Lace is sometimes called Wild Carrot and it's roots can be eaten like carrots. Maybe I'll study wildflowers this summer in addition to picking them.

There's a nice article on the blog My Muse and Me where I found the Queen Anne's Lace photo.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Apron Strings

I have a big clean up planned for this weekend which includes a dumpster. Watch out over-filled garage, you're days are numbered. I'll probably just throw on old yoga pants and a tee-shirt for the "big throw out" session.

When I spotted these aprons from smallbatchproduction on (frolic!) today, I thought how civilized it is to don an apron while doing chores. I wonder why apron wearing seems to be a lost practice now a days except maybe in the restaurant profession.

I know I have one somewhere. Maybe I'll find it in my overhaul of the garage and wear it for my other weekend project: pie baking.

Thursday, July 7, 2011


Some days I wish I had my own secret garden, magic wardrobe, or rabbit hole to escape into. This poster from Atlantic Treefox seems a perfect entry way for some serious day dreaming.

The escapist in me would like to hang one of this image above my desk or bed as a reminder to take time to let my imagination run and indulge in a little childlike sense of wonder each day.

Just Peachy

This past Tuesday we snuck in some peach picking among our shopping chores. I was hoping for a hay ride, but since the long holiday weekend was already over for most people, the farm was deserted and we had to walk out to the field by ourselves.

We took a leisurely pace to accommodate small legs. We made our way on a tractor path past a little farm house . I picked some wildflowers and the little one chided me that we weren't supposed to be picking flowers but peaches.

Under the low leafy branches it was cooler and the sun peeking through made the peaches glow a wonderful warm color. It's still early in the peach season so we weren't bothered bees and yellow jackets as we picked. We gathered up just enough fruit to make a few pies and headed back with our basket like two country girls.

The peaches are now in a large bowl on the kitchen counter and should be ripe enough this weekend for part II of our peachy adventure. Hopefully peach pie photos to follow.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The Twins

This weekend we finally got to see the baby deer up close. For a while this spring and early summer it looked as if their were no fawns around. Then we spotted these two being escorted through the back woods at a distance. They were with a group of females so it seemed like it could have been a deer "play date" of sorts.

Turns out they are twins and belong to the most daring of the females in our local herd. Momma deer is always the bravest in the winter when we throw out apples or horse corn during the toughest months. Now when she goes through our yard, she always looks through the back sliding door into our kitchen looking for a treat.

We sacrificed our peaches to her and she brought the little ones over for a few minutes before heading back into the woods for bedtime. No peach pie or cobbler but it was worth it.

Putting on a Brave Face

We went to an amusement park this Saturday and took on some spine chilling rides like the miniature train, the carousel, the airplanes and a spinning T-Rex Dragon. We waited on line briefly for the Jump Around Frog, but after getting a closer look, the little one thought better of it.

Instead, we headed over to the airplane ride where mommy could sit right next to her. We took our plane up off the ground for a minute or two before deciding we preferred flying our mission close to the earth. I think it's safe to say that I don't have a dare-devil on my hands, which I'm not bothered by in the least. I'm not a roller coaster girl myself.

Her "Say Cheese" Face on the Carousel
Get Me Off This Thing Look
Much Happier Safely Seated Inside The Dragon

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Little Things

Sometimes when looking at art, the whole picture isn't so great, but if you look at the details you'll find something you like. Same with day to day life, sometimes it's the little things in our day that please us rather than the overall reality.

Our garden is in a bit of a state still this year, I'm having trouble getting it to all come together. I look at it, cringe and chide myself for not trying harder. Hopefully, I'll rally and find the energy to make something of it. In the meantime there is beauty in the the details.

These monarch caterpillars show up every year on our rue plant and munch away until the birds apparently munch on them. I was going to put netting over the plant this year and try and save them but was a day too late. Happily one made a cocoon and survived. Now I'm hoping we can see him emerge and take flight.